Khao Mo, which translates as Mythical Escapism, is a reflective sculptural work by Sanitas Studio currently being exhibited at the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre. The concept behind the work is based on city dwellers' desire for a moment of escape from everyday life, along with the concept of the Chinese garden: a scaled replicated universe expressed through nature in order to create a sense of tranquility. According to the artist, "the smell of earth, the moisture and vapour that evaporate from the earth, the ordinariness and the emptiness allow the audience time to imagine."
"The ideas merged and were demonstrated through khao mo (a form of Thai art that originated in the Ayutthaya period), which is a symbol of paradise. It is used for enjoyment as well as for ceremonies, especially the royal tonsure shaving ceremony," described artist Sanitas Pradittasnee, who studied Landscape Architecture at London's Chelsea College of Art and Design before pursuing her exploration of the boundary between art and the built environment.
"The new khao mo is presented within the original physical framework, but the meaning has been reduced to the beliefs about khao mo that have altered as times have changed." The sculpture is designed to encourage interaction as well as offer contemplative qualities. People "have the opportunity to explore and find the hidden treasures on the inside via experiences from symbolic objects. They can journey from the past to the present, from the exalted down to the public. The inside of khao mo, which is a sanctuary, actually transpires as emptiness. It is the starting point of not-having and having, which is essentially the root of all things."
The installation is part of the Resort: An exhibition for landscape of rest exhibition, curated by Pichaya Suphavanij, at the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre, which runs until the 24th November 2013.
References: Sanitas Studio, BACC