Pinaree Sanpitak: Hanging by a Thread
Since the early 1990s, Bangkok-based artist Pinaree Sanpitak has produced a diverse body of work exploring the human form and the various qualities associated with the female body. Her installation Hanging by a Thread consists of eighteen hammocks woven from printed cotton textiles, known as paa-lai, used throughout Thailand for clothing and other purposes. When Thailand suffered severe floods during the 2011 monsoon season, royal-sponsored relief efforts included the distribution of these traditional cloths. Sanpitak began working with the paa-lai fabrics when the floods forced her to temporarily abandon her studio and seek alternative materials and methods for her art practice. The hammocks convey the sense of solace that she discovered in working with these traditional materials. Their curving shape recalls the artist’s broader oeuvre, in which she has often used abstracted images of the female breast and the offering bowl to invoke notions of fertility, sustenance, comfort, and refuge.
Pinaree Sanpitak: Hanging by a Thread is installed with one of the museum’s most important Southeast Asian sculptures. Together, these artworks suggest the complexities of regional history and of contemporary religious and cultural life in Thailand.
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This exhibition is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In-kind support for the exhibition is provided by Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York, and Jim Thompson—The Thai Silk Company. LACMA is grateful for the special collaboration of the Royal Thai Consulate General, Los Angeles.
Images: Pinaree Sanpitak (Thailand, b. 1961), Hanging by a Thread, printed cotton, Courtesy of the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York. Installation views, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2013 © Pinaree Sanpitak. LACMA/Museum Associates 2013
In her installation Hanging by a Thread, Pinaree Sanpitak, a Thai conceptual artist, honors a national tragedy (the 2011 Monsoon floods). The work uses a flowers-patterned fabric, a textile very common in Thailand, which Pinaree stated “ . . . proved soothing, and brought back a sense of nostalgia . . . the ordinary. The local." On the fourth floor of the Ahmanson Building, 18 hammocks hang in a dark gallery. They look like rare exotic vegetation crafted from the printed cotton textile, the paa-lai…