The Two Planets – Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
August 11–November 18, 2012
The Walters Art Museum
600 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
In the short film vignettes of The Two Planets (Dow Song Duang), the farmers of small Thai villages discuss several classic works of modern European painting while artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook fixes her camera on them. Widely recognized as one of the leading video artists from Southeast Asia, Araya has been challenging her audiences for more than two decades with works that are meditative, sometimes ritualistic and often focused on exploring communication across differing realms of experience. In The Two Planets, Araya places framed reproductions of iconic Western artworks in settings that are radically different from the traditional art museum, specifically in rural villages, markets and Buddhist temples in Thailand. In these locations she films groups of farmers and workers, discussing the works. The scenes are shot from the perspective of a member of the crowd, thereby incorporating the viewer into the flow of the conversation. The soundtracks record the voices of the people as they discuss the works and the ambient sounds of the village setting, creating a harmonious blend of crickets, birds and breezes through the trees. Araya adds English subtitles that selectively translate some of the spontaneous comments made as the farmers and workers discuss what they see.
These short video segments display the meeting of two distinct and separate worlds: high art and everyday life; the personal and private worlds of experience; art and commerce; East and West. While these video pieces evoke questions related to class and cultural difference, exoticization and post-colonial otherness, they also convey a sense of the curiosity, humor and joy that humanity universally shares.
Hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
General museum information: 410-547-9000 or www.thewalters.org