MAIELIE invites all to attend the “A Minor History'' an exhibition by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the internationally acclaimed artist and film director, whose works revolve around personal memories that touch on politics, social issues, and dislocation.
“A Minor History” features a collection of video installations and photographs, and was first exhibited at the 100 Tonson Foundation in Bangkok under the curation of Manuporn Luengaram. The original exhibition was divided into two parts: “A Minor History” and “Beautiful Things”, which were presented consecutively from 2021 to 2022. For this latest rendition at MAIELIE, the artist has chosen to present both parts of the exhibition together, along with some of his past works to channel a sense of combined memories, especially those of water, shadows, and dreams. Apichatpong himself grew up in Khon Kaen, and as such, this exhibition serves as a homecoming journey that reflects the root of his inspiration over the years.
The “History” in the exhibition title not only refers to the political memories of the land, but also the artist’s personal recollections through his industrious image-making practice. His work acts like a journal that combines a documentary method (fabricated or otherwise), oral history, local folklore, and dreams, interjecting them with the official national narrative. Oftentimes, it offers a reflective universe that runs parallel to the tragedies and violence perpetrated by the state. Several pieces in the exhibition are developed from Apichatpong’s trips along the Mekong River, from the Primitive Project (2009) in which he collaborated with teenagers of Nabua, Nakorn Panom, to a recent journey in 2021. In Mukdahan, he came upon a man who was among the team that recovered the corpse of a political dissident from the Mekong River. The encounter resulted in a multi-screen video installation featuring a radio drama written and narrated by Isaan poet Mek’ Krung Fah (his collaborator in MAIELIE’s previous show, A Trace of Thunder). The piece - with audio design by Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr - tells the story of an intimate moment between two lovers that is interrupted by a sight of a strange rock in the river. The tale echoes in the shadows of an old cinema theater in Kalasin, the skeletal ruins of which are now home to hundreds of pigeons. The birds are disturbed by a loud bang which also stirs a woman up from her bed in Nong Khai. The legend, the murder that has linked the cities in the northeast, awakened them from their dreams.
The woman in bed, Janjira Widner Pongpas, or Pa Jen, also appears in many of Apichatpong’s Video Diaries (2004 - present), a glimpse of which are exhibited here, such as Memoria, Boy at Sea (2017). The piece was taken in Colombia, while Apichatpong was writing a script of his recent film, MEMORIA, with the presence of his friend Connor Jessup. The video offers an intimate look into Apichatpong’s world, as in his other diaries. These low resolution videos are analogous to his own eyes, staring and capturing places, family, friends, animals, and dreams. Their hand-made peculiarity responds to the impulse to ‘record’, presenting his immediate point of view, augmenting an expanding universe along with his other seminal works.
The “A Minor History” exhibition at MAIELIE will be available for viewing from the 30th of April - 27th of November, 2022. Throughout the exhibition period, the space will also host various activities for attendees including film screenings, panel discussions, and book openings, which are open to anyone interested free of charge.