A Visit to Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok
The entrance to the building
A statue of Professor Silpa Bhirasri, Father of Thai Contemporary Art, by Thai sculptor Sanan Silakorn, one of Bhirasri’s students, is in the atrium. The natural light shined through the carved walls behind the statue created an interesting backdrop and it gave an artistic welcome to the visitors.
A statue of Professor Silpa Bhirasri, Father of Thai Contemporary Art, by Thai sculptor Sanan Silakorn, one of Bhirasri’s students, is in the atrium. The natural light shined through the carved walls behind the statue created an interesting backdrop and it gave an artistic welcome to the visitors.

Visit to Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok, One of the Impressive Museums in Asia

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Bangkok, Thailand, is a private art museum owned by Thai telecommunications tycoon Boonchai Bencharongkul. With his passion in Art since he was young, Mr. Boonchai started collecting art over two decades. The museum houses over 100 artist, mostly Thais and some foreign artists on the top floor of the building.

Located near Don Muang Airport, north of downtown Bangkok, over 800 artworks are displayed in the
20,000 square meters area of the six-floor building. The museum was opened in 2012 and is aimed to help the young and old generation Thais, plus visitors, to be aware of good Thai art. It is open daily except Mondays from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Admission is 180 Baht (approximately $5.50) and free admission for children under 15, students, seniors, disabled visitors and monks)

Driving pass the gate of the building, my brother and I found convenient parking space.  There were a large group of Thai students in uniforms formed up a line next to the school buses getting ready to walk into the museum. It was quite delightful to know that the students will have a chance to see and experience art works of famous Thai artist which usually not displayed in public.

We entered to a high-ceiling and large hallway, in which ones will immediately see a large Latin inscription on the wall, “ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS” – “Art is long and life is short”, which was the philosophy that Professor Silpa Bhirasri, “Father of Thai Contemporary Art” held close to his heart.  Prof. Bhirasri, an Italian sculptor who lived in Thailand during the World War II, (Italian name: Corrado Feroci) played an important role of changing the aspect of arts in Thailand by establishing, in 1943, the Silapakorn University which was called Praneet Silpa School at the time, and creating proper painting and sculpture courses.  A statue of Prof. Bhirasri by Thai sculptor Sanan Silakorn, one of Bhirasri’s students, is also there in the atrium. The natural light that shined through the carved walls behind the statue created an interesting backdrop and gave an artistic welcome to the visitors. The museum is well-designed by an architect firm PAA Studio Co., Ltd and the interior design by PIA Interior Co., Ltd.

The museum featured modern Thai art, surrealism, sculpture, folk art and more. Most of the themes in Thai paintings based on Buddhist belief, therefore, they are not as colorful as those of impressionist in the West. The interior design of white walls and floors of the museum in most rooms plays well with these more subdued colors of some paintings.

Most of the themes in Thai art based on Buddhist belief, therefore, they are not as colorful as those of impressionist in the West. The interior design of white walls and floors in most rooms plays well with these more subdued colors.
Most of the themes in Thai art based on Buddhist belief, therefore, they are not as colorful as those of impressionist in the West. The interior design of white walls and floors in most rooms plays well with these more subdued colors.


Many of the artworks are surrealist and sculpture that are really superb works by famous Thai artists. The most striking room are the four areas dedicated to artist Thawan Duchanee, a national and internationally renowned Artist, who just passed away in 2014. The bright red walls against some of his black paintings startled the visitors on the first step into the room. Mr. Thawan’s works include oil paintings, drawing, carved wood and even weapons, which showed diversity of his interest. Another remarkable displays are the 3 large contemporary paintings “The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell” by three Thai contemporary artist, Sompop Butraj, Panya Wijinthanasan and Prateep Kochbua in a high ceiling and well-lighted hall.

The most striking room are the areas dedicated to artist Thawan Duchanee, a national and internationally renowned Artist
The most striking room are the areas dedicated to artist Thawan Duchanee, a national and internationally renowned Artist

Three large contemporary paintings “The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell” by three Thai contemporary artists, Sompop Butraj, Panya Wijinthanasan and Prateep Kochbua
Three large contemporary paintings “The Three Kingdoms-Heaven, Middle Earth, and Hell” by three Thai contemporary artists, Sompop Butraj, Panya Wijinthanasan and Prateep Kochbua

 

Other artists include Chalermchai Kositpipat, Prateep Kochabua, Fua Haripitak, Fua Haripitak, Suchao Sisganes, Thawee Nandakwang, Chalerm Nakiraks, Chuang Moonpinit, Chakrapan Posayakit, Somphong Adulyasarapan, Kittisak Chanontnart, Rearngsak Boonyanishkul, Lumphoo Kansanau and Hem Vejakorn’s illustrations, just to name some.  Modern young artists, some that won prizes in competitions such as from the Panasonic Painting Exhibition 1st prize winner, Ms.Suwannee Sarakana’s “Mother’s Hug”, is also displayed there.

“Bridge of Life”, Acrylic by Thai Artist Preekamol Chiovanich, wood and acrylic, 200×120 cm, 2006
Oil painting by artist Chutchai Saitong,
Oil painting by artist Chutchai Saitong, “First Glance”, oil on canvas, 250×350 cm, 2012.
“Luangta”, oil painting by artist Kid Kosolawat.
Oil painting by Kiettisak Chanonnart,
Oil painting by Kiettisak Chanonnart, “Hunted Subconscious Mind 1”, oil on canvas, 117x146x12 cm, 1981
Mixed media by artist: Amrit Chusuwan,
Mixed media by artist: Amrit Chusuwan, “Responsibility”, 30x80x280 cm, 2002.
Acrylic by artist: Prateep Kotchabua,
Acrylic by artist: Prateep Kotchabua, “At Your Back and Call”, acrylic on canvas, 105×145 cm, 2000.
Oil painting by artist: Rearngsak Boonyavanishtkul,
Oil painting by artist: Rearngsak Boonyavanishtkul, “The Legend of Wang-Na”, acrylic on canvas, 200×500 cm, 2011.
Oil painting by artist: Suwanee Sarakana,
Oil painting by artist: Suwanee Sarakana, “My Dearest Mother”, oil on canvas, 220×140 cm, 2010.
Watercolor by artist: Surapol Saenkham,
Watercolor by artist: Surapol Saenkham, “Warm and Peaceful 2”, watercolor on paper, 90×120 cm.

The museum features rare collection of woodblock paintings by artist, Praphan Srisouta.

Woodblock by Artist: Praphan Srisouta, ทอดแห
Woodblock by Artist: Praphan Srisouta, ทอดแห
Woodblock by Artist: Praphan Srisouta
Woodblock by Artist: Praphan Srisouta

There are also rooms dedicated to sculpture by Thai National Artists such as , Khien YimSiri, Chalood Nimsamer and Paitun Muangsomboon.

Sculpture by artist: Khien Yimsiri
Sculpture by artist: Khien Yimsiri
Sculpture by artist: Khien Yimsiri
Sculpture by artist: Khien Yimsiri
Sculptor by artist: Thongchai Srisukprasert,
Sculptor by artist: Thongchai Srisukprasert, “Burden”, bronze 120x65x35 cm, 2012
Sculpture by artist: Anupong Chantorn, Animal-man Family, bronze, 2010
Sculpture by artist: Anupong Chantorn, Animal-man Family, bronze, 2010
Sculpture:
Sculpture: “mother and child” by Nonthiwat Chandhanaphalin, bronze, 28x24x70 cm
Sculpture by artist: Nonthiwat Chandhanaphalin, "Volume-figure No. 4"
Sculpture by artist: Nonthiwat Chandhanaphalin, “Volume-figure No. 4”
Sculpture by artist: Pradeep Khotchabua,
Sculpture by artist: Pradeep Khotchabua, “Violin”, bronze, 77.5x25x23 cm, 2006

Lastly, on the top floor, features international contemporary art, ranging from European art (e.g.Romantic period of Queen Victoria) to Asia art from China, Vietnam and more.

For local Thais and visitors that have a chance to visit Bangkok, MOCA is definitely the place to see.

Paintings from other Asian countries, such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam
Paintings from other Asian countries, such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam

 

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