Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Return to Venice - Part III - memories

Venice is but a distant memory, it was 3 months ago but there are somethings that have stuck to me and continue to inform some of the things that I have been thinking about. This is particularly so with TRA, the exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny. Curated by 4 curators with the big standout name of Axel Vervoodt. Sure it felt like INFINITUM of 2 years ago and the show he did 2 years before that, after all his signature is so strong but the completely seamless juxtaposition of old and new, cold and hot, soft and hard, the collection is nothing but perfection. Brilliant.

I loved the ground floor of Italain and Japanese abstract painted panels that felt like Pollock but predates it all by 3 decades, of ancient Buddhist statues and a video by Araya, of her singing to 2 corpses. Perfection. Dark, cool perfection. I still want to live in a place like that, to be so effortless yet so perfect with still some room for surprise.

Not to mention that the Palazzo is next to one of my fave restaurants in Venice. My favourite restaurant in fact. Delicious lunch of pasta and meat and too much wine, and accidently and lovely catch up with Waan and P'Eric (have not seen them since their wedding, they are in Venice as Jim Thompson foudnation is one of hte patrons of th eThai pavilion) a boat ride away from the Giardini for P'Navin's opening.

What a perfect opening, at that golden hour of 4 pm on the roofdeck of the Gallery Paradiso with beer, champagne and snacks. There were too many people there to actually have a look at the art (good sign) but the pha kao ma bags on the guests on the roofdeck with the most brillaint view of the sea under the shade big trees, that is what an openign is all about. So happy to see Eric and WAan, and joined by my new friends, the Visionaires + Patrick Li and Ole before he left Navinland for Neverland (china).

Waan and Eric

We then trudged on to the Fondazine Prada opening, talk about a traffic jam at the entrance! We then thought we would walk from there to our favouriate cicchetti place near the Accademia, when we go there after a 40 minute walk expertly navigated by Chris Bollen, it was closed because it was an Italian holiday that day and it was too much work to stay open. Yes, that's Italy for you. We settled for simple sandwiches near Accademia before going to Big Bambu by Michael and Doug Starn next to the Guggenheim. Patrick Li worked on this as it was by Manifesto magazine, a magazine Gucci has commissioned Stephano Tonchi (of W) to guest edit. It was fantastic. The Big Bambu was actually 5 times the size at The Met in NY last year, reduced in size but defiitely not in impact. Especially when the bamboo would crack and walking up, to catch a glimpose of Venice in a Bamboo shelter could be life threatening, though it was not really. When we go up, total surfer vibe, cushins music and everythinbg divine. I considered stating a sponsoring Chomwan to sleep in Big Bambu innitiative, Patrick even asked the artist but it did not happen. Really it was just spectacular, I loved it. Felt like home, maybe this is what it was like to live int he make shift bamboo fort last year in Bangkok. Who would have ever though this would be considered art when after all bamboo is in a way of life, but there is no denying its ability to shock, shelter and in this case to stun and entertain. Way to go Starn brothers! If I were to create something from bamboo, I would recreate that fort, or simulate that same sense of danger, community and anger smack in the centre of venice. or not. Loved the view

Cecilia and I

Then on we went to the Bauer for Dasha Zhucova's Garage CCC oepnign of Commercial Break curated by Neville Wakefield and supported by Post Ipad mag which is Xerxes' mag. GREAT turn out, the biggest turn out probably in Venice. London was in full effect, with very little of the "art" world, so no it was not "serious" but then again past midnight, what is? It was absurd and shocking to also see grown adults fight at the door, perhaps part of some kind of installation, or real life? Props to Nadine Johnson who totallly kept it under control.
me and Cecilia
me and Patrick
Jason and David

I was happy in our little corner that Dee Poon and I discovered away from the crowd with our smuggled alcohol. The NY crew left earlier to search for food but we struggled on. It was hard to see the little breaks as their original intention of breaks on boats did not happen. By the time that Jefferson got on the decks at B-bar all I wanted to do was go home. It was after all 4 am and I knew that I still had the Arsenale to wander the next day.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Remake Remodel London

Better late than never, a whole month after the event . . . though perhaps timely as my piece in the Bkk Post about Remake Remodel was just published the other day . . .this would be the behind the scenes if you like.

One week on from Remake Remodel which took place on August 2nd - London was burning, I was already back in Thailand. Time is such a strange thing such that within a week, so much can change . . .it has been within doubt one of the most tumultuous months I can remember. I remember getting ready to leave for London to Remake Remodel (more on the this later) and that same weekend, starting it, was the passing of Lucian Frued, then the monstrosity in Oslo and later that night the tragic death of Amy Winehouse. An eventful weekend indeed. Later in the week, I found myself back at "home" or whatever one might call a city wher I have spent half my life, this time, not back to live but for a Show, one which Lynn and I had the pleasure of being involved with in the capacity of communications and pr, Remake Remodel.

Remake Remodel was a showcase of 3 ready to wear and 1 accesoreis collection by 4 Thai young designers living in London using silks and woven textiles from the Silapacheep Foundation which took place at the Serpentine Summer Pavilion designed by Peter Zumthor.

walk through

So new generation kids working with old school Thai textiles that in many cases have been lost as their creator/weaver have long passed. The point of the SUPPORT Foudnation's activities is to create supplementary income for village weavers and silk clusters, thus there are stock piles of such textiles ready to be used for future generations, should they organise themselves to do so. After working with these amazing designers, I realised that my PhD research is not at all redundent and it will be worth finishing it off as it is not just about supplmentary income but in fact the creation of value from cottage industries and the organisation of such clusters which can then become part of a real production chain equipped with quality control and standards. This is not to say that it will lose its soul or "aura" as there will be system created but that some organisation and long term vision that organises and manages rights inherent int he work should be key in preserving and evolving traditional know-how into the future. Theory aside as I am not sure how far the Foundation has economics or IP concerns as driving elements, the show was wonderful.


Fresh and completely different from anything anyone would have seen lately. Much of the credit must go to Peter Zumthor for his serene and singular pavilion, one which let's natural light, the flowers that of course take a life of their own and the materials he chose do the talking. The pavilion seemed to get along with Remake Remodel as the dialogue between the space and clothes was seamless. A few delicate English wild flowers, a few lights and an abundance of silk, what more can one ask for . . .oh and of course the motley crew of VIP Thai officials and big fashion names and our friends. This is where Lynn and I really have our friends to thank, they all showed up. Then there were the new garde of Pun Sarasas' designer friends from CSM, this is the new crop.

A lot of times, pictures speak lounder than words . . . and from Sorada's collection to Boat's to Pun's, one could never ever mistake them for each other, their characters unique and the worlds they exist in tottally their own. These are my outakes . . .I positioned my self next to the DJ Gun so at the end of the run way, the narrow side of the pavilion wher ethe view was not so shabby.


There was something rather democratic about the Pavilion, the seats next to the walls and the little seats in front, everyone was arm's length from the models. Rudi's shoes from the dominatrix booties on Sorada's beautiful nymphs, to Boat's gladiators to Pun's rock and roll Venice beach boys in transparent clogs . . . there was humour and elegance.

It lasted 18 minutes. Who would have thought that silk from rural families and weaving clusters would make it to the Serpentine and thrive. Then again, we should not expect any less!

me, Paula Goldstein and Caroline Lever
Caroline Issa and I with Fab in the background
me and Lisa
And after that . . . well, that was just the beginning. Or so we hope so. See you next year Serpentine Pavilion.

The rest of our time was a whirlwind, I'm happy to have caught up with my old peeps and reminded of how it feels like to come back somewhere that is so close yet a completely different world. Let's not forget how fun it was to get to make new friends, well done to the team at Remake Remodel and thank you for including us. Remake Remodel 2012 . . see you then. xx