Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ghost Teen, 2009. Courtesy of the artist.

September 13, 2017
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
The Serenity of Madness
September 15–December 8, 2017
Curator’s tour : September 18, 12–1pm, with Gridthiya Gaweewong
Artist talk: September 19, 6–7pm
Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Drive
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603
United States
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Renowned filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s exhibition The Serenity of Madness will make its North American debut at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on September 15. Exploring threads of sociopolitical commentary, this new solo exhibition uniquely presents rarely seen short films and video installations by the Thai artist, alongside his photography, sketches and archival materials.

A leading figure in contemporary film and art, Weerasethakul’s (SAIC MFA 1998, 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. Weerasethakul has developed a singular realist-surrealist style in which he portrays the everyday alongside supernatural elements suggesting a distortion between fact and folklore, the subconscious and the exposed and various disparities of power.

“Art fosters more platforms for different voices, and it is important to be aware of the world’s narratives,” said Apichatpong Weerasethakul. “Sometimes just simply being aware can be a powerful tool, and that’s why I’m humbled to present my work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a place which exposed me to aspects of film and world views that had an enduring impact on my career.”

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness is a traveling exhibition curated by SAIC alum Gridthiya Gaweewong (MA 1996) and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. It has previously been shown in Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“While many of us have focused on the internationally acclaimed feature films that Apichatpong Weerasethakul has directed over the past decade and a half, there has been far less attention paid to the significant body of short films and tapes, museum installations and commissioned productions,” said Bruce Jenkins, Chair of SAIC’s Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation. “The Serenity of Madness exhibition is an invaluable corrective that assembles for the first time the remarkable works from his ‘other cinema’ and offers all of us the rare chance to experience his arresting imagery and haunting stories on a truly intimate scale.” 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness opens to the public on Friday, September 15, 6–9pm, at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th floor. The exhibit will run through December 8, Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–6pm. Gaweewong will give a curator’s tour of the exhibition on Monday, September 18 from 12–1pm. The tour and exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, visit saic.edu/serenityofmadness.

Related to the exhibition, Weerasethakul will give a talk as part of SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program on Tuesday, September 19 at 6pm. For more details, visit saic.edu/vap. Additionally, SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center will screen four of Weerasethakul’s films in October: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past LivesCemetery of SplendourSyndromes and a Century and Tropical Malady. More details for film screenings can be found at siskelfilmcenter.org.

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September 13, 2017

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