Galleries that are more than pleasing to the eye
Warin Lab believes that art has more function than aesthetics. Sukontip “Fon” Nakasem, founder of Warin Lab, trusts that art could be a medium for communicating different issues and founded the gallery as a mouthpiece for issues of greater importance in a visually-appealing way. The gallery’s location was once Dr Boonsong Lekagul’s home, the father of Thai environmental conservation, so Fon wanted to pay homage to his legacy. Since its opening, the gallery has conveyed environmental issues such as circular economy, animal extinction, air pollution, lifestyle pollution and ocean pollution.
How do you choose the artists for your gallery?
We work with curators, so we talk to the curators about our objectives and what we focus on and the curators will find work to present and choose how they would like to display it. There are no boundaries as long as it communicates our objective, which is environmental issues.
How do you manage the exhibitions?
We hold five exhibitions each year. Each one is on display for about two months, maybe a little bit longer. The artists that exhibit here could be new, established, Thai or foreign. There is no criteria as it depends on the curator.
How do you make sure that art impacts society?
Besides the art in the gallery, we also try to incorporate an educational programme in every exhibition. I believe that if we put in different media, the information that we are trying to communicate will get across to audiences better, faster, and will be more convincing. That’s why we try to associate ourselves with environmental organisations, scientists or environmentalists. We hold talks and in each exhibition we invite biologists and environmentalists to lead a discussion.
Most recently, we talked about the ‘throw away culture’, which means we’re in a culture where things are bought fast and thrown just as fast, creating massive garbage issues. I’ve also launched a podcast called ‘Warin Lab Contemporary Podcast’, and our first episode is called ‘Sustainability 101’, where we joined forces with the Green World Foundation. The second one is called ‘In Artversation’ and we talk about critical thinking in the art world with people in the art industry from around Southeast Asia. We talk about different topics in the art world and invite connoisseurs of those topics to have a conversation. The intersection of different groups will bring more audiences and traffic to the issue we are trying to convey.