Art/Culture  •  In Convo with

In Convo with: Patipat Chaiwitesh

Coco Petrachaiana sits down with Patipat Chaiwitesh to discover what pearl-studded bananas, tapestry-clad taxidermy, and chickens in sequins all have in common.

July 20, 2017
Patipat Chaiwitesh recently appeared in BACC’s Early Years Project and is currently back with his own solo exhibition, “Stitch Up”, at YenakART Villa from June 28 until August 12. The solo exhibition features several sets of Patipat’s work; each set is different in its themes but the prevailing element is a repetitive textile technique. Coco Petrachaianan conversed with the artist about his techniques and the thematic development of his artistic style.    

Coco Petrachaianan: Right away, I recognized the pearl-studded bananas and tapestry-clad taxidermy from the Early Years Project. That unresolved curiosity came back to me from the subliminals. Why is the dead chicken wearing sequins?  Why are the moldy bananas studded with plastic pearls and metal rings? I sense something devient. I join the artist to resolve my burning curiosity…
CP: Why did you choose to go to France?
Patipat Chaiwitesh: I had my background in textile in Thailand and want to advance my technical skills in this field. I got inspired by the exhibition I went to in L’école des beaux-arts. The French are very serious about textiles. A lot of Europeans really see the value in our folk textiles. Many flew all the way to Thailand to learn about our traditional textiles.

What significance does weaving have for you?
Weaving is like drawing. Normally, when we talk about textile, we are talking about the mode of producing fabric. The weaving machine moves from left to right and the movement keeps on repeating over and over. Tapestry is different.  

There are four collections in this exhibition; can you guide us through each?

These paper-cuts are my first set of work. They are from my earlier series and were displayed in Paris before. Actually, with all the collections, even though they may look different, all of them are all about pattern and repetition. With this, I experimented with shadows and the patterns we see in our daily lives; I used the basic elements of art to create the visual illusion of depth. The same shapes are layered, interwoven in the very same fashion textiles do. There are a lot of overlapping of the same elements. All of them are experimental.

These were made after I got into L’école supérieure des beaux-arts TALM in the Department of Textile and Tapestry in France. I applied the same techniques I explored in the first collection to make these tapestries. From tapestry, I applied the new techniques I learned to a more contemporary approach.

There was actually another collection that came after the tapestry series. It is not exhibited here but it was exhibited in Soy Sauce Factory. I weaved into combs. I like to use everyday objects in my work. I wanted to knit everything. I see things from the everyday life and want to weave into them.
This continues on with the experimentation with everyday objects, patterns, and repetition. The chopsticks are arranged into shapes in repetitive patterns very reminiscent of its preceding series. This is still the experimentation with everyday objects.
This was actually done for BACC’s Early Years Project. I have been exhibiting my works all around this year. Now that I have a solo exhibition, I want to bring all the past series to display. While still sticking to the personal pattern motif, this collection takes on a more audacious voice. I was inspired by cosmetic surgery. I am not saying that cosmetic surgery is good or bad. Cosmetic surgery is “pop culture”. This series talks about the condition of modernity, the alteration of the body, and disintegration. The concept was actually for everything, the fish, chicken, to rot but due to BACC’s regulations I had to preserve all the animal carcasses for the exhibition. They didn't want the smell. The concept of this is all about the changing of perception. Say, if you look at the object, it has been altered to change the perception the viewer has towards it.

The two pieces with the plants were developed from the taxidermy set. Plants are living things that keep on growing, contrasting to the core theme of the taxidermy series which focuses on death and disintegration. The vines creep into the wooden trellis creating the organic tapestry designed by nature herself. This big safety-pin piece is also in the new collection. It won't be this confusing in the next exhibition. I was in many exhibitions this year and bringing them all back in this exhibition made it a bit confusing.

There seems to be stronger messages in you later works; are these messages prevalent in your earlier works?
Do I have these messages in my earlier works? No, my older works focus more on patterns and techniques—because I grew from textile design, fashion textile.

How long did it take you to finish the safety-pin piece?
Around four, yes four months. With the help of my parents.
Are the bananas meant to resemble something kinky?
If you were to look through some underground websites, there are a lot of advertisements and pictures of different kinds of male enhancements and modifications. Adhering to the theme of modification and degradation, yes, it does resemble the surgical procedure some men go through.

Visit YenakArt Villa’s website for more information on the show, which runs until August 12.