States of the Arts


Breast Stupa Topiary

by Pinaree Sanpitak

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The steely structures of Pinaree Sanpitak’s Breast Stupa Topiary sculptures suggest a more elastic matter. The skeleton cage contrasts with the fluid disc of the silhouette. The peak points to the sky; the sheened, metallic stalks stand firmly on the ground. Referencing the hemispherical stupas of Buddhist architecture, each blade is held within a consecrated zone. When placed in the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, the fractal domes echoed endlessly in the branching, asymmetrical repetition of the surrounding trees, knots of grass furling furtively around each metal slat.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior

directed by Prachya Pinkaew
Feature film

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Grounded Feet. Crocodile Tail. Elephant Face. As crickets buzz in the moonlight, Ting creates art with words and motion. Jumping, lunging, and spinning, he depicts each image that he describes. He is practising Muay Thai, a combat style that uses elbow and knee strikes alongside punches and kicks. His rehearsal introduces us to the vast range of fighting techniques that he will soon put to the test; he must retrieve Ong-Bak, the precious head of Buddha stolen from his home village. The performance is a moment of relative calm, to be followed by a storm of rapid camera sequences, high-tempo scoring, and mesmerising acrobatics.

Words by Hugh Maloney

Cold Enters the Heart

by Suwannee Sukhontha
Short story

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Rippling wavelets, tiny fish, stirring flora, curious humans. Depicted as if brush strokes on canvas, each detail forms a hazy waterside scene. The characters are nameless and faceless, approached impersonally and kept at an arm’s length. We gradually learn about these protagonists: they are orphans, angling for metal wire to sell at a lowly price. A brief mention of a doctor offers a small splash of reality, soon widening to a channel, transforming the narrative. As we read, Suwanni Sukhontha’s short story presents us with a new illustration, less impressionistic than the first.

Words by Hugh Maloney


by Suraphol Sombatcharoen

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Suraphol Sombatcharoen takes to the stage with confidence, introduced by a sauntering wind melody, each note carefully parted from the next. In the manner of a storyteller greeting keen ears, he weaves his tale over a playful, marching beat. Each syllable is delivered with heightened diction, the execution clear. The sense of theatrical stage performance is magnified by a male chorus, which often interjects statements of their own. Their presence seems to distract the solo vocalist. His lines waver as he begins to chuckle, his precise delivery turning to excited speech.

Words by Hugh Maloney

More to discover

Breast Stupa Topiary: You can view more of Pinaree Sanpitak's work on the Tyler Rollins Fine Art website here, and read an interview with the artist by John Krich for The Wall Street Journal.

Ong-Bak: You can view the US trailer for Ong-Bak here, and a fanmade trailer here.

Cold Enters the Heart: You can read the story here.

Fake: You can listen to the song here.

Question of the day

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