Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Delicate Shell of Self
Delicate Shell of Self

Delicate Shell of Self was part of Utai’s first exhibition, “Only Appearance” (2007). The piece resembles a human figure meditating cross-legged. Sculpted to be solid and geometric outside, but hollow inside, the sculpture appears to reference a famous verse from the Buddhist Heart Sutra:

“Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” Though the self may appear solid and fixed, it is only a shell that contains a self that is permeable, fluid, and impermanent. Facing the life-size sculpture, viewers may wonder: “What is it that constitutes the self?”

Teak wood sculpture
235 x 153 x 83 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Utai Nopsiri
About Utai Nopsiri

Born in 1970 in Chachoengsao, Thailand, Utai initially studied painting at Silpakorn University. After developing an interest in the illusionary effects of dimensions and distance, Utai began working more heavily in sculpture. His work largely consists of abstract wooden sculptures that he painstakingly handcrafts without electrical tools. Influenced by Buddhist and Taoist philosophies, Utai frequently explores themes of emptiness, perception, and impermanence in his artworks. He has exhibited widely and received a number of accolades, including the third prize in sculpture at the 51st National Exhibit of Art in Bangkok (2005), and the second prize and Krung Thai Bank Award at the 52nd National Exhibition of Art in Bangkok (2006).