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b. 1964, Lop Buri, Thailand
Kamin Lertchaiprasert was born in 1964, in Lop Buri, Thailand. He completed a BFA in printmaking at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, and earned the institution’s Young Artist of the Year award in 1987. That year, he moved to New York, and from 1989 to 1992, attended the city’s Art Students League. During a visit to Bangkok in 1990, he became, briefly, a Buddhist monk, and remains a committed Buddhist to this day. Lertchaiprasert returned to live in Bangkok in 1992 and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 1996. Two years later, he co-founded, with Rirkrit Tiravanija, the land project (now the land foundation). This involved the conversion of rice fields into a destination for site-specific art and architectural projects, creative residencies, and agricultural and artisanal workshops. Lertchaiprasert’s interest in collaborative art led to the establishment of the 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit in 2008—an initiative inspired by his participation in the “Stimulating Cities with Art” symposium at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. The 31st Century Museum has since materialized in various forms in Chiang Mai (as a temporary structure made of refurbished shipping containers in 2010), Chicago (as a workshop and exhibition at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011), and Japan (as a book project for the Niigata Art Festival in 2012).
For Lertchaiprasert, art is a ritualistic practice aimed at the achievement of a greater understanding of oneself, nature, and the world as a whole. In his early work Time and Experience (1990), the artist made a painting and a print every day for a year. He applied paint directly with his hands onto each canvas to make the paintings, wiping the excess onto his feet, which he then used to make the prints. In his installation of the 730 objects, viewers are allowed to walk on the paintings, which are laid on the floor in a checkerboard pattern (the “footprints” hang on the wall). Subsequent series also comprise objects made daily over the course of a year. Problem–Wisdom (1993–95), another diaristic work, is composed of 366 small papier-mâché sculptures, and was begun on the artist’s birthday. During the first year of its making, Lertchaipraset read the newspaper every day, clipping articles that were especially significant to him and preparing the remainder to be made into papier-mâché. In the second year, he made the sculptures, one a day, while pondering the issues he encountered in the news, and inscribed the forms in Thai script with phrases addressing those issues. The work, arranged atop a cloth on the floor, was exhibited in the 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (1996), and was also acquired by that museum. Lertchaiprasert’s meditative practice engages with matters both spiritual and earthly.
Lertchaiprasert has had solo exhibitions at the Visual Dhamma Gallery, Bangkok (1991, 1992, and 1995), Con-Tempus, Bangkok Fine Arts Center (1992 and 1994), Tadu Contemporary Art, Bangkok (1997 and 2006), Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (1998), Numthong Gallery, Bangkok (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2012), Gallery Art U, Osaka (2001), Bangkok University Art Gallery (2004), Art-U room, Tokyo (2005 and 2009), Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur (2005), 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok (2008), and Art Forum, Singapore (2010). Together with Tiravanija, he was the subject of the retrospective exhibition Nothing at the Chiang Mai University Art Museum (2004). He has participated in notable group exhibitions including the Sydney Biennial (1993 and 2012), Utopia Station, Venice Biennale (2003); Dump Postmodern Sculpture in the Dissolved Field, National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo (2007); Busan Biennial, South Korea (2008); Meta-question: Back to the Museum Per Se, Guangzhou Triennial, China (2011); and Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991–2011, Singapore Art Museum (2011). Lertchaiprasert lives and works in Chiang Mai.