Sullivan Galleries - Chicago
16 / 09 / 2017 – 08 / 12 / 2017

Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s (MFA 1997, HON 2011) 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.

SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries present the US premiere of Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness, curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong (MA 1996) and produced by Independent Curators International, New York.

This exhibition 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. His passionate positions regarding class, labor, sexuality, science and spirituality have informed his practice from early in his career to the present.

Organized with Graduate Curatorial Assistants, Katie Cato (MAAH 2018), Luna Goldberg (MAAH 2018), and Désirée Coral Guerra (MFA 2018).

The related program includes a tour with exhibition curator Gridthiya Gaweewong (MA 1996) Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, a Visiting Artists Program including Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series, and a Screening Series at Gene Siskel Film Center. This series includes select films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul throughout the month of October.

Featured titles include: Cemetery of Splendor, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Syndromes and a Century, and Tropical Malady. The program comprehends also the lecture Tropical Malady: Queerness and Political Critique in the Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a lecture by visiting scholar Arnika Fuhrmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University.

This talk investigates the ability of Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul to mobilize the distinctly local while at the same time producing transnationally legible aesthetics of visual representation. It pays special attention to the ways in which Weerasethakul draws on Buddhism to present political critique and represent queerness in innovative ways.

Arnika Fuhrmann is an interdisciplinary scholar of Southeast Asia, working at the intersections of the region’s aesthetic and political modernities. Her book “Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema” (Duke University Press, 2016) examines how Buddhist-coded anachronisms of haunting figure struggles over sexuality, personhood, and notions of collectivity in contemporary Thai cinema and political rhetoric.

In November there will be Where is Asia in Asian Art? The Whereabouts of Cultural Content in Art, a discussion moderated by Art History, Theory, and Criticism Professor Nora A. Taylor, including Pakistani artist Bani Abidi and Professor Jennifer Lee among others.