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FREE ALL | Vasan Sitthiket SWARM Opening Reception

September 9, 2011
Gallery Gachet
Gallery Gachet
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88 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Gallery Gachet, LIVE 2011, and Cafe for Contemporary Art presents
Vasan Sitthiket takes up residence at Gallery Gachet

Sitthiket – bete noire of corrupt Thai politicians, agent provocateur against capitalism and globalization and, perhaps contradictorily an artist featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection – is coming to Vancouver. Consider yourself warned.

Gallery Gachet, in collaboration with the Cafe for Contemporary Art and LIVE 2011, presents Sitthiket’s Vancouver exhibition, titled FREE ALL, running from September 9th to October 2nd. In conjunction with his show, he will execute a headline performance at the Vancouver Live Biennale and run an informal workshop on art and politics. He arrives in Vancouver for a triple encounter with the city, its inhabitants and their political, social and cultural anxieties as the first participant in the Caf_ for Contemporary Art and Gallery Gachet’s DTES International Artists-in-Residency Program.

Vasan Sitthiket has been called Thailand’s “Anarchist artist.” Across his thirty-year career in the arts, he has experimented in different media – puppetry, performance, poetry, and even electoral politics – but he is best known as a provocative, passionate, politically engaged painter. At the earliest stages of his career, he was drawn to the revolutionary critique of the iniquities, injustice and rampant corruption he discerned at the heart of capitalism, both in Thailand and around the world. Unrepentant in his radical commitments, he refers to contemporary democracy as “demon-crazy” and makes no bones of his admiration for Marxist revolutionary leaders. “I admire Mao, Che Guevara, Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Chavez, because I still need revolution,” Vasan said in a recent interview, “I don’t agree with vulgar, greedy capitalism, and I still dream for this world to be as one.” The resulting art is daring, colourful and uncompromising – in a painting on environmental degradation, he depicts corporate forces as wolves in suits wielding sizeable erections, and in another he imagines economic stimulus as a daisy chain of bisexual oral copulation. His reaction to 9/11 and the War on Terror was likewise shocking – he prepared paired larger-then-life style icon portraits of Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush, eliciting shrieks of outrage from the American right.

His practice expands his radical critique with the exhibition planned in Vancouver. The title, FREE ALL, is as ironic as it is deeply sincere, he explains “the concept is that there is no where free in this planet, that we are all imprisoned in the name of the system and the mad media.” The pieces displayed, a series of pen-and-ink bottomless self-portraits, are his call to arms “there is no way out until we come together and act for change,” an act he describes violently, “opening everyone’s heads and washing all the idiot out, thereby realizing that we are all one.”

Vasan Sitthiket is a renowned Thai artist whose works and performances have been showcased internationally in such venues as the 2003 Venice Biennale, Bangkok Art Gallery, the National Gallery (Bangkok), The Singapore Art Museum and at Biennales in Gwangju, Sydney and Venice. His works have been acquired for the permanent collections of a number of institutions, including the MOMA (NY), the National Gallery (Bangkok), the Singapore Art Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane). He has also won a number of  awards for his work from bodies in Thailand and India.

The show FREE ALL, running from September 9th to October 2nd, presents a series of recent works in pen-and-watercolour at Gallery Gachet.

Opening reception for FREE ALL:  Fri September 9th, 7pm
In conjunction with SWARM: Festival of Artist Run Culture (http://swarm.paarc.ca)
Exhibition runs: Sept 9th – Oct 2nd, 2011.

Live Biennale Performance:  Sept 24th, VIVO Media Arts Centre

Art and Politics Workshop: check www.gachet.org for full details

The DTES International Artist in Residency is an initiative of the Cafe for Contemporary Art and Gallery Gachet to bring the voices and perspectives of international artists to the issues and interests of the Down Town East Side of Vancouver.  It is intended that over the years through this ongoing programme numerous internationally exhibiting artists from countries outside of Canada will be welcomed to the DTES for the production, exercise and presentation of all manner of contemporary art practice.

For further information contact:
Tyler Russell, Exhibition Curator – 778-989-8325
Lara Fitzgerald, Programming Director, Gallery Gachet – 604 687 2468

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