Apichatpong Weerasethakul "Replicas"

SCAI The Bathhouse

poster for Apichatpong Weerasethakul "Replicas"

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Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in 1970 in Bangkok, Thailand. After obtaining a first degree in architecture in Thailand, he studied fine arts and filmmaking in Chicago. He started to make film and video shorts in America in the early 1990s, and then established a studio company, Kick the Machine, in his native Thailand in 1999. Feature movies directed by Apichatpong have been selected for or won awards at many film festivals, and he is also active in the field of art, with his video installations and other works attracting great acclaim at major international exhibitions.

Apichatpong sets his films in Thailand, and many feature ordinary people rather than professional actors. Utilizing simple plots originating in notes about everyday emotions or events, or based on the advice of fortune-tellers, the films are put together in an improvised manner from inspirations and reactions found in the dialog and the lives of the subjects. They develop through the interaction of many different things, capturing the immediacy of the real world and the freshness of unrefined rhythms and tones. Their distinctive, completely natural feel somehow conveys the atmosphere of Thailand, and is perhaps a manifestation of the people’s spirituality, which has its foundation in devout faith and in allegiance to the King who has continued to rule as his country's economy grows. Some of Apichatpong's works are split into two coexisting parts with an ambiguous and slowly revealed relationship between the first part and the second part. These movies share with Apichatpong's other works the characteristic of not proceeding along a unidirectional timeline. The narrative develops on the basis of his own senses and emotions, and the focus of these video installations falls onto abstract matters. The viewer's experience becomes more physical and has a greater sense of volume.

The main exhibit in this solo exhibition at SCAI the Bathhouse is the video installation Unknown Forces, together with some photographic works and sketches that give insights into Apichatpong’s thought processes. Unknown Forces has its origin in the political turmoil of 2006, and utilizes the motif of a pickup truck carrying around the day laborers who work at the lowest level of Thai society. The four-channel video depicts events on and around the stage provided by the back of the truck, moving around from construction site to construction site, and hints at the powerlessness of the physical laborers, who are sometimes drafted into demonstrations and marches regardless of their political beliefs. Questioning the idea that ignorance is bliss, the lyrical video brings clarity to the blurred situation of Thailand.

[Image: "Unknown Forces" (2007) (c) Apichatpong Weerasethakul]

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Schedule

From 2008-01-09 To 2008-01-26

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Darryl Jingwen Wee tablog review

Shuttling Around

Apitchatpong Weerasethakul's subjects act out - or find themselves acted upon by - unseen forces in a politically turbulent time.

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