Curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong
Featuring Apichatpong Weerasethakul
On view March 31–June 10, 2018
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness, a solo exhibition produced by Independent Curators International, will be on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art from March 31 through June 10, 2018. A leading figure in contemporary film and art, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has developed a singular realist-surrealist style in which he portrays the everyday alongside supernatural elements, suggesting a distortion between fact and folklore, the subconscious and the exposed, and various disparities of power. The artist’s passionate positions regarding class, labor, sexuality, science, and spirituality have informed his practice from early in his career to the present, and 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.
Curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madnessuniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, drawings, sketches, and archival material that explore threads of sociopolitical commentary. In tandem with the exhibition, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art will present a retrospective of the director’s theatrical releases in its Samuel Roberts Noble Theater. The exhibition will also feature a special opening event for the Museum’s recently launched Film Society.
“The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is thrilled to be hosting Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness,” says Michael J. Anderson, PhD, the Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs. “For us, there is no more exciting figure in the visual arts today, from the thoughtful and very approachable explorations of myth, class, and sexuality that mark his video work and gallery installations to his award-winning, feature-length art cinema, which we will be presenting in our state-of-the-art Samuel Roberts Noble Theater. We cannot think of a more perfect artist to feature in the Museum’s first-ever video-art survey exhibition.”
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 by the generous support of MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand; the ICI International Forum; and the ICI Board of Trustees.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970, Bangkok) was raised in the northeastern Thai city of Khon Kaen. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent filmmaking through his company Kick the Machine, which he founded in 1999. He founded the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival with Gridthiya Gaweewong in 1997, and presented it three more times through 2008. His work has been presented widely in art and film contexts internationally, including at the Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2013); Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2006); the Busan Biennale, Korea (2004); and the Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2001); and in solo and group exhibitions at art spaces including Haus der Kunst, Munich; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the New Museum, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Weerasethakul’s 2010 film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, won the Palme d’Or at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. His other feature films include Cemetery of Splendour (2015), Syndromes and a Century (2006), Tropical Malady (2004), The Adventures of Iron Pussy (2003), Blissfully Yours (2002), and Mysterious Object at Noon (2000).
The founder of the arts organization Project 304, Gridthiya Gaweewong is currently Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok. Her curatorial projects have addressed issues of social transformation confronting artists from Thailand and beyond since the Cold War. Gaweewong has organized exhibitions and events including Under Construction, Tokyo (2000–2002); Politics of Fun, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2005); the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival (with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 1997–2007); Saigon Open City, Vietnam (with Rirkrit Tiravanija, 2006–2007); and Unreal Asia, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany (2010).
In conjunction with the exhibition, ICI has published 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 from 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, which he likens to “a stream of consciousness, suffocated by data.”
Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, publications, research, and training opportunities for curators and diverse audiences around the world. Established in 1975 and headquartered in New York, ICI is a hub that connects emerging and established curators, artists, and art spaces, forging international networks and generating new forms of collaborations. ICI provides access to the people and practices that are key to current developments in the field, inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art.