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Nipan Oranniwesna

nonexistent bodies are spherical, 2019

Two curved steel circles with engraved ‘Lao Phaen’lyrics, in the Thai and Lao language, 65 cm diameter

Mercury ball, (Permanent collection of the National Museum Bangkok) removed from Issares Rajanusorn Mansion to be displayed at Issara Winitchai Throne Hall, Museum’s glass display vitrine. 

Glass blowing and grinding (Reproduction of the Mercury ball)  size 23.7 x 23.7 x 48.4 cm displayed at Issares Rajanusorn Mansion, National Museum Bangkok


Nipan’s interest in the stories of the site as a museum, and directly from a specific object that takes in its history: the Mercury ball (Permanent collection of the National Museum) was reproduced and replaces the original object which will be removed from Issares Rajanusorn Mansion to be displayed in the exhibition space, Issara Winitchai Throne Hall. The appearance and believed function taken from the Mercury ball, reflects the condition and perception between visitors and the artifacts. The gazing authorisation given for both visitors and the artifacts  reflects on the metaphorical implication of different aspects of historical understanding. The Mercury ball presented creates a dialogue with two curved steel circles with engraved ‘Lao Phaen' lyrics, in the Thai and Lao language. Lao Phaen, an unknown author’s song, talking upon the life of Laotians in Thailand during the reign of King Rama III, allowing the possibility of the story to be told and read. The two objects reflect the relationship of the perceived accessibility of different objects, a different story within a place with specific perceptions. 


Nipan Oranniwesna (b.1962) Nipan works with various social aspects and historical research through the work that accentuates relationship analysis between human and territory in both psychical and conceptual ideas. Nipan’s mediums range from painting, sculpture, mixed media, site-specific installation, photography and video works. His practice delves into personal and collective memories, dealing poetically with spaces, urban cartography and the geo-body of nation/state. Nipan is appreciated for his unmistakably distilled and contemplative installations that deal with concepts of home, identity, and displacement. He deals with the perception of the viewer and the space between people and his artwork.


_ Mercury ball, sometimes called a gazing ball or butler's ball used for decorating the dining room, the butler would glance at it to see if anything was needed for guests who were dining instead  of looking directly at them, which was bad manners. The Mercury ball was believed to have begun being produced during the 13th century, made from glass covered with mercury, similar to a mirror and was popular in Europe during the 19th - 20th century. Apart from decorating the dinning room, it was used to decorate other areas such as the garden. This Mercury ball is believed to have been a tribute from a European King to King Pinklao. source: Disapong Netlomwong, Senior Curator, Office of National Museum