This show is the New York debut for Top Changtrakul, a promising young artist from Thailand. The show features a large wooden hut filled with low-tech gadgetry of blinking lights and buzzing metal parts. The structure, which was imported from Thailand, looks like it could be the work shed of a mad scientist. Nearby, a video monitor resting on its side shows a hilarious black-and-white film in which police raid the same hut situated in a rural setting outside Bangkok; the police confiscate the absurd-looking gadgets and arrest the renegade inventor.
Another work in the show is a large, freestanding board covered with tiny colored lights that seem to indicate locations on a map. Lining one wall, numerous photos and other documentary material describe more of the artist's wacky pseudo-scientific projects. A blanket placed on the floor is covered with small whirling and blinking machines accompanied by humorous notes explaining their use and meaning.
Through all of this emerges an intense and rather maniacal personality. The artist may not physically appear in the room, but Changtrakul has invented a compelling character who is ever-present in the show.
"Top Changtrakul: Recent Inventions II," Mar. 8-Apr. 7, 2001, at Lance Fung, 537 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012.
DAVID EBONY is associate managing editor of Art in America.