Thai artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert’s parade of papier-mache objects in Problem-Wisdom 1993-95 is a rich and joyous meditation on life. Conjuring up the many creative projects happening in homes around the world at the moment, 366 hand-made papier-mache human figures, animals and an assortment of other objects are laid out in rows on the floor, each corresponding to a day over a period from 1993 to 1995.
For the first year, starting on his birthday 14 August, Lertchaiprasert made one sculpture corresponding with a problem he found in the daily paper and adhered the article to the object. Exactly one year later he meditated on the same problem, on which the sculpture of the day was based, and inscribed his wisdom in calligraphy on the object. With a commitment to Buddhism as the centre of his life and art, and belief that by understanding our minds we can also understand the world outside ourselves, Lertchaiprasert shows how to take delight in finding balance in existence. Problem-Wisdom is a tantalising invitation into the mind of the artist and a call to look inside ourselves.
The Gallery acquired this work for its Collection during ‘The Second Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT2) and it has been a favourite in exhibition displays at QAGOMA ever since.
Zara Stanhope is Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art, QAGOMA
Preserve the value and purpose of culture; don’t be fooled by ritual
Success comes first from the energy of the heart and then the energy of body
Good fate, bad fate; depends on what you have done
The problem is in humans not in cars or laws, above the ground or underground
Bad thoughts are like poison accumulating in your heart
Lertchaiprasert is known for his works on paper, comprising prints, rubbings and photographs. Problem-Wisdom needs to be considered within the context of large scale, time-based works. The artist commuted between New York and Thailand during the years 1987-92 and it was during a period of stay in Bangkok in 1990 that he received training to become a Buddhist monk. Although he did not persevere in following a monastic life, Lertchaiprasert is still a committed Buddhist.
In Problem-Wisdom, Lertchaiprasert analyses his responses to issues affecting contemporary Thai society through a long and complex process of self examination and self discipline. Tempered by time, Lertchaiprasert’s deeply considered method of eliciting and elucidating his responses reflects elements of Buddhist philosophy that promotes a passionless, disinterested approach to problem solving in an effort to produce the purest response.
This work is able to convey through humor and irony, the fragility of human society, with the tensions of contemporary life that are a feature of everyday life while commenting on the vital strength of the intellect.
Subscribe to QAGOMA YouTube to go behind-the-scenes / Hear artists tell their stories / Read more about your Collection
Feature image detail: Kamin Lertchaiprasert Problem-Wisdom 1993-95
#Kamin Lertchaiprasert #QAGOMA