5 September – 15 November 2020
Toot Yung art center, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai
Opening reception Saturday September 5, 2020 from 5pm
The Toot Yung art center is pleased to present a special showcase by British printmaker Ralph Kiggell.
Kiggell will be residing at the Toot Yung art center in August of 2020 to produce an exclusive suite of giant woodcut prints. With a special focus on natural materials sourced in the region, he will be working on “Saa” handmade paper from SP Studio, Lampang, and will be guided for his natural dyes by Chiang Mai artisans Slow Stitch Studio. This fruitful collaboration will result in giant woodcuts exploring the many poetic and symbolic aspects of the jungle.
In this suite of prints, Ralph Kiggell enters the forest of his imagination, to create a sequence of giant print-collages made from papercuts and carved woodblocks, monoprinted by hand onto huge sheets of saa paper. Kiggell loosely references folk woodcuts from Europe and Japan, and Ramakien illustrations in Thailand to make his depictions. Using natural pigments and dyes, he works in black, green and indigo, to print a mass of abundant vegetation, where, among trees, lianas, flowers and by a waterfall, we see images of figures, animals and birds. In the pools of darkness and light, who are the hunters, who are the hunted? But within the fantasy, the overriding story is about an earthly paradise that we know may already be lost.
We often take for granted the apparent abundance of lush nature in Thailand. The seemingly vast forests of tropical trees seem unchanging. But there is constant erosion from the edges, and deep inside, too. Poachers of animals, plants and timber enter the forests, scurrying precious species away; pollution and ignorance further endanger the shrinking ecology in this country and beyond. The forest in Thailand is also a place of harmony, dreams, escape and mystery, where the local forager and hunter are part of a balanced relationship within the deep ecology. (But in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are fearful of human encroachment on the forest and the damage it does to this balance. We need to be mindful of what we remove and disturb, and try to protect the precious little we have left.)
On this occasion we will also launch “12 Sacred Shapes” an art book marking several years research on themes of acceptance, displacement and exoticism. This elegant limited art edition book of 44 pages, will compile texts by Ralph Kiggell and Yupha Mahamart in English and Thai as well as the woodblock prints of the 12 sacred shapes which were the base for this extensive research.