Running, stomping and shouting are usually not allowed in the Chrysler Museum of Art, but it is exactly what artist Pinaree Sanpitak wants you to do in her visiting artist series.
Sanpitak’s “Temporary Insanity” installation entices visitors of every age to interact with her multimedia exhibit, which responds to sound and motion.
She is a world-renown artist from Thailand. She commonly explores female identity and roles through her work. “Temporary Insanity” is her traveling exhibit that has been throughout Europe and welcomed by much critical acclaim.
The installation’s residency at the Chrysler Museum, which will now run through Dec. 30, is its first time being shown in America, putting Norfolk’s Chrysler on par with other nationally recognized museums.
“Temporary Insanity” incorporates silk, synthetic fiber, batteries, motors, propellers and sound devices to “create an environment that is at once dynamic and meditative,” according to the inscription to the display. It is composed of about fifty standing silk pillows that range in colors of red, orange and yellow. Inside each pillow is a motor that responds to sound and movement. Each motor has a different frequency at which it spins, some faster and some slower. Some pillows never stop gyrating and gently rock back and forth after activated. Collectively, they are said by Sanpitak to invoke temporary insanity.
“It attracts many people, young and old,” said Michael Berlucchi who works in Visitor Services for the museum. People of all ages can be seen here interacting with the little pillows, running around, stomping and yelling within the small green room of the exhibit. Walking up the stairs to the Visiting Artist room, echoes from the activity can be heard and children can be seen playing in between the obstacle course of the pillows.
“Last week an 80 year old couple started making birdcalls in the room,” said Berlucchi. The playfulness is all part of the exhibit and the museum welcomes the bustle.
Some pillows reflect the color and form of stupas, the dome-shaped monuments that house the relics of the Buddha. Other pillows are smaller and circular reflecting the shape of the human body, and in some cases, the female breast.
“Pinaree is amazing at layering concepts into her work,” said Berlucchi. While these shapes do not evoke much connotation in America, the form and color of the pillow stupas reflect the tradition of Buddhism in Thailand. This is a tradition that women are not allowed to partake in.
In December the installation will move once again, but not unchanged. The exhibit has interacted with our community just as much as the community has interacted with it. On Oct. 10, the Chrysler held a pillow stuffing party which interested adults and children who helped stuff the pillows in preparation for the opening.
While Sanpitak was in Norfolk, she assisted glassblowers in the Chrysler Glass Studio to create glass stupas in reflection of her pillows. The glass pieces will accompany the installation as it travels.
By: Allison Terres