Press Release – On the Threshold of the Senses: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia

On the Threshold of the Senses



Tally Beck Contemporary Presents Group Exhibition
of New Art from Southeast Asia


March 21 – April 29, 2012


Opening Reception Wednesday, March 21

During Asia Week



Oceanic Wilderness S, Kriangkrai Kongkhanun,

3 ft 11¼ in x 2 ft 7½ in

woodblock print, 2011, edition 5 of 5

NEW YORK—Tally Beck Contemporary presents On the Threshold of the Senses: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, an exhibition of works from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It will open at Tally Beck Contemporary, 42 Rivington St., on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and will run through April 29.  The exhibition is curated by the Bangkok-based art critic and curator Brian Curtin, Ph.D.

On the Threshold of the Senses comprises nearly two dozen works in a variety of media, including photography, drawing, woodcut print and multimedia sculpture.  The featured artists are Christina Dy (Philippines), Tada Hengsapkul (Thailand), Kriangkrai Kongkhanun (Thailand), Michael Lee (Singapore), Be Takerng Pattanopas (Thailand), Ohm Phanphiroj (Thailand), Thu Rein (Burma), Khvay Samnang (Cambodia), Maitree Siriboon (Thailand), Imhathai Suwatthansasilp (Thailand) and the Tarin Padi collective (Indonesia).

The exhibition will offer views of charged engagements with concerns that range from the politics of development to ancient belief systems to haunting stereotypes of urban life in this diverse region. Khvay Samnang and Taring Padi respond to the displacement of communities caused by land privatization with performance and agitprop. Kriangkrai Kongkhanun confronts us with a Buddhist vision of hell, and Ohm Phanphiroj creates disturbingly beautiful photographs of teenage male sex workers.

Rebuffing detached insights, the artists in On the Threshold of the Senses embrace the performative, visceral, and provocative, tempered by surprising subtlety. Michael Lee imagines a divine destruction of great monuments to the progress of culture while Imhathai Suwatthanasilp weaves fragile but disconcerting symbols of a diminutive and diminishing self. Christina Dy’s drawings are deceptively epic paeans to wonder and fascination. Be Takerng Pattanopas’s meticulous works on paper are abstracted references to the human body that invoke a sense of impermanence and change.

Through suggestions of immersion, the sensational, the rousing and the contemplative, this exhibition prompts us to consider questions of the knowledge that experience provides. Tada Hengsapkul’s photographs of provincial landscapes are inflected by an animist sensibility, and Thu Rein’s portraits of performance artists in states of physical transformation possess a terrible beauty. Maitree Siriboon combines visual elements of his rural Thai homeland with homoerotic imagery to disarmingly humorous effect.

The artists in On the Threshold of the Senses embrace the experiential as a means of addressing the complexity of the issues and contexts that attend the production and reception of their works. Not offering cool interventions or measured commentary, On the Threshold of the Senses challenges disinterested understandings of contemporary art by prompting us to look at what it means to respond and to act, in visual and material terms.


Tally Beck Contemporary is a New York-based gallery that also operates a private dealership in Bangkok and focuses on Asian contemporary art. Founded in 2010, the gallery emphasizes fresh expression from East and Southeast Asia with regular exhibitions. Tally Beck Contemporary also maintains a strong presence at international art fairs, including SCOPE Basel, Art Asia Miami and the LA Art Show.

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Essay by curator Brian Curtin.