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Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness On View at OKCMOA

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Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness On View at OKCMOA
Installation view of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Serenity of Madness,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, United States (2018) Courtesy of: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Thailand-based contemporary multimedia artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul recently opened his new exhibition “The Serenity of Madness” at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The works on view are variant and are realized in mediums of: drawing, video installation, and short films. The exhibition opened on March 31 and will remain on view until June 10, 2018 and provides audiences in the midwest region the opportunity to view the rare works of impactful contemporary artist, and Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or award winning filmmaker. 

The works on view are variant and are realized in mediums of: drawing, video installation, and short films.

In addition to the exhibition, a screening series of “Strange Creatures: The Feature Films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul” will occur each Thursday throughout the month of May at the OKCMOA. The exhibition is curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, who is a collaborator of Weerasethakul’s; and the exhibition is produced by New York-based group Independent Curators International. “The Serenity of Madness” has been presented at several international venues to date, and will travel to other locations across the world after it’s time at the OKCMOA. Essential support for this exhibition came from the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where the exhibition was previously on view.

Installation view of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Serenity of Madness,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, United States (2018) Courtesy of: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

This solo exhibition showcases some of Weerasethakul’s less seen works, which include his early film pieces, among others. The positioning of all the works in the context of a single exhibition is a new and exciting framework to showcase the impact of Weerasethakul’s trajectory. Numerous visual and film works are on view to demonstrate the consistencies and evolution in his: process, thinking, and making. Some of the films on view include: “Mysterious Object At Noon” (1997-1999, released in 2000), “Blissfully Yours” (2002), and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010). In addition to the films, there are sketches for production, scripts, and others additional materials used for making the films which have since been in his archives.

Installation view of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Serenity of Madness,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, United States (2018) Courtesy of: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

The shifts in concern, and progressive focus on ideas moves the emphasis from visual explorations of lighting, and philosophical concerns of relation to space to more concrete explorations of what it is to be alive now in specific time and contexts.

There is variance in the messages being communicated dependent on the medium utilized. Through variant outputs, Weerasethakul is able to address a multiplicity of messages, concerns, and ideologies of now, among others. The exhibition is showcasing the duration of Weerasethakul’s career and explorations in the work that were central to him rather than editing works out for a more concise trajectory. What this affords viewers of his work is the opportunity to see a line of thought remain integral in all the works--but also evolve over time. The shifts in concern, and progressive focus on ideas moves the emphasis from visual explorations of lighting, and philosophical concerns of relation to space to more concrete explorations of what it is to be alive now in specific time and contexts. Through utilizing concerns in the early work with lighting and philosophical ideas, Weerasethakul blends all the components in his new works to deliver realities to his viewers.

Installation view of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Serenity of Madness,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, United States (2018) Courtesy of: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Of interest in the work for Weerasethakul is giving voice to people who may not have a one in Thailand due to a variety of factors including: illness, class, and ideology that differs from the norm and is marginalized of silenced as a direct result.

According to the OKCMOA release, there will also be on view “archival materials that explore threads of socio-political commentary. His passionate positions on class, labor, sexuality.” Overall the work is addressing the personal and the expansive contemporary experiences related to his experience of his country of origin, Thailand. Of interest in the work for Weerasethakul is giving voice to people who may not have a one in Thailand due to a variety of factors including: illness, class, and ideology that differs from the norm and is marginalized of silenced as a direct result. The work then becomes a catalyst that aims to move these ideas and messages both within and beyond the border of Thailand-- into international spaces where the ideas can live on through the viewers who engage with the works. And in Thailand, the ideas are spread through the medium of art; to inspire, communicate, and and share ideas.

Installation view of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Serenity of Madness,” Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, United States (2018) Courtesy of: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Addressing the duality between the personal and the more expansive public space in this work, Weerasethakul positions the audience to consider their own complex relationships to people and places in their lives.

The content of the work explores two distinct realities of Weerasethakul’s life. The first is the personal sphere, in which his family, friends and colleagues exist within. The second is a more abstract, interpretive space, in which the idea of public, collective space is addressed through poetic, metaphorical ideas of the spatial and spiritual, among others. Visually, this is achieved through working with light effects, and emphasizing the impact of experience on people as a way of knowing, or a research methodology. Through this process, an individual is able to navigate the spaces in which they live in. Addressing the duality between the personal and the more expansive public space in this work, Weerasethakul positions the audience to consider their own complex relationships to people and places in their lives. What are the details that make up the construction of what is perceived to be reality? In moving between the private and the public spheres, the exhibition title “The Serenity of Madness” comes to address the multiple frames of mind that must be embodied throughout everyday life.

For further information of scheduled events, including: educational programming, talks, among others, please refer to: https://www.okcmoa.com/visit/events/apichatpong-weerasethakul-serenity-madness/

 

 


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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