VATANAJYANKUR’s series of candy-coloured video works explores the physical and psychological limitations of women’s everyday repetitive labour and offers a powerful examination of social and cultural ways of viewing and valuing women’s work.
In her 2015 – 2016 series of video works, VATANAJYANKUR engaged the tools common for Thai female labourers which aren’t always assisted with efficient electric contraptions and are time consuming and physically exhausting. The arduous tasks that VATANAJYANKUR performs parody a pervasive slippage between human and machine in the modern Thai society while the confrontation and seduction in her performance proves a powerful device in VATANAJYANKUR’s hand – a Trojan horse for tackling entrenched attitudes towards gender, equality and work.
VATANAJYANKUR describes her performance as “meditation postures”, when such grueling tests of resilience and fear are quite the opposite of what we might think now as zen. But, for VATANAJYANKUR, extreme physical endurance offers a way to free herself from her mind: a machanism to lose her sense of being. This deliberate objectification, she says, turns her body into a sculpture.
These performances are slapstick, colorful and absurd: bells and whistles to disguise careful choreography, extraordinary skill and acute social critique. By maintaining a ‘happy smile’ while pushing herself to extremes, she pays testament to female grace and resilience of injustice and invisibility. Amid the pretty colours of fresh food, however, this feminine fortitude is also presented as poignant and complex. It is an unpalatable reminder of the self-inflicted violence-of body and mind- that comes with our compliance to certain social norms.
Born in 1987, Bangkok, Thailand.
Lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.