In conversation with Atty Tantivit - five years of ATTA

Interview  /  Curating   Gallerism   Collecting
Published: 28.11.2015
Sanna Svedestedt
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In November 2015 ATTA Gallery celebrated five years. Founded in 2010 by Atty Tantivit ATTA is the first and only gallery for contemporary art jewellery in Thailand.
Hello Atty! Happy fifth anniversary!

Since 2010 ATTA gallery has featured over thirty exhibitions. Which of these have been your personal favourites and why?

Well, let me mention three - 2012: The Beginning or The End We gave gallery’s artists a theme that was the hot topic at that time, the 2012 phenomenon, and to see the different outcomes was really great.  There were some similarities and many differences that brought about great conversations.
2012 exhibition, photo:  ATTA Gallery
BANGKO{K}LLECTION Marie-Louise Kristensen created this exhibition based on her experience during her visit to Bangkok one year before the exhibition date.  It was great and very interesting to see her interpretations of my own city through small wearable objects. 
Give Me A Spoon:  This was my first experience having non-jewelry artists create wearable pieces to be exhibited alongside jewelry artists for an exhibition at the gallery.  I think both the non-jewelry artists and the viewers of the exhibition came to appreciate the field of contemporary art jewelry more. They realized the challenge of making “complete” or “finished” wearable pieces…especially when just putting a pre-fabricated pins in the back of their usual art pieces was not good enough.  It proved that contemporary jewelry is not an afterthought of other art field…but a legitimate field of its own.

Spoons from exhibition, photo:  ATTA Gallery
Considering the experiences you have had over the years - if you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice for the start-up phase, what would that be?
To not use the word “jewelry” as the main description of the kind of work we present and sell.  When mentioning “jewelry” people in Thailand automatically think of gold, diamonds and gemstones…so when they saw what we have at the gallery they were taken aback.  Nowadays, I found it easier to use the word wearable art to describe the work we have at the gallery. This way they somewhat know what to expect when they come in to see what we have.  People are more open-minded when it comes to art.
ATTA signage in front of gallery, photo:  ATTA Gallery
Can you describe your view of the state of the contemporary art and craft scene in Bangkok?
 Contemporary art started to gain attention from locals in the past decade, with a few internationally recognized artists making their names abroad.  A lot of people still think of contemporary art as something hard to understand.   People still tend to give more value to artwork with elaborate details made with highly-skilled techniques.  Contemporary art on the other hand has its value based on other factors such as concepts and participatory experiences. The scene has growing considerably, though not many people are collecting contemporary art here just yet.
We have a long history in craft here in Thailand but the majority of the people here don’t “appreciate” or give much value to craftwork…they think of craftspeople as manual labours, not creative people. Contemporary craft started to become a bit more well-known and accepted as some people who studied craft and design abroad returned to Thailand and collectively started to promote it to affluent people in Bangkok. Some governmental agencies have also started to promote innovative craft design quite recently.  We still have a long way to go but I think we have the resources and know-hows to grow.
 Contemporary Thai ceramic by Aor Suthiprapha, Photo:  Paw Dee Lifestyle
What are the future goals of ATTA gallery?
 I like to think that the first 5 years we have been trying to stay alive and to set up the foundation…for the possibility of ATTA to grow into a healthy “kid”…so for the next 5 years I hope for ATTA Gallery to grow even more in terms of recognition and acceptance from the local customers as well as in terms of profits, at the end of the day we need to be economically viable as a business.

In the next 5 years I would like to see ATTA Gallery have a significant yet sustainable growth. And one of our goals is to be the first thing that comes to people’s minds when talking about “contemporary jewelry” or “wearable art” here in Thailand.  ATTA Gallery is here to stay!
Timeline of ATTA Gallery’s first 5 years, photo:  ATTA Gallery