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  • Sep 18, 2020

Thailand’s 100 Tonson Gallery Turns Nonprofit

Installation view of TULAPOP SAENJAROEN’s solo exhibition

Bangkok-based 100 Tonson Gallery, a forerunner in Thailand’s contemporary art scene, announced on September 16 that it will transform into 100 Tonson Foundation.

According to 100 Tonson's announcement, its shift from a commercial venture to nonprofit space aligns with the gallery’s aims to further pursue its “longstanding mission to support and advance Thailand’s rich and ever-expanding contemporary art scene,” and as it “initially started as a charitable art gallery,” it has “come full circle.” In the last five years, the gallery had been staging six-month-long exhibitions to support artists, instead of its previous shows that had lasted one to three months. 

The 100 Tonson gallery space, which has been closed since March 19 due to Covid-19 concerns, will reopen to the public as a foundation on October 10, with a new installation by Thai conceptual artist Pinaree Sanpitak, House Calls (2020), on display until April 4, 2021. Known for her exploration of the female body through a variety of mediums including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, Sanpitak last held an exhibition at the gallery in 2011. That exhibition, titled “Body Borders: Paintings,” investigated abstracted motifs of the body with a series of paintings and interactive installations. 

While the Foundation has announced that upcoming programs will include an artist talk, workshop, performance, children’s storytelling event, as well as an online webinar in collaboration with San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, specific details have yet to be confirmed. The Foundation’s new website, currently under construction, will be launched in October.

In operation since 2003, the gallery’s single-story minimalist space, designed by Christian Liaigre, features large glass doors allowing for ample natural light. It was a pioneer in the region in terms of showcasing installation, video, and conceptual art. Since its opening it has organized more than 100 domestic and international art exhibitions, many of which supported emerging Thai artists such as multidisciplinary artist Yuree Kensaku and mixed-media artist Porntaweesak Rimsakul. Other notable exhibitions included Yayoi Kusama’s first exhibition in Thailand, in 2005; internationally acclaimed artist Chatchai Puipia’s solo show in 2015; and in 2017, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s first Bangkok solo exhibit after a seven years hiatus. The gallery was also the first Thai gallery to exhibit at Art Basel in Basel, in 2011. 

Margarita Cheng is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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