How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock

In 1985, Apinan produced a large-scale installation he titled How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock that occupied the main gallery spaces of the Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art. This was one of the earliest instances of video installation to be exhibited in Bangkok at the time. The entire installation consisted of mixed media works, with the most prominent arena consisting of a wall of crates painted with distorted images of Mona Lisa, accompanied by live chicks, chickens and turkeys in an enclosed pen. Riffing off the title of Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Art to a Dead Hare, Apinan’s artwork took an anti-institutional, nihilistic stance that that manifested as a sprawling, multi-media exhibition. Response by many visitors at the time was surprise, shock and outrage. Despite the supposed provocation, How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock and Metamorphosis of Mona Lisa would go on to win two medals at National Exhibition of Art in the same year. It was Blue Laughter that followed in 1986-87 shown at Herbert Johnson Museum, Cornell University and the National Gallery of Art, Bangkok which expanded on deconstruction of modern Western art history. Works by Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Nam June Paik, Yves Klein, Robert Smithson and Bruce Nauman were inspirational and appropriated.