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Pratchaya Phinthong: Extended Release

Solo exhibition by Pratchata Phinthong
Silpakorn University Art Center, Bangkok
Until May 15, 2021

Upon the invitation of the Silpakorn University Art Center to do an exhibition after its renovation, Pratchaya Phinthong responded by entering in dialogue with the place, its history and its symbols, using the process of renovation itself. The building being a protected monument, no hanging or piercing can be done on its walls. In response to this constraint, the artist was present during construction works in order to film the artisans throughout their process. From this experience, Phinthong produced a video later transferred to film, and captured the dust from the sanding of wood by placing blank canvases in different places in the exhibition halls throughout the renovations. About fifty small spheres, a mixture of dust and marihuana seeds, punctuate the general composition.

The film shows men working inside the vibrating space. The dust gives shape to abstract canvases that act like imprints of an ethereal presence, acting as a double to the architecture, or as a decor turned inside out. Through the artist’s intervention, memory comes alive and can play its role in the present. The building and the exhibition become one. The history of the building is inside the exhibit. The elements of the exhibition are the building. And so the visitor becomes part of an immersive experience at the heart of which is a chain of transformations of materials, contexts and consciousness.

The artist offers an initiatory journey made of back and forth movements between the past and the present. The gesture of excavation, both literally and figuratively, turns into a freeze frame, becoming a space that the visitor can browse in a perceptual and sensitive way. As a backdrop, monarchical power, opium trafficking and the sacred image of the Buddha loom, introducing layers that complexify the reading of the space.

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