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No Sunrise No Sunset, Art Biennale Pavilion, Krabi, Thailand


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No Sunrise No Sunset is a spellbinding pavilion installation created by Kamin Lertchaiprasert, a Thai artist whose works are included, for example, in the Guggenheim collection. To create the pavilion for Thailand’s first Art Biennale held in Krabi he collaborated with architect Suriya Umpansiriratana of Bangkok-based Walllasia Ltd.

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The Krabi province consists of a group of 80 islands known for their exceptional natural beauty. The Biennale’s theme, “Edge of the Wonderland”, required that all artworks were created for the location to highlight the rich nature and cultural context of Krabi. 

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The mirror-walled 50 square-metre (538 sq.-ft.) rectangular box that Lertchaiprasert and Umpansiriratana call a cave is located by the Andaman Sea at the end of Ao Nang Beach where local lovers often watch the sunset.

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The artist considers art as a ritualistic practice to achieve a greater understanding of oneself, nature and the world as a whole. In an interview about No Sunrise No Sunset, the artist has said that the work is not really site-specific but more “life-specific.” He says the work can be installed anywhere because “the sun doesn’t move, but the world is spinning by itself.”

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The box’s exterior walls are covered in mirror which makes the entire piece thoroughly enticing, even without the captivating story unfolding inside. The mirrors recreate and transform the box by reflecting the surroundings in a constant, never-ending shift of serene and beautiful images as the sun rises and sets and the clouds come and go. But the cave also creates an eerily exposed and disorientated sensation and forces the visitor to be extra careful stepping on the low concrete steps that lead into the cave.

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Inside, a love story unfolds. The artist imagined a love story of Yai Sa and Mr. Krabi and illustrated the inner walls of the cave with modern love-related graffiti. According to Thai tradition a man needs to be ordained at the age of 25 before he can get married. In this story, Mr. Krabi leaves town to seek the truth of dharma. It seems that he never returned as the elderly Yai Sa still waits for him on the beach. She is represented by a fiberglass figure standing in a pond with the sea behind her. She is a symbol of love and waiting.

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We love the ethereal, otherworldly and experiential feeling the pavilion evokes through its refreshingly analog means. No screens, no AI or VR and yet we are transported and inspired. Tuija Seipell

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Photo credits: Spaceshift Studio/ Pirak Anurakyawachon

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