The photographic conditions of contemporary Thai art

Veal, Clare (2017) The photographic conditions of contemporary Thai art. Journal of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 34 (11). pp. 91-124. ISSN 1560-4713

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Title: The photographic conditions of contemporary Thai art

This paper takes as a point of departure, Rosalind Krauss’ essay ‘The Photographic Conditions of Surrealism’, in which she describes the relationship between photography’s indexical function and its position as the example par excellence of Surrealist artistic practice. In the same way, this paper examines changing attitudes in Thailand towards photography’s artistic status and presumed indexicality as paradigmatic examples of a transformation from the modern to the contemporary. Photography’s crucial role in this shift is located in key alterations to the medium’s functions and perceptions of its artistic legitimacy. On the one hand, the acceptance of photography as an art form reflects developments in imbricated networks of legitimation, occurring with the rise of international education and exhibition opportunities in the post-Cold War period. On the other hand, the conditions of photography itself, or rather its ontology, produce a conceptualisation of the contemporary as manifested in a desire for proximity with difference. In examining works by a number of contemporary Thai artists, I argue that photography’s visualisation of the ‘optical unconscious’ allows one to fulfil this desire for contemporaneity, while also pointing to the limits of representation as a means of asserting coevality.

Subjects: Fine Arts > Art -- Chinese
Divisions: Centre for Research in the Arts
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2021 11:13
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2021 11:14
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