Tawatchai Puntusuwasdi


Tawatchai Puntusawasdi dedicated three years to exploring the dimensions of Earth’s shadow, probing the rationale and assumptions that shape the theory of spheres in distorted dimensions. The genesis of his artistic journey can be traced back to the creation of “Earth’s Shadow at 3 pm” in 2010, where he initially conceived the idea of Earth’s shadow based on the world’s spherical form. Prompted by the question, “If the Earth’s core is distorted, what shape would the Earth take? What would its shadow look like?”

Driven by curiosity, Tawatchai embarked on a quest to determine the proportions of a sphere along the X and Y axes when subjected to distortion. Within this transformation, an intriguing challenge emerged. Tawatchai adhered to the “invariant” principles of numbers and calculation as guiding forces, directing the placement of points, lines, and degrees within this new, distorted sphere. Iteratively altering and reducing the proportion of symmetry scale at a 1:1 ratio, he meticulously crafted a sketch of the novel and distorted sphere on paper.

Inspired by his distinctive concept, Tawatchai manifested the image of Earth’s “shadow” leaning logically towards the Earth, creating a two-dimensional representation that intertwined the Earth’s shape with its shadow. Expanding his imaginative exploration, he envisioned that the shadows cast on celestial bodies, visible from a distance as flat and dark, possess their own dimensions, curvature, and depth corresponding to the shape of the respective planet. This led to the transformation of the shadow’s shape from the initial sketch of ‘Earth’s Shadow at 3 p.m.’ into the three-dimensional sculpture Haumea, standing over 2 meters tall. Constructed by assembling thousands of metal sheets with diverse shapes, Tawatchai meticulously arranged and defined the degrees of each metal piece in advance, culminating in a perfectly distorted sphere.

Tawatchai’s sculpture may not convey emotion overtly, but it encapsulates his thought process and perspective on the state of objects, reality, and the potential for shaping them through calculation. He emphasizes the transformative capacity of objects by turning flat dimensions into larger, more complex shapes or by bringing their sides or corners together. The resulting internal space is filled with air, while the external form is shaped by this meticulous thinking, design, and creative process.

While the concept of object transformation is not new, Tawatchai’s unique approach involves leaving his “thinking result” in the form of equations, numbers, and proportions meticulously calculated on paper. This guiding principle ensures the “invariant” nature of his artworks, allowing for potential adjustments in size while preserving the integrity of his creative vision. Tawatchai’s artistic interests extend beyond the mere creation of shapes. Infusing his sculptures with artistic aesthetics, imagination, and an appreciation for beauty, he introduces an element of uncertainty into the audience’s perspective. The distorted degree and seemingly unstable placement of the sculpture on the ground evoke curiosity and uncertainty, contributing to the overall appeal of the artwork.

This work was acquired by the M Art Foundation and donated to the Singapore Art Museum.

Tawatchai Puntusawasdi (b. 1971, Thailand) has come to be known for his refined and elegant sculptures that skew and distort recognizable forms, evoking in audiences a heightened experience of the spaces they inhabit. Beyond a melding of his mathematical mind and painstaking craftsmanship, his work also communicates the artist’s own ruminations on the limitations of human perception – our predominant means of apprehending reality. Puntusawasdi offers up a nuanced worldview underscored by the revelation that perspective is always relative to position, and perception is always rooted in circumstance. Tawatchai Puntusawasdi pursued his art education at Chiang Mai University (BFA), and then Silpakorn University (MFA). Puntusawasdi has exhibited locally in Thailand (National Art Gallery, 2007; Chiang Mai Art Museum, 2001), as well as internationally in countries such as: Singapore (ArtScience Museum, 2018; ADM Gallery, NTU, 2016; Esplanade Concourse, 2008); France (Morisot Foundation, 2007); Taiwan (Soka Art Space, 2008 and Shihmen Reservoir, 2004); Japan (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2007); Germany (Artswitcher Kunstwerks, 2000); and Sweden (Edsvik Konst och Kultur, 1999). In addition, he has participated in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Jakarta Biennale 2009, Biennale of Sydney 2006, and the 50th Venice Biennale. He has twice been the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. He lives and works in Chiang Mai.