Born in 1971 Navin Rawanchaikul is a Thai artist with Japanese permanent resident status whose ancestral roots are in Hindu-Punjabi communities of what is now Pakistan. He has developed a unique and vast body of works that rely heavily on team spirit and collaboration, and are most often produced under the auspices of Navin Production Co., Ltd. His artistic development began with works rooted in his local community of Chiang Mai, however, as he embarked on more and more international presentations of his work he started to engage in a process of exploring the negotiation between local circumstances and trends of globalisation. Following this path Navin has become internationally renowned for a dynamic oeuvre of participatory, site-specific projects that include direct community interventions, social commentary and an innovative style of integrating community or individual experiences into eccentric fictional tales. His works include is an array of installations, films, performances, comic books, games, cocktails, mobile galleries and painted cars. Rawanchaikul has participated in numerous biennales and triennales and held solo exhibitions at prestigious institutions including Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, and New York’s PS1 Contemporary Art Center.
Having begun his career in 1992 Rawanchaikul and his company Navin Production Co., Ltd. have produced a number of ambitious projects both independently and in collaboration with others. Some of the better known projects include:
Navin Gallery Bangkok Run from 1995 to 1998 Navin Gallery Bangkok was a project whereby collaborating with a local taxi driver the artist converted a taxi into an art gallery and invited artists from Thailand and around the world to exhibit. Participating artists included: Masato Nakamura (the artist not the bassist), Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kosit Juntaratip & Lilly Ovary, Khrua In Khong in collaboration with Suttisak Phutararak, and Yutaka Sone.
Taximan A series of taxi projects featuring a one meter tall superhero from Taxi planet who came to the earth in 1999 and finds himself in a transnational quest to save the world from the absurd villain: Millennium Man. In the summer of 2001, on the invitation of the Public Art Fund and the PS1 Contemporary Art Center Taximan came to New York City with the project I Love Taxi. Taxi Cafes were set up in Madison Square Park and PS1 and rather than saving the world from impending doom, this time Taximan came New York on a soul searching trip where he learns about life and himself in his happenstance encounters with New York taxi drivers.