Art and culture

Goldie opens Bangkok gallery to showcase street art from around world

Enigmatic British musician-cum-artist Goldie launched a gallery in Bangkok on July 4. Showcasing contemporary, urban, and street art from around the world, the gallery is located in an up-and-coming neighbourhood of the Thai capital

Gaspar Ruiz-Canela/EFE-EPA
July 4, 2020
Goldie opens Bangkok gallery to showcase street art from around world
British artist and musician Goldie speaks to media at the Aurum Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand on 30 June. Photo: EFE-EPA/Narong Sangnak

He has been a musician, DJ, acclaimed graffiti artist, and has acted in James Bond movies. Now the multifaceted Brit, popularly known as Goldie, has launched a gallery in Bangkok that showcases contemporary, urban, and street art from around the world.

But why Bangkok? Because the city of angels “reminds me of Barcelona or New York in the 1980s”, Goldie says.

More than 40 works, which include a “post-neo-cubism” portrait of Picasso by Spanish artist Belin and an androgynous painting modeled on David Bowie by Goldie, are on display in the first exhibition at his urban art gallery, called “Aurum”, which means gold in Latin.

Located in an up-and-coming neighbourhood of the Thai capital, the gallery opened its doors on July 4.

Some of the world’s most influential artists are joining Goldie in exhibiting and selling their art at Aurum Gallery. These include Vhils, Belin, Saturno, Ben Eine, Odeith, Bio, and Crash.

The gallery will not only exhibit the work of internationally-acclaimed artists but also hopes to unearth and celebrate a growing and exciting pool of local and regional talent such as P7, Benzilla, Jecks, and Wal Chirachaisakul.

Goldie, 54, a counterculture and electronic music legend, spoke to EFE with passion and admiration for the work of the artists.

“Do you know what I love about Belin? Even after all these years, this guy, how he captures the eyes? It’s fascinating,” Goldie told EFE while he went over the works of the artist, also known as Miguel Angel Belinchon (Linares,1979).

“He’s been called the new Picasso, Belin. And I think rightfully so. For me, what he is doing with the human face and eyes and all that is incredible … a portrait of Picasso is ironically good,” said Goldie, who was born as Clifford Joseph Priceque.

Being here in Bangkok, its a hub, its a beautiful hub, it reminds me of Barcelona or New York in the 80s

On a wall of the gallery, a subway coach painted in gold showcases a graffiti.

Goldie said the New York subway was like the internet where everyone could see the message of the graffiti.

The British artist said his friend David Bowie used to tell him that he should create in a visceral and transgressor manner, without paying attention to what others would say.

Goldie said he worked with a transgender model to paint a portrait the emulates the iconic image of Bowie on his Aladdin Sane album cover, where he pictures with a lightning bolt painted on his face.

Aurum is located in Warehouse 30, an old warehouse by the river in a locality that has turned into Bangkok’s creative district next to the Portuguese Embassy.

Goldie, who moved to Thailand in 2015 in search of peace, said he decided to open the gallery on the insistence of his friends from the art world so that he could perceive the artistic and cultural potential of Bangkok.

“Being here in Bangkok, its a hub, its a beautiful hub, it reminds me of Barcelona or New York in the 80s … Thai art, more murals on walls outside interacting with the architecture of the city, it’s already kind of happening, you know,” Goldie said.

Goldie said the pandemic had been a major obstacle but he was used to struggles as he recalled the times he used to spend cold nights at the doors of the clubs with his album until he was given his first opportunity.

Fueled by the electronic beats of his music, Goldie flashed his gold teeth as he smiled with admiration for the work of Whils, artistic name of Alexandr Manuel Dias Farto.

The Portuguese artist sculpts faces on old wooden doors and creates female faces in several layers that make up the street murals.

“He cuts through the layers, going deep into the layers, like discovering fossils, you know. I think it’s a very beautiful technique,” said the artist who was born to a Jamaican father and a Scottish mother.

After being abandoned by his parents, he grew up in orphanages. He reached the top in the electronic music genre with albums such as “Timeless”.

He has also appeared in movies such as, “The World Is Not Enough,” of the James Bond series and “Snatch”, directed by Guy Ritchie.

During his craziest years, Goldie would hang out with Noel Gallagher, guitarist, and composer of Oasis. He dated Naomi Campbell and Björk.

However, Goldie does not like it when he is told that he has been lucky in life as he believes that he has been persistent and has seized the opportunities through music and art where he shows his soul in an “honest” manner.

“What art is for me is about venting my trauma … My life as an artist. I’ve always used art and music to save my anxiety, to stop me from killing myself,” said the artist, who suffered sexual abuse between the ages 10 and 12 at the hands of an older girl.

“I felt different as a kid. I felt I didn’t belong in this conventional world. And I never had a normal job in my life. I believed in what I believed in when no one else did,” Goldie said.


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