This is the first London solo exhibition by acclaimed Thai filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b.1970) who creates work for both cinema and gallery exhibition with astounding results.
An ethereal portrait of a town in north east Thailand .
Phantoms of Nabua is described by the artist as 'a portrait of home… a communication of lights, the lights that exude on the one hand the comfort of home and, on the other, of destruction'.
In the work teenagers play football at night illuminated by a rear projection of lightning and fireworks and a recreation of a fluorescent light pole from the artist's hometown. Even though these lights make the skin look pale and ghost-like, for Weerasethakul they also relate to home, to being home.
Phantoms of Nabua is a part of Weerasethakul's Primitive project created in what is now a sleepy village in the northeast of Thailand. But Nabua's atmosphere hides a history of violent clashes. From the 1960s to the 1980s Thailand's totalitarian government militia occupied this part of Thailand in order to curb communist insurgents. Filming these teenage descendents of the Thai rebel-farmers is Weerasethakul's poetic reflection on catastrophic political events as well as an exploration of personal politics and social issues. Focusing on concepts of rememberance and extinction, the atmospheric single screen projection transforms the gallery into a haunting and mysterious space.
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