Art Show | Saun Santipreecha: Dandelye—or, Beneath this River’s Tempo’d Time We Walk

Exhibition view, photo courtesy of Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

Los Angeles, CA – Reisig and Taylor Contemporary is honored to present the debut solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based Thai artist Saun Santipreecha: “Dandelye—or, Beneath this River’s Tempo’d Time We Walk.” Emerging from an expansive multidisciplinary practice, the exhibited body of work includes mixed-media paintings and sculpture, as well as a sound installation (with a light/visual component) and a collaborative performance piece.

Working primarily through abstraction across all media and disciplines embedded in his practice, Santipreecha’s work approaches the position of a spectator from all sides and at all scales. Painted, burned, sculpted, threaded, shellacked, played, and composed… the technical process of each work is a virtuosic performance of how a body continues to become beyond any given limits, between any momentary state.

Exhibition view, photo courtesy of Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

Spewing from the core of the earth at the same time as falling from some far celestial reach, Santipreecha’s work takes-place in the ashen form of a secreted, or secreted, catastrophe blistering at the bottom of a smoke-rimmed crater. At the beginning of a pre-history, or at the end of a history on the verge of erasure. Arriving after the massacre has already been cleaned-up, but hemorrhaged stains of faded blood still mark the place where a body once was. Like the light of the stars, the spectacle arrives long after the violent inferno: what is encountered is made serene by a sense of distance from disaster. We are safe now, and so the search for meaning begins: an interpretation of the whispers and thuds of ghosts.

But this search for meaning incites its own event. With each sound, site, cite, or sight marking a place we have already been without ever having gone there, the collected works perform a simultaneous movement into the past and the future by performing the act(s) of myth-making and myth-breaking in a single gesture: the cannibal cycle of the serpent devouring itself until there’s nothing to do but to begin eating all over again.

Gazing toward the largest work presented in the exhibition, a triptych titled “Three Elegies,” the archaeological layers of witnessing, uncovering, and interpreting the sense of catastrophe suggested by the work’s igneous surface of cement and shellac appears intimately tied to the artist’s quest for meaning between the limits of personal experience and the histories of others—and the borders of other places. This quest often occurs through fragmented conversations with modern philosophical, theoretical, musical, and literary works and figures looming on high in the Western canon. However, he approaches the mythological status of such texts/authors with a raw intimacy he finds with the suffering of these icons as lived individuals who exist at the margins despite their eventual historical or cultural centrality. Describing this aspect of his process with regard to “Three Elegies,” Santipreecha writes,

““Three Elegies” is a tangential reference to the works of one of my favorite poets, Edith Sitwell and her “Three Rustic Elegies.” I’ve been struck for a long time by those poems and had always wanted to engage in a kind of dialogue with them but always felt unable to directly. This triptych began as a contemplation on some similar themes as the poems as well as the stoicism many women including my mother maintain through harsh and abusive situations. It began too as a way of contemplating the war in Ukraine and the questioning of borders, hence the use of fragmented dropcloth worked over with various inks and dyes, gessos and shellac with shredded paper and being walked over for days.”

Exhibition view, photo courtesy of Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

This framing of universal events—or events occurring elsewhere but nonetheless shared as a public spectacle—through personal and domestic experience is a constant mode of contextualization and communication across all of the works. But the singularities and specific dialogues between materials and concepts are always unique to each work. With “Three Elegies,” the juxtaposition of different textures and the terrestrial grounding of cement against the ethereality of the other materials used (shellac, paint, paper, ash…) compose a somber and nearly monumental sense of reflective time. Though, despite the large scale of the works, a viewer arrives at these surfaces as worn tomes demanding to be read in private. Publicly visible, marked, and shared—but personally and privately framed, communicated, and transformed….

Exhibition view, photo courtesy of Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

The exhibition’s initial title, “Dandelye,” which is also the title of the artist’s recent solo album (2022), signals the speculative and spectral processes at the kernel of his metamorphic work. As an English spelling of a Thai translation of an English word (‘dandelion’), “Dandelye” disarticulates the act of transmission that occurs between Santipreecha’s alienated homeland and the English language (and new home) he inhabits. Although he was born in Thailand, English is his first-language. While English provides him with the opportunity to ravel himself in the far-reaching formations of an imperial lettered city, it also articulates a rift between the relations that form his personal identity and the originary placement that dictates his nationality. This slippery metamorphosis between languages and positions, between Thai and English, shapes an interstitial mother-tongue through the ventricular irregularity of an asymmetrical vernacular: being Thai and speaking English.

Saun Santipreecha in front of his paintings, photo courtesy of Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

This tension between ‘what is’ and ‘who does’ is extended and reiterated in the theatrically enunciated line “Beneath this River’s Tempo’d Time We Walk,” the lost title of a novel never fully realized. The first line contains a complex process finely composed in a fragile form set adrift; the second line remembers the imperial tendency to map the Vitruvian proportions of the human meter onto the apparent formlessness of what is already. The errant—but channeled—movement of a river versus the arithmetic timekeeping of a tempo. Performing this rift or cut with the mark of a dash (—), the title suggests a tension between the fragility of natural forms and the anthropomorphic pace imposed on the world by transforming matter into material or structure. Throughout Santipreecha’s work, something loss becomes something gained, and some end becomes some new beginning. An infinity evolves from an endless oscillation of translations, transformations, and permutations.
Set adrift along the waters of an apparition, a drunken boat finds the shore by the hallucinatory sight of a child’s sandcastle.

Exhibition Dates

Jul 01 – Jul 29, 2023


Reisig and Taylor Contemporary

2680 S. La Cienega Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90034


For more information, please visit:

About Artist

Saun Santipreecha is a multidisciplinary artist from Thailand who works in both visual and sound/music art. His artistic route in both disciplines began simultaneously, studying privately with two Thai Silpathorn Award recipients for Thai contemporary artists, visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat and classical pianist/composer Nat Yontararak amongst other tutors and mentors. In 2008 he moved to Los Angeles where he pursued a career working in music composition for film and collaborating with artists from multiple disciplines including fashion and video games while also creating solo music/sound projects including the recent “Dandelye,” before returning to visual art in 2022. 

His compositional work in film, TV, and fashion has been screened in over thirty film festivals worldwide including the Cannes Film Festival as well as in New York, Paris and LA Fashion Weeks. He has also worked in numerous capacities in the music department for a number of composers including John Debney, Danny Elfman, The Newton Brothers and Abel Korzeniowski.

He is currently based in Los Angeles, CA.

(text & photo courtesy of Saun Santipreecha & Reisig and Taylor Contemporary)

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