Mathieu Merlet Briand

Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021

Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital


Mathieu Merlet Briand, Installation, 2021-22
Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021, commission.

Rajamangala University of Technology Isan
Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District
Open Daily : 9.00 - 17.00 | Free Entrance 

Printed plexiglass, metal structure, white stones, black ebony tree.
Sculpture dimension : H480 x 300 x 300 cm | Tree H480 cm.
Production : Supernormal studio.
Photo © Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021.

Located in a semi-open space, bathed in natural light, on the fourth floor at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, French artist Mathieu Merlet Briand’s installation, NEW NATURE, ERODED #MINERAL SCULPTURE & TREE consists of a tree and a semi-transparent monumental sculpture. The work is an orthogonal metal structure with multilayers of printed plexiglass. This imposing manufactured sculpture appears almost virtual as emerging from the ground or in the process of collapsing into it. By their transparency and patterns, the surfaces of the sculpture come alive in visual moiré according to the sunlight and the viewer’s vantage points as they movements around it.

The image on the surfaces comes from a process of recycling images and digital information that Mathieu Merlet Briand continues in the NEW NATURE series, 2018. He seeks to represent the ‘Internet’ as a new ‘natural’ element of our contemporary environment, a new organ of our post-human body. The installation was created especially for the biennial. It was produced in collaboration with local coordinators and workshops around Korat City. The work symbolically invites visitors to question the relationship between nature and technologies.

Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021
December 18, 2021 – March 31, 2022


Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital, the theme for Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021 is a proposal and a practice, primarily focusing on the ecologies specific to this region. These ‘ecologies’ do not refer only to natural environments: they also encompass an entire array of elements that surround us. Instead of a critique of current global capitalism, the proper practical role of art today ought to create a new ‘sensible’ capital focusing on a system of engendering, by leveraging its open, transversal nature.

This idea of the new capital is inspired by the theory of ‘social common capital’ by Dr. Hirofumi Uzawa (mathematical economist). It enriches people’s lives in both material and spiritual terms. In order to maintain social stability, it has recourse to three forms of capital: natural environment, social infrastructure, and institutional capital. These types of capital must be regulated and facilitated by professional experts and there needs to be a sense of fiduciary responsibility that respects the interests of the trustees.

The second Thailand Biennale seeks to discover the latent potential and value of various sites of ‘institutional capital,’ including hospitals, universities, temples, museums, zoos, parks, and communities of ceramic or silk production, in line with this idea of a single, fiduciary trust. It is an attempt to implement a practice that will visualize and enhance this process, in collaboration with artists, architects, scientists, anthropologists, and other domain experts.

Past spring, there was a massive outbreak of beautiful butterflies with white and yellow-green wings because COVID-19 has reduced the movement of people and restored nature. The butterflies were happily fluttering around in the mud. It is well known that butterflies paddle on the mud to detoxify and rehydrate. Similarly, we are trying to figure out what is going on around us now and what we can do in the uncertain future. The title Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud expresses our miserable but courageous state. It indicates the “capital” of hope that emerges from the midst of anxiety and uncertainty.

Yuko Hasegawa.


The Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Thailand Ministry of Culture (OCAC)

Artistic Director:

Yuko Hasegawa


Seiha Kurosawa, Vipash Purichanont and Tawatchai Somkong. 

Artist List: 
Akras Pornkajornkijkul, Thailand / Alongkorn Lauwatthana and Homesawan Umansap, Thailand / Atacama Desert Foundation, Chile / Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF), Brazil / Bianca Bondi, South Africa / Boonserm Premthada, Thailand / Charlotte Dumas, Netherlands / Chris Huen Sin-kan, Hong Kong / Chuang Liu, China / David OReilly, Ireland / Elias Sime, Ethiopia / Federico Herrero, Costa Rica / Giacomo Zaganelli, Italy / Gohar Dashti, Iran / Haroon Mirza, United Kingdom / Herwig Scherabon, Austria / Hicham Berrada, Morocco / Jan Fabre, Belgium / John Gerrard, Ireland / Junya Ishigami, Japan / Keiken, United Kingdom / Koichi Sato and Hideki Umezawa, Japan / Krit Ngamsom, Thailand / Kwanchai Lichaikul, Thailand / Make or Break, Australia / Mathieu Merlet Briand, France / Maxwell Alexandre, Brazil / Min Tanaka, Japan / Mio Suzuki, Japan / Montien Boonma, Thailand / Ngoc Nau, Vietnam / Nile Koetting, Japan / Olafur Eliasson, Denmark / PHKA Studio, Thailand / PNAT, Italy / Pomme Chan, Thailand / Prasit Wichaya, Thailand / Rinko Kawauchi, Japan / Rudee Tancharoen, Thailand / Sandra Cinto, Brazil / Sema Thai, Thailand / Shilpa Gupta, India / Sim Chi Yin, Singapore / Slowstitch Studio, Thailand / Som Supaparinya, Thailand / SUPERFLEX, Denmark / Tsuyoshi Tane, Japan / Uriel Orlow, United Kingdom/Switzerland / Yang Fudong, China / YANTOR, Japan / Yanyun Chen, Singapore / Yllang Montenegro, Philippines / Zai Tang, Singapore

My work selected to represent the Biennale on the official website.

Articles on

October 1, 2021
Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital - Announcements

August 30, 2021
Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021: Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital - Announcements

May 26, 2021
Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital - Announcements

July 14, 2020
Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021 - Announcements

Nov. 2022


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