After the great public reception he got at his first Bangkok show in March of last year, darkly funny Spanish cartoonist Joan Cornellà returns to Bangkok for his second solo exhibition in the city, this one titled “Happy Endings” and opening on Thursday.
The 60 new paintings, 2 sculptures, and one installation are being hung today at Sala Daeng’s Woof Pack gallery. The artist told Coconuts Bangkok that — not only are the paintings new works — but 40 of them were created here in Bangkok and some are related to, and inspired by, things he observed while living in the city for a few months after his last show.
When asked if we’ll see any pieces specifically related to Thailand’s political situation, he said, “To be honest, I think I would need more time to be familiar to the political situation in Thailand in order to have a solid opinion of what’s going on. I tend to work more globally than locally in the sense that I prefer my work to be understood by everyone on the planet. I try not to include things only related to a place, although I did it this time. I think it makes more sense to show that in an exhibition rather than on the internet.”
The artist was intrigued by Bangkok after his first show in the city, which led to him staying on. “I’m going to stay here for a while this time as well. I find this place is relaxing, especially after living in Hong Kong, which is more crowded and stressing,” he said.
The art-loving denizens of Bangkok seem fascinated by Cornellà as well. His last show drew over 10,000 people despite the artist’s custom of charging a cover for his gallery shows. When asked about that, simply because it’s unusual, he said, due to the large crowds he draws, more staff needs to be employed for the shows.
Always known for cynical messages and social satire behind a facade of cutesy drawings, the artist’ new show will play with the idea of unexpected happy endings, like the statue in which a man is pointing a gun at himself attached to a selfie stick.
When asked how he continually hits the sweet spot and angle that allows viewers the rare chance to laugh at things that they would never usually see humor in — like plane crashes and censorship, for example — he said, “It always depends on the eye of the viewer. I prefer that my work speaks for itself. What I’d like is to let people think for themselves and be more critical.”
He has said before, “I think we all laugh at misery. We must start from the idea that when we laugh, we laugh at someone or something. With empathy or not, there is always some degree of cruelty. In spite of that, I am aware that if one of my cartoons happened in real life I would not laugh at all.”
1/3 Sala Daeng Soi 1
Nov. 8 – Dec.3, daily 11am – 10pm
BTS Sala Daeng