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Stills is proud to present one of the most exciting new contributors to Asian-Pacific video art, Thai-Australian Kawita Vatanajyankur, and her arresting new series Work (2015). Endurance art has rarely been so pretty. Alluring luminous yellows, citrus greens and bubblegum pinks are distinctive of the artist’s aesthetic—a visual language of consumption and desire that speaks to a world of instant gratification and flattened complexity. However, this heightened superficiality lures you in only to confound your expectations— Vatanajyankur’s videos offer a powerful examination of the psychological, social and cultural ways of viewing and valuing women’s everyday labour. In the four videos comprising Work (2015), Vatanajyankur presents an uncanny restaging of a local, fresh fruit market. Engaging the tools and tasks common to its workers, including weighing bananas, juicing oranges and precariously balancing watermelons in plastic crates, Vatanajyankur undertakes physical experiments that playfully, and often painfully, test her body’s limits. In Carrying Pole (2015), for instance, bananas are thrown into woven baskets that hang off her body, which is suspended from string like a set of scales. But as the fruits pile up, and in turn weigh her down, this scale works to gauge the artist’s physical and mental strength; a challenge that is both unavoidably compelling, and uncomfortable to watch, in—excuse the pun—equal measures.

Vatanajyankur’s exploration of everyday and domestic work is particularly telling of her Thai homeland. A place where, for many, daily chores aren’t always assisted by electronic contraptions or white goods but are timeconsuming, physically exhausting, and often the task of women. The videos’ happy, day-glow colours, dark humour and undercurrents of violence, however, bring a universality and contemporary currency to the historical trajectory of feminist art. It is telling, for instance, that she describes her performances as “meditation postures”, when such gruelling tests of resilience and fear are quite the opposite of what we might think of now as zen. But, for Vatanajyankur, extreme physical endurance offers a way to free herself from her mind: a mechanism to lose her sense of being. This deliberate objectification, she says, turns her body into sculpture. Like her previously acclaimed works, this powerful new series intersects the long histories of ritual, craft and performance with the relatively new medium of video, as a way to redress how women’s work has been considered a lesser form of creativity, than the ‘fine arts’ not long ago epitomized by literally man-made representations of the female body. Uniquely, Vatanajyankur’s work is accessible and visually appealing: substantial in its conceptual rigour, and, at the same time, entertaining. Its lasting effect resonates deeply by asking probing questions; what are the limitations of our bodies, the continuing challenges of mundane labour, and the ongoing tasks for feminism in a globalized and digitally networked world?

LIST OF WORKS series: Work, 2015 The Carrying Pole single channel digital video 3:17 minutes The Scale single channel digital video 2:11 minutes Squeezers single channel digital video 2:35 minutes The Lift single channel digital video 3:10 minutes editions of 3 + 1AP

KAWITA VATANAJYANKUR Born in Bangkok, Thailand, 1987 Education: 2011 Bachelor of Art, Fine Art (Painting), RMIT University, Melbourne 2005

Art and Design Foundation Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne

Solo Exhibitions: 2015 Work, Stills Gallery, Sydney 2014

Play, Beam Contemporary, Melbourne


The Ice Shaver, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne Tools, Beam Contemporary, Melbourne


Domesticated, Trocadero Art Space, Melbourne Body and Elements, Seventh Gallery, Melbourne


Walking on Water, First Site Gallery, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions: With Her Feet Off The Ground, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, VIC 2015 2014

Totally Looks Like, Stills Gallery, Sydney New Grand Narrative (Next Wave Festival 2014), Testing Ground, Melbourne Rooftop Transmissions (As part of the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now Exhibition), Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne Subjectify Me, Feltspace, Adelaide, SA Season 14, Stills Gallery, Sydney, NSW Play, Blindside Online Video Space, Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne Art Fair 2014, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC P ROX IMITY: An art exhibition of distance and relativity (As part of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s exhibition), National Museum, Szczecin, Poland 2013

BorderBody: International Art Festival of Photography, Video Art, Painting and Performing Art, MECA Mediterráneo Centro Artístico, Almeria, Spain; Gallery MD_S (miejsce dla sztuki), Wrocław, Poland Ikono On Air Festival, Ikono TV, Berlin, Germany2013 Channels : The Australian Video Art Festival, Federation Square (Big Screen), Melbourne ll Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace): Melbourne Offsite for the 55th Venice Biennale, Platform Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne Hua Krathi Project, Federation Square, Melbourne


Pop-up Migrants, The Tinder Box Studio, Melbourne Graduate Painting Exhibition, RMIT University, Melbourne Media Arts Installation Group Show, Eckersley’s Open Space Gallery, Melbourne

Residencies: 2013 Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria Selected Bibliography: Adamczewska E. 2014. Inspiracje/Xtreme. Szczecin: Instytucja Kultury Miasta Szczecin 13 mux, pp. 158-159 Serisier G. Melbourne Art Fair, Australian Design Review, August 15 2015 Nelson R. One-liners on Life and Death Bear Repeating, The Age newspaper, November 26 2014 Rainforth D. Abject Collection of Romantic Ruin,The Age newspaper, September 3 2014 Gall N. What Next: Kawita Vatanajyankur, Australian Art Collector Magazine, Issue 69 (Jul-Sep 2014) Bliska sztuka tajska na inSPIRACJACH, Agency Newspaper, June 27th 2014 Murney A. Totally Looks Like, Concrete Playground, June 29th 2014 Wolff S. Totally Looks Like, The Art Life, June 13th 2014 Marjoram A. 2013, Wet Rag 2012: Kawita Vatanajyankur, Excerpt Magazine, issue 6, p. 49 Rainforth, Dylan. Venice to the Degraves underpass, The Age, August 14th 2013, p.46 Lam. N & Vatanajyankur K. The Power in Between: Kawita Vatanajyankur, as part of ‘The Curious Other’, July 2013 Planner l The Shortlist, The Age – July 12, 2013 Fehily, CCP June Openings, Three Thousands, June 2013 Rust P. Critics’ Choice, Kawita Vatanajyankur:Tools, Time Out Melbourne, Jan 29 2013

Art Collector Issue 69, Jul-Sep 2014

36 Gosbell Street Paddington NSW 2021 Australia Tel 61 2 9331 7775, Web www.stillsgallery.com.au

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