Thailand / Nova Contemporary
Tada Hengsapkul (b.1987) is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist whose practice is often concerned with investigating and resisting various forms of control — at the level of the body, the collective, and society. He explains the context in which he works: “Now Thailand has a crisis about controlling the large amount of people who have come out to claim rights and liberties.” Tada addresses this crisis by purposefully positioning concerns specific to Thailand as being also emblematic of much more widely shared questions and experiences. The location in which the artist lives and works functions for him as a nexus point, at which manifold external and internal interests intersect.
Hengsapkul first became known for his photographic and video works, which often challenged taboos around nudity and youth culture. In recent years, he has become increasingly drawn to creating installations, which are often immersive or interactive, and draw on the aesthetics of militarized environments. The artist’s practice draws on long-term research, which he conducts in both official and informal archives, as well as through deliberate engagement with various media environments, and with specific communities.
In the artist’s words: “My research is to live in a different way.”
His works are frequently inspired by the effects of lasting cultural and political legacies on the communities in his birthplace, Korat. Korat, a city in the Isan region of northeastern Thailand, has been home to American military bases since the Second Indochina War. Aspects of the present “crisis” in Thailand are thus linked to twentieth century histories which are regional in scale, and relate to the global Cold War, as well as processes of decolonisation and modernisation.
Tada Hengsapkul is presenting his film at S.E.A. Focus Fringe Film Programme 2023, OFF Focus.