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The art of the banknote series of "Tawan Wattuya" at Bangkok Art Biennale 2020

Tawan Wattuya works with watercolors and oil paints to create an aesthetics that collides with the senses, terrifying viewers, but also tickling them with caustic humor. Wattuya graduated from the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University. His works have been widely exhibited both locally and internationally, including ROUGE GALLERY: MONSTERS, VILLAINS & HELLBENT POLITICIANS (New York, 2018), QUEEN (Tokyo, 2019), and HATCH ART PROJECT (Singapore, 2019).

For his work in BAB 2020, Wattuya recreates banknotes from all over the world by painting enlarged versions of them in watercolor, preserving the characters of each currency but letting the fluid properties of the watercolor forge new images. The blurriness, ambiguity, and beauty of these metamorphosed banknotes reflect the transformation of the world that is turning these banknotes into mere paper and diminishing their values: the financial crisis, inflation, currency exchange rates that fluctuate according to the economic conditions of each country, an economic recession or complete collapse due to catastrophes like an epidemic, online transactions where spending requires no exchange of actual money but of digits and ID numbers. Wattuya’s reproductions of the banknotes also highlight the different identities of each country. What appears in front of you may make you consider what is inside your pocket. In reality, what we assume is valuable today may be worthless tomorrow.

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