Thailand based contemporary artist Rook Floro creates sculpture and installations that have a confrontational way of provoking questions of desire, repression, fear and inhibition.
Abjection is an important part of Floro’s vocabulary, in the sense that it is self-revelatory, and spurs self-examination, as well as simultaneously challenging societal stigmas about suffering and mental illness. Various series feature alter egos, representing in a sense the complexity of the human spirit, a more symbiotic understanding of our psychological make up, not always irreducible to categories. The artist also confronts concepts of normalcy and the aberrant.
Reminding me of the grandeur and strangeness of Matthew Barney but with a completely different sensibility, most of the sculpture has a certain sense of ostentatious monumentalism: it is oversized, dramatic and often either brightly colored or darkly gothic.
And yet it has the capacity to shatter the mind, bearing the marks and embodiment of an almost painful intimacy, a telling of secrets.
Driven to liberate the repressed side of self, Floro has further developed the series Voluptuous while working as artist in residence, La Rochelle, France.
This group of sculptures features eruptions of painterly colour with plastic female bodies. Made mostly of glue, silicone and Polyurethane, this strangely pop infused neo-Koons sculptures are associated with the artist’s alter Blastard:
He’s another version of me, the more outgoing, sexual, fun, and colorful me. Each project of mine features different alter egos representing various sides of me. Right now, I am trying to liberate “Blastard” because he makes me happy and he does not come out very often. He’s held back by my fear and obstacles that I created for myself.
The other completely different series is Anxiety. Formally, these works have overtures of Canadian artist David Altjemd’s monumental sculptures, specifically in the dark figures of birds. These creatures made of fiberglass and silicones represent the artist’s battle with social anxiety. The dense woven like pattern, nocturnal color and self contained figure sits, evoking a sense of entrapment, and the suffering of those with a troubled mind. The series functions not only as a catharsis of sort for the artist, but also intends to engage viewers may face similar struggles, and includes performative elements as well.
RB: Anxiety is a very powerful series, it is very dark in mood, and there is a sort of sense of dread that is very well communicated. I understand it is an expression of your social anxiety. Can you tell me more about how you came to make this series, and why? How did you make the sculpture?
RF: Social anxiety has been a curse to my existence. It affects everything in my life and since I have it slightly under control, it was about time to express it artistically.
RB: We all have a Corvus, how did you become so brave to tell your story?
I always draw inspiration for my personal life. I look inward, explore myself as a human being, and find much questionable subject matter. I was terrified to tell a story about Corvus. I am a private person and sharing this story is uncomfortable but it is also a way to confront myself, which is good for me. Furthermore, it’s very important to be honest with what I want to express with no regrets.
Floro’s visceral, raw and courageous work is performative no doubt, but is rather about something quite hidden…something deeply personal, even painful and takes a certain amount of bravery to make, exhibit and even to contemplate.
Watch Film: Rook Floro, Solo Exhibit, Metamorphosis of Flux, Filmed + Edited by Phatthi Buntuwanich + Music by Albert Vanichsombat, 2015
More of the artist’s work may be viewed here: