Love, faith and loyal to national institution, religious and the king have been reflected through various works of arts since ancient times. Thus, the original works of arts portray the ideally beauty that worthy with the main institutions highly respected by all Thai people. When the era had changed, same with the works of arts, it was one person who was the key and played the important role of changing the aspect of arts in Thailand. That person was Professor Silpa Bhirasri (Corrado Feroci), Italian sculptor, who created painting and sculpture courses at Praneet Silpa School which had been changed to Silapakorn University later.
Professor Silpa Bhirasri held to the philosophy “ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS” and used Academic Art to teach his students to improve their art skills to the same level as other civilization countries. And by doing so, he was praised to be “Father of Thai Contemporary Arts” The works of arts that received an influence from what Professor Silpa had taught have reflected belief, faith and era revolution which can be compared as a big mirror reflecting both cultural prosperity in Buddhists and civilization of the country.
The long history of Thai arts has been assembled at Museum of Contemporary Art which had been established from “the passion of arts” that Mr.Boonchai Bencharongkul has. But the main reason why Mr.Boonchai built this museum was to celebrate and appreciate the great favor of King Rama 9 and to honor “Father of Thai Contemporary Arts” or Professor Silpa Bhirasri.
From a design standpoint, the building portrays the idea that it has been aesthetically carved from a single piece of granite. The most striking feature of the building is the openwork carvings which adorn either side of the facade, resembling enchanting plumes of jasmine cascading down the wall. The gaps between the jasmine plumes let in natural light tracing the patterns of the carved walls on the floor of the atrium, while revealing in full measure the excellence of the workmanship which can give a different feeling in different seasons.
I’ve been observing and studying the development of art in our country which has a very unique identity for more than three decades. I found that Thai arts have a strong commitment to Buddhism in both ideally and practically, we can say that those commitments are in our vain running through our bodies. We’ve absorbed the beauty of arts through the Buddhism works since we were young. Beginning with the image of Buddha that we pay the respect every day to the artistic beauty of the architecture at the temples which are the Cho Pha (gable apex), Raga Leaves (toothlike ridges on the sloping edges of a gable), also the mural in the small temples around the country.
In fact, every civilized society in this world starts to work in arts with the same principle but the Thai artists have an ability to combine the moral principal and extend the meaning of arts, especially in traditional moral. Moreover, they can give clearly reflection of the beliefs that exist in Thai culture. MOCA intentionally preserved in collecting many contemporary painting and sculptures of the past seven decades to present-day with highly hope that we can share wisdom and entertainment to the audiences. Also, we hope that we can give a good impression to people in the other countries who decide to visit Thailand with the murals in our museum that combine all the Thai-ness that they’ve ever experienced.
Many of these fine works of art from many great artists that exhibited in this museum was motivated by Professor Silpa Bhirasri, the sculptor from Florence, Italy who polished and pulled out the best potential of his disciples. He passed on his personal experiences and developed his disciples’ ideas whose thoughts were based on Thai culture and extended the thoughts to the contemporary arts that had been accepted by many civilized countries.
Through his teaching, he dedicated the effort and tenacity to his students as the art instructor and father, while he struggled with his own health and many obstacles that prevent him from working with some Thai people in government because he was an Italian working in Thailand during World War II. With all those reasons, we joined together to praise Professor Silpa Bhirasri and considered him as the Father of Contemporary Art. We hope that the first step of this museum will be the courage to the museums in other fields to unite and build the center of art in Thailand and be accepted internationally.
Since we are the new comer in the world art circle, we are trying to project the situations that happened in Thailand in different time. Start with the absolute monarchy period turned into democracy period until present. Now can be the worst period that lack of support from the Thai government because of the high unstable political reason. However, this period is also the time for all the artists have to survive in this hectic world and find their own standpoints to do what they love. Our museum will hold on to the determination of Thai artists to keep the identity of Thai art in past 80 years.
Museum of Contemporary Art-MOCA has been divided into 5 different sections:
G Floor There are 2 halls for temporary exhibition and 2 halls for exhibiting artworks of 2 National Artists.
− A hall for exhibiting paintings and sculptures by Professor Chalood Nimsamer, National Artist in Sculpture.
− A hall for exhibiting sculptures by Paitun Muangsomboon, Natinal Artist in Sculpture and Khien Yimsiri, Artist of Distinction in Sculpture.
2nd Floor displays contemporary art of different themes and concepts such as social knowledge and Buddhism, artworks of artists from different generations. The notorious artists are for example Wuttikorn Kongkha, Sriwan Jenhattakarnkit, Chalermchai Kositpipat, Panya Wijinthanasan and Preecha Thaothong.
3rd Floor displays imagination and fantasy in Thai contemporary art, works of several artists such as Sompong Adulsaraphan, Prateep Kochbua, Sompop Butraj, Chakrapan Posayakrit and Chuang Mulpinit. There is also a room dedicated to Thai classical literature “Koonchang-Koon Paen”, works of Hem Vejkorn and Sukee Somngern, two artists from two generations.
4th Floor exhibits several kinds of artworks that are created by the remarkable artist of the era. Thawan Duchanee, National Artist, including oil on canvas paintings, drawings, carved wood and weapons. The highlight of this floor is the 3 gigantic contemporary paintings “The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell” by three artists: Sompop Butraj, Panya Wijinthanasan and Prateep Kochbua.
5th Floor exhibits international contemporary art and paintings from the Romantic period of Queen Victoria aged back over 200 years.
I highly hope that the Museum of Contemporary Art would give pleasures and happiness from the art world to the audiences. If there are any mistakes or faults, we appreciate to listen to make things better. And we will continue to develop the quality of the works to fulfill this beautiful world and to keep the art with us forever.
Even though Mr.Boonchai is a successful business man in telecommunications and information technology industry, it is his passion and strong determination in carrying on precious traditional Thai art and culture for younger generations that have driven him to establish a temporary Thai Art Museum at Benchachinda 1 building on September 27th , 2000, while the permanent museum building was being planned and constructed.
On March 23rd, 2012 at 09.00 am. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the grand opening ceremony of Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA BANGKOK. At present, MOCA BANGKOK is opened for all Thais and foreign visitors to admire and appreciate Thai art, the symbol of Thai civilization.
Being a solid platform in building “Art Society” in Thailand, as well as encouraging new comers in various branches of arts.
1. To preserve and protect Thai art and culture so they remain forever in the nation as an archetype that reflects the foundation of Thai culture.
2. To support and encourage artists to share their unique ideas to public.
3. To give Thais and foreigners an opportunity to admire the works of art created by Thai artists.
4. To give an opportunity to young generations to learn and study each artist’s process of creation, various methods and inspirations.
5. To grow awareness to the new generations about the love and loyalty in their culture and motherland.
6. To disseminate the works of arts to public.