The Garden of God by Kriangkrai Kongkhanun (เกรียงไกร กงกะนันทน์).
DUKE Contemporary Art Space
Since antiquity, human beings have been developing their living patterns for survival until their instinct has been developed with the awareness of death being the main drive of human beings in all eras up to the present. This awareness of death meant human beings developed physical attributes of fear until ancient religions and rites were developed in order to reflect the beliefs in the afterlife.
Artworks in the eastern and western worlds reflect stories of the afterlife through the artists’ imaginations in several fashions. One interesting point is that artists have similar ideas about zoning the land of the dead into several levels. Such levels are manifestations of the actions of the dead when they were alive. Even at present, the imagining of the afterlife has been produced over and over again through the symbols of human beings’ spirits that are reflected in different forms comprising diverse emotions and feelings, and the opposite sides of negativity and positivity inherent in all individuals.
The ‘Garden of God’ Art Exhibition by Artist Kriangkrai Kongkhanan presents the imagining of the garden in a secret land that is the center of gods that human beings worship as symbols of prosperity, stability, happiness, and success in life. The stories of such gods have existed for a long period of time as religious beliefs. The artist uses these myths as components for surveying man’s endless needs which create greed and desire until they build the lust that drives all humans. Images of such gods and auspicious symbols represent certain needs in human minds. Such auspicious symbols form religious beliefs and have been worshiped for generations
Therefore, the Garden of God is based on the artist’s imaginations of the garden in a mysterious land where a variety of gods that symbolize auspiciousness or goodness gather together. However, this garden hides the lust and wants of human beings like the images of hell that is the place for dark spirits of human beings. This theme is similarly represented through deformed shapes as seen in the artist’s works in the ‘Spiritual Disease’ Set that surveys the dark side in all human beings’ minds, serving as mirrors that reflect the true images of human beings.
When human beings can overcome the fear that has existed in the past by defining, giving meaning to and developing the shapes of the fear in their imagination, their needs change from just attempting to live to wanting a good life. Such wants lead to the development of forms and images of gods who grant wishes to everyone worshipping them. Not only do stories of gods that are in the ‘Garden of God’ Art Exhibition by Kriangkrai Kongkhanan demonstrate overwhelming lust in all human beings but they are also linked to other stories of human needs that have been told for a long period of time. These stories are told through images of different auspicious symbols such as a Pi Xiu that symbolizes prosperity and wealth for Chinese people, a Garuda that symbolizes immortality and strength. Put together, these symbols demonstrate the corrupted minds of human beings that are caused by needs and wants, in a space, which is like the image of hell in people’s minds.
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