Breaking through the darkness

Galleries' Nights teams up with the French embassy to bring art back into the spotlight

Gallery Ver presents the collective show "From Simmer To Ignition" featuring artworks by eight different artists.”

In a challenging period for arts and culture, Galleries' Nights is breaking through the darkness to bring the contemporary and visual art scene back into the spotlight for four days under this year's theme "Art Is The Solution".

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, many galleries in Bangkok have struggled to stay in business as art has been confined to a screen and doors closed. Accordingly, Galleries' Nights desires to support the local art scene and revive the Thai street art culture that has been withering.

In collaboration with the Embassy of France's artistic programme "La Fête", Galleries' Nights offered an artistic journey by gathering more than 70 galleries and art spaces. It opened last Friday and Saturday from 5pm until 9pm in Silom, Sathon, Riverside, Ari, Pathumwan and Sukhumvit areas.

This two-night event in Bangkok featured special exhibitions, performances, installations, sounds and videos, paintings, music, and other art projects. French Ambassador Thierry Mathou said in his opening speech that this was the first event in which we step into a new cultural lifestyle and that the embassy planned to turn its place into a cultural area.

The inspiration behind the eighth edition of Galleries' Nights is "Nuit Blanche Paris" or "Sleepless Night", an event dedicated to visual and contemporary art that has gained global recognition. Since 2013, Galleries' Nights turns the City of Angels into a festive and friendly open museum every year.

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou gave the opening speech at the Galleries' Nights Press Conference. (Photo: Sujira Panyawattana)

During this event's opening ceremony, the young Isan poet "Mek Krung Fah" or the half-cloudy sky gave a live poetry performance at N22 Warehouse. He narrated his story, taking on the roles of a man and his lover as they stroll along the Mekong riverbank. His narration mimicked the style used in the dubbing of old films and radio dramas from a bygone era.

In fact, this poet's story is part of the art project "A Minor History" by Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. His project combines various forms of storytelling that hover in the realms of reality and dreams to reflect the decay of memories and representations. For Apichatpong, this work is a farewell to childhood innocence and an awakening to the unspeakable violence in Thai society.

Meanwhile, Patcharapa Inchange, a Thai graphic designer and political activist for women's rights, brought five oil paintings from Chiang Mai to her first solo exhibition "Poetry Of Dead, We Are All Alone … How Ghosts Found Us", as part of Galleries' Nights 2021 event.

The main theme of the artist's debut show is the devastating dystopia where people fear and suffer under Thailand's dictatorship. Her impressionist works in "Poetry Of Dead" are thus another attempt to magnify their silent voices and tell historic tales of political struggles.

Mek Krung Fah, a young Isan poet, narrated his story with an English translator at Galleries' Nights opening ceremony.

Also, Patcharapa presented the painting Star Locket at Cartel Artspace. Inspired by Spanish romance painter Francisco Goya, she drew a sleeping child in a bed as a representation of Thai youth and howls as a symbol of nightmare and death with charcoal and acrylics on a 6.5x3m canvas.

The size of her visual painting signifies prison cells as Star Locket is reminiscent of her country's current political situation where protest leaders and pro-democracy students are being detained. Patcharapa pointed out that these political prisoners are "a star trapped in a box" yet "the prison can't hold the starlight".

Similarly, eight Thai artists created artwork for "From Simmer To Ignition" as archivists as well as protectors of history and truth over inherent frustration from the pandemic to political conflicts over the past decade.

Exhibited at the Gallery Ver, this collective show encompasses the installation of souvenirs that embody past glory, and moving images, vivid paintings and a collage of newspapers that reveal a historical collision in Thailand's different timelines.

Star Locket.

Another Thai artist, Nakrob Moonmanas expresses his interest in Siamese modernity and western colonialism through his collage of Giclée prints with acrylic colours and a lightbox titled "Photo Alchemy", displayed at Alliance Française.

As Nakrob wants his viewers to immerse themselves in the political ideology and early photography in Siam, he merges the ancient phytophagic process with a contemporary approach for making digital art prints in this collection.

Apparently, many Thai artists' creativity in their art pieces originates from the fragment of their historical memories.

Galleries' Nights and La Fête is also holding another two-night event with Burapha University at Bangsaen beach today and tomorrow. This special event includes 17 art spaces as well as over 40 artists and designers' creative artworks.

Visit galleriesnights.com for further information on this event.

Pare Patcharapa paints Star Locket at Cartel Artspace. (Photo: Preecha Pattara)

Power Of Structure.

City Of Angel.

Father And Son.

Nakrob Moonmanas' collage of Giclée prints titled 'Photo Alchemy' is seen as a state of Chemistry and Alchemy.

Nakrob Moonmanas' collage of Giclée prints titled 'Photo Alchemy' is seen as a state of Chemistry and Alchemy. 

Gallery VER presents the collective show 'From Simmer To Ignition' featuring artwork by eight different artists.

How Ghosts Find Us.

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