Facing page: The Guardian of the Studio. TwoSnakeStudio Bangkok 2012
Late in 2011 my partner, Yonola Viguerie (formerly of Vu and Magnum Galleries, Paris) and I took on two decrepit, long abandoned shop-houses on the edge of Bangkok's Chinatown.
We wanted a place where I could create elaborate installations that would compliment the mood of my works, as well as offering a place where we could exhibit other artists
With back-breaking help from two early stalwarts, Argentinian Tomas Cochello and American Matthew Soltesz, who by incredible coincidence, flew into Bangkok on the same day and who made the place their home for nigh on four months and South African Gareth Bright who threw himself heroically into the fray we became an invincible team, tearing down walls, putting up walls, tearing up concrete floors (and almost sinking into the liquid mire that oozed up threatening to suck everything down into Bangkok's underlying swamp), pouring concrete floors, painting, polishing, building, more building and not least of all, hanging.
Not to diminish the ever-present support of Justin and Moni Mills and the stellar and generous cameos played by Patrick de Noirmont, James Boddington, Jean-Sebastien Faure and, last but by no means least, Liam Morgan, who stepped up to the plate and threw in his weight for the monumental push, (with some really dodgy electrics I should add; my hand still twitches) to ready the studio for our 'Burma' installation.
Life-long friendships were forged under that roof.
But I almost forget, the endless task of hauling a three-headed, seventy kilogramme bronze elephant with sadistic tusks up and down countless precarious, banister-less stairs in a Sisyphian search for its perfect resting place; something of a rite of passage for anyone wanting to claim they were 'there' at the beginning. We're still looking for a resting place for it. Just waiting for someone to help us move it.
TwoSnakeStudio morphed organically into an insouciant space with a 'speakeasy' feel to it; one that eschewed the vacuous, in-vogue-fashion of 'galleries' and their pretentious, self-congratulatory, 'in-crowd' airs.
It was a place where egos were left at the door, camaraderie reigned and the works spoke for themselves; a labour of love rarely even imagined in that sprawling Megapolis.
Philip Blenkinsop in conversation
with the ABC's Janak Rogers
in the TwoSnakeStudio 2012.