(Re)Creating Tangible Heritage "In Situ"

Explore the architectural evolutions of the Front Palace alongside contemporary textile and spatial design created "in situ" inspired by the Rama IV period

Path leading to Mukkrasan from Isara Winitchai (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

What’s in a space?

While visual artists in Isara Winitchai engaged independently with various stories, times, and aspects of the site’s history, Mukkrasan offers a more specific example of a period in the history of the Front Palace in which we see an overlap of narratives onsite.

Textile Designer Jarupatcha Achavasmit's Curtains (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

“In Situ” in Mukkrasan

We enlisted multidisciplinary experts  - from a textile designer, to architects, to a sculptor- to examine and  to create their own interpretations from tangible clues left behind from the Rama IV period. By embedding these contemporary creations within the second room of the exhibition, Mukkrasan, we hoped to give recognition to the site in a more engaging and experiential way.

Long Shot of the High Pavilion Model (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

By exploring a site’s tangible heritage, such as its urban planning and architecture, we can unearth multiple stories and otherwise invisible layers of space and time, often imperceptible to the untrained eye

Kotchampravet Pavilion 3D Model (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Deciphering Architectural Code

During his reign, King Rama IV elevated his brother to the unprecedented rank of Second King. This led to the development of several structures that nearly echoed those within the Grand Palace. King Rama IV redesigned the Front Palace in order to celebrate the newly elevated status of its inhabitant: Second King Pinklao

Double-Layered Video of High Pavilion, Juxtaposing Past and Present (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Bit StudioThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Through an examination of the site’s architectural history, we explore how events during the time of Rama IV (1851-1868) affected one of the most significant narrative shifts that changed the space within the Front Palace.

Side-View of High Pavilion Model (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Krittaphat ChuentrakulThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Looking back at the unique narrative shift within the Front Palace, HRH Prince Damrong Rajanubhab reflected on the reason for the addition of these nearly mirrored structures:

“…To summarize, what there were to glorify the King, he would want the Second King to be honoured in exactly the same manner most, if not all of the time.”

- Tamnan Wang Na (The Legend of the Front Palace), HRH Prince Damrong Rajanubhab

Kotchakampravet Prasat During Early King Rama V (1896-12-18/1896-12-18) by The National Archives of ThailandThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Kotchakampravet Prasat

A prasat (a multi-tiered structure over the roof) is a Thai architectural element reserved for a building used by a King.

A structure with a prasat had never previously existed at the Front Palace, but Kotcakampravet Prasat was built for Second King Pinklao, and was typically used ceremonially, and its proportions were similar to that of the equivalent Amporn Phimok at the Grand Palace.

High Pavilion of the Front Palace (2019-04-22)The Front Palace: Wang Na

The High Pavilion

Built to echo—in style and in function—Sutthaisawan of the Grand Palace, this wooden pavilion served two functions; one, for the Second King to observe war games on one side, and two, to observe the procession of envoys arriving on the other side.

Sutthaisawan Pavilion (1896-12-18/1896-12-18) by The National Archives of ThailandThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Similar to the High Pavilion of the Front Palace, the Grand Palace's Sutthaisawan Prasat had formerly been built as an open pavilion; however, the roof of the open pavilion was re-modeled into a prasat style by King Rama III.

(Re)Creating Tangible Heritage "In Situ" Part 2 (2019-04-22) by Sirikitiya JensenThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Plan of the Front Palace's Center Court, Juxtaposed with a Double Layer (1896-12-18/1896-12-18) by The National Archives of ThailandThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Additions to the Front Palace during the reign of Second King Pinklao included Kotchakampravet Pasat(1), High Pavilion(2), and Isara Winitchai's (3) surrounding annexes': Ekalongkot Pavilion (3.1) and its duplicate, Mangkhalaphisek(3.1), and Sanamchan Pavilion(3.2)

Isara Winitchai and its Surroundings (3)

Though Isara Winitchai Throne Hall (3) itself was constructed during the reign of King Rama III by Vice King Bovornmaha Sakdibalaseb, it was King Rama IV - upon elevating his brother to the rank of Second King - that instructed the addition of auxiliary edifices around it, to more faithfully mirror the layout of Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall of the Grand Palace.

The Ekalongkot and Mangkhalaphisek Pavilions (3.1)

The two duplicate pavilions, Ekalongkot Pavilion (3.1), and Mangkhalaphisek (3.1), were constructed at the corners of the wall surrounding the Isara Winitchai Throne Hall (3).

Both pavilions echoed the style and function of the Dusidaphirom Pavilion in front of the Amarin Winichai Throne Hall in the Grand Palace, complete with platforms from which to mount royal palanquins.

Sanamchan Pavilion (3.2)

The Sanamchan Pavilion of the Grand Palace, originally built by King Rama II, was the model for this open pavilion by the same namesake (3.2), constructed on the northern ground of the Isara Winitchai Throne Hall.

The front façade of Isara Winitchai (3),
which served as the throne hall to the Second King Pinklao during the period in which he resided in the Front Palace.

The Outside Facade of Isara Winitchai Throne Hall (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by National Archives of ThailandThe Front Palace: Wang Na

The outer façade of Isara Winitchai Throne Hall (3)
during the reign of Rama VII, a period in which the throne hall had become an exhibition hall within the National Museum Bangkok

Deterioration of Ekalongkot Pavilion (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by National Archives of ThailandThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Deterioration of Ekalongkot Pavilion (3.1)
during the reign of King Rama VII.

The entrance of Mangkhalaphisek Pavilion (2019-04-13/2019-04-13) by Vorapoj SongcharoenThe Front Palace: Wang Na

The remaining duplicate, Mangkhalaphisek Pavilion (3.1),
As it exists today in Bangkok.

Sanamchan Pavilion of the Front Palace (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Sakchai PhanawatThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Sanamchan Pavilion (3.2)
Seen here at the Front Palace during the reign of First King Monkut and Second King Pinklao.

Long Shot of Reading Room in Mukkrasan (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Textiles, Sculpture, and Working with the Tangible

A textile designer and a sculptor were invited to examine and create their own interpretations from tangible clues within the former Front Palace site. By embedding these contemporary creations within Mukkrasan, we hoped to create a warm space of exchange that encouraged dialogue, not only between artists and the historic space but also between the historic space and visitors to the exhibition.

Textile Designer's Curtains within Mukkrasan Hall (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Srisuphat SatiansriThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Textile Designer Jarupatcha Achavasmit created curtains made out of brass and bronze threads by applying an ancient patina technique to speed up the oxidation process in order to create antique surface on metal weaving.

Close-up of Jarupatcha Achavasmit's Curtains (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Jarupatcha's work is meant to recall curtains which once served as a demarcation of space, namely of a King’s personal and public space within a Throne Hall.

The curtains were also inspired by gold leaf dharma book chests which were present when Jarupatcha first visited Mukkrasan. Under the light, the pattern and texture of the gold leaf lacquer on the dharma book chest seemed to have peeled off into layers. Time had worked its way on the gold leaf surface, pressing its existence as an ongoing progress of gold rust.Modern techniques were utilized to replicate this wear and tear, or battle scars, of objects for the curtains in Mukkrasan.

Kotchakampravet Model (2019-04-22)The Front Palace: Wang Na

Jarupatcha's curtains, with Kotchakampravet Prasat in the foreground.

Sculptor Suwitcha's Thai-Style Seating Area (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Suwicha Dussadeewanich, a sculptor, works with three-dimensional installation art that applies working methods and thinking processes of traditional Thai craftsmen, that he blends with expertise of the functionality of shapes, structures,materials, and tools.

Close-Up of Sculptor Suwitcha's Thai-Style Seating Area (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Pakon MusikaboonlertThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Here, Suwicha drew inspiration from traditional Thai homes in order to create a seating area which is both relaxed and inviting.

In integrating past and present, function and art, Thai culture and history will be able to evolve and take on different forms which allow for continuity.

Suwitcha's Thai-Style Seating Area (2019-03-03/2019-03-03) by Suwicha DussadeewanichThe Front Palace: Wang Na

Credits: Story

Project Director: Sirikitiya Jensen

Curatorial Team for "In Situ from Outside": Nathalie Boutin, Sirikitiya Jensen, and Mary Pansanga

Participating Artists:
Tanatchai Bandasak, On Kawara, Udomsak Krisanamis, Nipan Oranniwesna, Pratchaya Phinthong, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo

Participating Collaborators:
Jarupatcha Achavasmit, Prapod Assavavirulhakarn, Suanplu Chorus, Sayan Daengklom, Chudaree Debhakam, Suwicha Dussadeewanich, Pongsit Pangsrivongse, Chatri Prakitnonthakarn, Kitichate Sridith, Boontuen Sriworapoj, Supitcha Towiwich, Phra Maha Raja Guru Bidhi Sri Visudhigun, Tul Waitoonkuat & Marmosets

Graphic Design Team: Jaithip Jaidee and Pam Virada

Organized by Fine Arts Department; Ministry of Culture, Thailand

Sponsors: Thai Beverage and Bangkok Bank
Media Partner: The Cloud
Supported by Air France and Samsung

Digital Exhibition Team:
Designer: Dr. Vorapoj Songcharoen
Photographer: Wisanu Choonhachinda
Videographer: Decha Palamongkol
Translator: Koranit Rattanamahattana
Digital Museum Support: Songcharoen Media Group

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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