Thai artist Sakarin Krue-On failed miserably, or did he not?

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Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Published on: Wednesday May 3, 2017

Last updated

Introduction

In 2007 Thai artist Sakarin Krue-On attempted to transform the park in front of a castle in Kassel, Germany into a 7.000sqm terraced rice field. For this project Krue-On and his Thai team tried to dispense the use of machines as much as possible, while relying on traditional methods, using simple devices such as spades, forks and hooks.

Clash of cultures – Key element of this work

The clash of cultures, impressively shown through the contrast between Wilhelmshöhe Castle and the field, is a key element of this work: On the one hand the majestic piece of European architecture, symbolizing status and power, embodying Western provenance, and right beneath, Thai workers using ancient methods to cultivate rice fields. Terraced Rice Field can also be seen as a representation of growth and collaboration. Pulling off documenta 12’s biggest work, an art event that drew 754,000 paying visitors, required an immense amount of negotiation and communication, in which different working methods met in the planning process. This is another major component of the artwork: Collective cooperation in which traditional knowledge meets scientific expertise.

Conclusion

This site-specific project was the first time that wet rice open-air terraces were cultivated in outside fields in Germany. Unfortunately, the majority of the terraces couldn’t hold the water; regardless of what amount got added, it kept trickling away, and the work on the project ultimately got stopped due to security concerns. However, more importantly than successfully growing crops, Krue-On managed to bring together people from all walks to life, transcending barriers by working next to each other.

Photos

Kassel Schloss Wilhelmshoehe photo dontworry
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on -  Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12
Sakarin Krue-OnTerraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

Sakarin Krue-on - Terraced Rice Fields, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12 9
Sakarin Krue-On with photo of Terraced Rice Fields, rice field, ca. 7000sqm, Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel, Germany, documenta12, 2007

All photos courtesy of the artist Sakarin Krue-On/tangcontemporary.com unless otherwise noted.

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