Pinaree Sanpitak now on view at The Milk of Dreams, 59th Venice Biennale

23 Apr 2022

Pinaree Sanpitak is currently on view as part of the main exhibition of the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia curated by Cecilia Alemani.

Titled The Milk of Dreams, the exhibition takes its cue from a book by Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, and focuses on three main themes: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; and the connection between bodies and the Earth.

Sanpitak (b. 1961, Thailand) is widely regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s most important contemporary artists. Over the last four decades, Sanpitak has developed an enigmatic inventory of symbols distilling women’s bodies to their most elemental parts, expressed variously through vessels, breasts, eggs, and subtly curved profiles. Characterised by sensitivity and ethereality, her paintings and drawings are tethered to a captivation with her own body, and potent concepts of the sacred and the spiritual that the body contains. In the mid-1990s, inspired by the powerful experience of breastfeeding her own child, Sanpitak began producing many images of the breast.

Pinaree Sanpitak, Breast Vessel in the Reds, 2021, acrylic, pencil and feathers on canvas, 250 x 250 cm. Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol

Pinaree Sanpitak, Offering Vessel, 2021, acrylic and pencil on canvas, 250 x 250 cm. Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol

Pinaree Sanpitak, Offering Vessel II, 2021, acrylic and paper on canvas, 250 x 250 cm. Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol

Pinaree Sanpitak, Body Lyrics III, 2020, acrylic on canvas 250 x 150 cm. Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol

Pinaree Sanpitak, The Body and The Gold Breast, 2021, acrylic, gold leaves on canvas, 250 x 220 cm. Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol

As Madeline Weisburg writes, her new series on view at the Venice Biennale includes textured paintings that incorporate acrylic, feathers, gold and silver leaf, and silk. She reduces the breast motif into the form of the mound and the vessel, correlating personal experience with forms that recall Buddhist offering bowls or stupa shrines, a sacred domed structure found in many Asian nations. Sanpitak’s Offering Vessels series of the early 2000s registers the vessel as a container of perception and experience or as a repository of emptiness. More than simply an expression of the physical figure, the bowls seen in pieces such as Offering Vessel and Breast Vessel in the Reds speak to the body’s wide-ranging potential across the sacred and profane.

Opening to the public on 23 April 2022 at the Giardini and Arsenale, Venice, Italy, The Milk of Dreams includes 213 artists from 58 countries; 180 of these are participating for the first time in the International Exhibition. 1433 works and objects are on display, with 80 new projects are conceived specifically for the Biennale Arte.

Top image: installation view of Pinaree Sanpitak’s presentation at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Photo by Nopadon Kaosam-ang.