Mar 01 2012
When I heard the name V64, I envisioned a more advanced version of V8, the red juice with eight different vegetables treasured by mothers and juice masochists. But V64 Art Studio is named after Vibhavadi-Rangsit 64, the quiet street 20 minutes north of nowhere, which forms the base of some 75 artists in more than 30 studios.
“Who are V?” and “What do V do?” V64 says on its website. For anyone who has discovered how loosely the term gallery can be used in Thailand — in some cases it’s not unlike calling a stack of books a library or a box of band-aids a hospital — then you’ve been conditioned to keep your expectations low.
While I sat in the back of the taxi on the way to V64, watching the meter rise, I prayed there would at least be some street food near the studio to make the trip worth it.
But V64 is unlike any other art space I have encountered in Bangkok, and powerful enough to wipe away any preconceived notions I had about the state of contemporary art in a country where funding art is a low priority, aside from the recently reviewed Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
The space comprises a working art studio and residency, gallery, sculpture park, art academy and music school, community space, coffee shop and bar, and gift shop.
V64 was conceived by the artists in Section 7 of Chatuchak Market seeking a communal space that could support the thriving creative scene in Bangkok and allow for an interactive viewing experience.
V64 may be ambitious in its endeavour, but the artists running the show look like they’re having too much fun to be concerned. The art is varied in its quality, which may just be the difference between great and greater. The general impression is of painstaking technical craft paired with refreshingly bold concepts.
The artists occupy their spaces differently. One artist installed a dipping pool and hanging lights in a space no bigger than a freshman college dorm room, while another left barbed wire and open cans of paint on the ground, as either an artistic statement on the process of art, or a lazy cleaning job.
The individual spaces together form an elaborate collage of different mediums, bursting with personality and demonstrating an earnest desire to create. Visitors are free to wander in and out of the sculpture park and galleries, which start to feel like a fun house at a carnival as you pass by distorted abstract murals and brass statues of open-mouthed demigods.
V64 Art Studio
143/19 Changwattana Soi 1
(Vibhavadi 64 Road), Bhangkhen Laksi, Bangkok
T: (02) 973 2681/2 or 089 143 0986 (mobile)
BTS: Mo Chit
MRT: Chatuchak or Phahon Yothin (north)
From there, it’s a 20 minute taxi ride. Ask your driver to take you to Changwattana Soi Neung (Soi 1)
Bus nos 510 & 29 pass by Vibhavadi Road
Open daily 10:30-20:30
Entrance is free. Art is priced according to the artist. The gift shop offers reasonably priced take-home items from many contributing artists. If you plan to stay around the northern Bangkok area, another thing to visit is the vintage clothing section of Union Mall in Lad Prao.
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.