Environmentalists have long been pointing out the fact that we human create trash much faster than it can be properly managed. Air and water pollution problems we face today are results of the mishandling and mismanaging of the surplus trash. The slogan “Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been used to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle for the future. Many people have started to design their lives to be in line with this slogan.
Visual artists have made use of various materials in expressing their ideas into works of art. Materiality in art has become an important part in strengthening artistic concepts. Some artists have been searching for materials that they could use to make their artworks more environmentally sustainable. Artists in this exhibition have been looking for and collecting different materials to use in creating more meaningful art pieces. In particular, they have been collecting materials of low values - they have been collecting trash.
Narongyot Thongyu, has been collecting trash directly from the environment so that it is no longer left out to further harm the environment. Sam Tho Duong, Supapong Laodheerasiri, Gi-ok Jeon, Rudee Tancharoen and Sayumi Yokouchi have saved trash created in their daily lives rather than tossing it away in garbage bins. Jaupatcha Achavasmit has been removing trash stuck under the surface of the ocean and transformed it with technology into new materials for art through the process of recycling.
These artists have explored the concept of “Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and have given trash materials new values and new lives in more sustainable and meaningful ways through their own personal creative processes. Though they might not have utilized trash to communicate the same concept or issue in our societies and our lives, they have turned trash into something else with an expectation to last a long time and to carry values across generations. They have made it possible for us to “Rethink” about trash in a more visible and tangible way. They all have transformed undesirable materials into something of value - they have turned “trash” into “treasure” in the form of art.
In order to Rethink the value of trash, can we use the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” as a starting point?
In order to Reduce the use of ‘new’ materials needed to make new artworks, what if trash can be used as main materials for artworks?
In order to Reuse materials that are already vastly available, can we extend the life of single-use used and thrown-away paper and plastic by giving them new lives and new values?
In order to Recycle, can we transform undesirable materials into desirable materials of new shapes, forms and properties?
Jarupatcha Achavasmit (TH), Sam Tho Duong (VT/DE), Supapong Laodheerasiri (TH),
Gi-ok Jeon (KR/TH), Rudee Tancharoen (TH), Narongyot Thongyu (TH), Sayumi Yokouchi (JP)
*This exhibition is part of Art for Air.