A leading figure in contemporary film and art, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has developed a singular realist-surrealist style in which the portrayal of the everyday alongside supernatural elements suggests a distortion between fact and folklore, the subconscious and the exposed, and various disparities of power. His work reveals stories often excluded in history in and out of Thailand: voices of the poor and the ill, marginalized beings, and those silenced and censored for personal and political reasons.
This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely-seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches, and archival materials that explore threads of socio-political commentary which has continually guided his practice. His passionate positions regarding class, labor, sexuality, and spirituality paint a portrait of an artist concerned with ethics, power, science, and liberation in equal measures. The Serenity of Madness is structured into distinct sections: one corresponds to his private world, peopled with beloved friends, family, and long-time collaborators; another takes up the public sphere but with a more abstract dimension of experience, utilizing light, memory, and the poetics of temporal, spatial and spiritual displacement. The survey culminates with a selection of recent work addressing the social reality in his homeland.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness is a traveling exhibition curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support from MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai; the ICI Board of Trustees and ICI’s International Forum.
In conjunction with the exhibition, ICI will publish Apichatpong Weerasethakul Sourcebook: The Serenity of Madness. The Sourcebook series is dedicated to contemporary artists’ personal perspectives on social, political, and cultural issues. Each book, edited by a single artist, includes a collection of primary research materials and influences, such as rare archival documents, artwork studies, and excerpts of landmark publications, selected from the artist’s own archive and annotated with personal commentary. The Apichatpong Weerasethakul Sourcebook invites readers into Weerasethakul’s intimate exploration of his influences—in his words, “like a stream of consciousness, suffocated by data.”