Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness

A leading figure in both contemporary film and art, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (born 1970) has developed a singular, realist-surrealist style in which the portrayal of the everyday alongside supernatural elements suggests a distortion between fact and folklore, the subconscious and the exposed, and various disparities of power. His work reveals stories often excluded in history, in and out of Thailand: voices of the poor and the ill, marginalized humans and those silenced and censored for personal and political reasons.

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival materials that explore threads of socio-political commentary. His passionate positions on class, labor, sexuality and spirituality contribute to a body of work concerned with ethics, power, science, and liberation. The Serenity of Madness is structured into distinct sections: one corresponding to the artist’s private world, peopled with friends, family and long-time collaborators; another takes up the public sphere but with a more abstract dimension of experience, utilizing light, memory and temporal, spatial, and spiritual displacement. The survey culminates with a selection of recent work addressing the social reality in his homeland.

Curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, a longtime collaborator of the filmmaker’s, this exhibition will be accompanied by a retrospective of the director’s theatrical releases in the Samuel Roberts Noble Theater. It will include a special opening event for the Museum’s newly launched film society. Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness is a traveling exhibition curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support from MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai; the ICI Board of Trustees and ICI’s International Forum.


Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness, Para Site installation view, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist and Independent Curators International.; Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2014. Courtesy of Kick the Machine Films, Photograph by Chai Siris.