GAP: a distinct to reality – A Showcase of Thai Contemporary Photography at DECK
Singapore, 5 November 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fri, 15 Nov 2019, 7pm — 9pm
Mr. Twekiat Janprajak
Charge d’ affaires, Royal Thai Embassy, Singapore
Sat, 16 Nov 2019, 3pm – 5pm
In the second edition of Crossing SEA, DECK presents a group exhibition on Thai contemporary photography. Curated by Ark Fongsmut, the exhibition features the works of four Thai photographers, Miti Ruangkritya, Piyatat Hemmatat, Surat Setsaeng, and Nat Bowornphatnon.
GAP: a distinct to reality focuses on the perception of present-day realities, questioning the extend reality could be presented by photographic images. The distance between the invisible and reality became a space of deliberation for the artists on the immediate circumstances and conditions of contemporary life in Thailand. Navigating through the overwhelming information prevalent in this age of the internet, the artists’ practices acutely translated the invisible (agricultural waste pollution in the provinces), the obscured (amendment of the Drugs & Narcotic Act), and the ignored (a painful unawareness of construction and traffic in Bangkok) into space for viewers to contemplate on the gap, and beyond what is visible.
Crossing SEA is a research-based exhibition and publication series initiated by DECK which examines the development of photographic practices in Southeast Asia. Curators from the region are invited to present new works on contemporary photography from their respective countries. In this edition, curator Ark Fongsmut presents contemporary issues in Thailand in a unique manner that transcends between grim reality and the beauty of the abstract.
Asked about the role of photography in today’s context, Fongsmut said that the duty of photography is not only to discover, but also to create. Photography’s role as a scientific instrument has changed to an instrument to create art, and this is one of the reasons why the selected artists’ works show almost abstract images.
The exhibition spans across two galleries at DECK. On the first level are works by Miti Ruangkritya and Nat Bowornphatnon. Miti’s paintings, Coloured dust and metallic particles, are made from industrial waste that have been processed into an almost ash-like form. The ashes were collected from a waste recycling centre in Thailand, which is currently home to a large amount of industrial waste from many developed nations. The abstract like traces are aimed at shedding light on these multi-national industries. On a similar note, Nat’s photographs in Shades of Grey (triptych), relates to his hometown in Chiangmai province where the problem of PM 2.5 has occurred for over the last 10 years. The images present the dark side and urgency of the problem by alluding to the invisible dangers of pollution.
On the second level of the exhibition, audiences will be treated to a multi-dimensional experience. In Somewhere Only We Know, artist Surat Setsaeng uses light boxes to present photographs of ordinary things in coincidental situations or instantaneous moments in everyday life, changing the appearance of the day-to-day into something much less familiar. Within the same space, Piyatat Hemmatat’s EDEN is a colourful visual experimentation to engage creatively and productively with the controversy-ridden debate on the therapeutic and recreational use of certain plant-derived narcotics.
GAP: a distinct to reality will allow visitors to revel in the allure of the abstract, at the same time question the origins of where and how the images are made, and as Fongsmut mentions, “to consider deeply regarding the subjects presented, or even find the subjects personal”. Local audiences may find relevance within the works in relation to what they experience in Singapore. The exhibition hopes for visitors to realise that these are not issues found only in Thailand but are in fact occurring all over the world.
The artist talk will be on 16 November, presented by the exhibition’s curator Ark Fongsmut, together with the four presenting artists who will discuss further about their practices.
More information about the exhibition can be found on our website: https://deck.sg/event/gap-a-distinct-to-reality/
About the Curator
Ark Fongsmut has been a curator at Bangkok University Gallery, Bangkok since 2000 and has produced many important exhibitions and initiations. With insight and experience in the field of contemporary Thai photography, Ark was appointed chief curator of the 2004 and 2006 Month of Photography – Bangkok, a major international photography exhibition, co-curator of the International Singapore Photography Festival 2008 and 2010, co-curator of the Singapore Biennale 2013, and curator of the Photo Bangkok 2015.
A vocal contributor to critical writings on contemporary Thai art, Ark has published many exhibition catalogues and books, including “Art Now,” his latest collections of art writings. He has also contributed to many publications, namely, Esquire (Thai Edition), MARS, and East Bridge, an online Korean art magazine. He received his MA in Fine Art Administration and Curatorship from Goldsmiths College, London, and his MA and BA in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
DECK is an independent art space launched in 2014 with the mission of supporting and nurturing the community of photography enthusiasts in Singapore and Southeast Asia. This modular site acts as a connector between art institutions and offers a platform for people to celebrate photography in the heart of Singapore. Driven by the belief that photography is for all, it welcomes professionals and amateurs to come together, mingle and be inspired. DECK is the organiser of the biennial Singapore International Photography Festival.