Highlight of special exhibition “The Serenity of Madness” now part of OKCMOA permanent collection
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) has acquired Fireworks (Archives) by award-winning filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul. “Fireworks (Archives)” was created in an edition of five, and its purchase confirms the Museum’s commitment to building a significant collection of art of the moving image.
“Our Samuel Roberts Noble Theatre is nationally renowned as a leader in foreign, independent and classic cinema,” said OKCMOA President and CEO E. Michael Whittington. “The acquisition of ‘Fireworks,’ as well as the recently acquired ‘Hedge Crawl’ by Andy Goldsworthy, demonstrates our commitment to contemporary art as well as artists who are increasingly using the moving image as a medium.”
“Not only was this work one of the finest in the exhibition, it was also the most popular,” said Michael J. Anderson, Ph.D., OKCMOA director of curatorial affairs. “The video benefits significantly from OKCMOA’s unique presentation, with panels of hanging glass, a short-throw HD projector and a surround sound system. By acquiring this work, the Museum is carrying on the legacy of this significant exhibition and keeping an important piece of it here in OKC.”
“Fireworks” is part of a recent, ongoing project by Weerasethakul that explores themes of memory and Thailand’s political history. The first in a planned series, “Fireworks (Archives)” functions as a hallucinatory memory machine. It catalogs the animal sculptures at a temple in northeastern Thailand where the artist grew up. In it, the actors blend in with the illuminated beasts as they travel through the temple grounds, lighting a path with fireworks and a camera flash.
Weerasethakul grew up in Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand. He began making video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature film in 2000. His art and feature films have won him numerous prizes, including two from the Cannes Film Festival and several from the French Minister of Culture. His film “Syndromes and a Century” was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. Additionally, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” won the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, making it the first Southeast Asian film to win the most prestigious award in the film world.
OKCMOA hosted an exhibition of Weerasethakul’s work in spring 2018. “Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness” presented a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival materials. Curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, a longtime collaborator of the filmmaker’s, the exhibition was accompanied by a retrospective of the director’s theatrical releases in the Samuel Roberts Noble Theater.
“Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness” is a traveling exhibition curated by Gaweewong and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, by the generous support from MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, the ICI Board of Trustees and ICI’s International Forum.
The Museum plans to display the new acquisition beginning next spring.
Image Credit: Fireworks (Archives), 2014. Apichatpong Weerasethakul. OKCMOA installation.