Frieze London 2023: People Say Nothing Is Impossible, but Beuys Does Nothing Everyday by Wantanee Siripattananuntakul
News Resource: Freize
People Say Nothing Is Impossible, but Beuys Does Nothing Everyday
Artist-to-Artist Section | Booth S6
By Wantanee Siripattananuntakul
At Frieze London 2023
Date: October 11-15, 2023
Location: Regent’s Park, London
Gallery VER makes its debut at Frieze London 2023 with the solo exhibition “People Say Nothing Is Impossible, but Beuys Does Nothing Everyday” featuring new video installations and unique sculptures by Thai artist Wantanee Siripattananuntakul. Proposed by acclaimed artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, Siripattananuntakul’s solo show is being exhibited in the new section “Artist-to-Artist” in celebration of the 20th Frieze London. Transforming the booth into a fascinating world of Beuys, Siripattananuntakul invites visitors to explore her lifelong relationship with her artistic collaborative creature, the female African Grey Parrot named “Beuys”.
The relationship between Siripattananuntakul and her parrot Beuys, named after the iconic German artist Joseph Beuys, started in 2013 when she adopted the African Grey Parrot as a baby chick. Since then, Siripattananuntakul and Beuys (the parrot) have engaged in a long durational project exploring the boundaries and intricate connection between nature and political beings, starting from small acts that resemble Joseph Beuy’s works such as the felt suit, and teaching Beuys (the parrot) to mimic his quote “Everyone is an artist.’
Wantanee and Beuys (the parrot) later go on to extrapolate the quote to “Everyone is a contemporary artist.”
However, due to the nature of a creature such as Beuys (the parrot), she does not adhere to what Siripattananuntakul has offered her. Rather, she created her own ways of interacting with different objects and subjects in this exploration of the concept of expression, allowing the project to later develop beyond the definition coined by Joseph Beuys’ concept of art.
The works created for Frieze London form part of an ongoing exploration of her artistic practices. From Joseph Beuys’ inspired felt suit, serving as the source of thermal energy that offers creativity, the parrot’s special ‘Neon Felt Suit’ is deemed unfavorable by its wearer because she is already covered in feathers. The felt is also featured covering the screen in ‘Freeze TV’ suggesting a visual interruption from the edited footage of a coup d’etat and international conflict on the television while Beuys is inside a cage from which she later freed herself. Beuys’ plumage is also a key figure in the booth’s presentation with the word ‘And Yet the Earth is Moved’, a one-and-a-half-metre-long sculpture of an enlarged feather, showing the beauty in what is overlooked every day and questioning our perception and prejudice.
‘Making the Unknown Known,’ is a three-channel video installation. The narrative unfolds among diverse beings, revealing the profound geopolitical ripples that affect humans and animals alike. The work contrasts the commercialization of wild birds with the symbolic role of white elephants and unveils the hidden currents of transformation. The drying Mekong River, a consequence of human intervention, lays bare the interconnectedness of all life forms.
This transformative journey is no longer solely derived from Joseph Beuys’ works but instead emerges from the profound observation and learning between Wantanee and Beuys the parrot. Their partnership becomes an imaginative exploration, intertwining art, nature, and animal intelligence.
The “Artist-to-Artist” presentation highlights their roles as advocates by introducing new voices to the fair.
Tiravanija comments: “My hope is for more exposure of female Thai artists in the Western art world which has been negligible up to this date. I am hoping this opportunity would generate a fresh and necessary opening up of perspectives between the Thai and Western art worlds, between the centers and the periphery. The interactive context of the Frieze art fair could act as a bridge to such openings and discovery for a new audience in London.”