BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY is proud to present HEAVY by renowned filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, opening on Saturday September 30, 2023. In a world where film and most media has transcended into the digital sphere, the artist reflects upon the intangible nature of his creations, lamenting, “he is unable to touch his own work.”
HEAVY showcases a staggering collection of over 120 large-scale framed photographs. Meticulously organized into stacks, the expansive installation manifests as a virtual archive given physical form. The selection, drawn from a staggering collection of more than 50,000 images captured over a decade, chronicles everyday sights and moments from his filmmaking process. The selection, drawn from a staggering collection of more than 50,000 images captured over a decade, chronicles everyday sights and moments from his filmmaking process. A significant portion represents personal images, often not intended for print, making their presence all the more insightful. In curating these photos, the filmmaker noticed an emerging trend — a subconscious preference evident in the images he gravitates toward both in creation and appreciation.
The exhibition’s title – HEAVY – isn’t merely a descriptor of the physical weight of these large-scale photographs. It is also symbolic of the emotions encapsulated within. Looking through his own extensive library of photographs was, in his own words, “exhausting.” There’s an undeniable heaviness felt from the photographs, a sentiment that is paradoxically ironic, given the weightlessness of digital mediums.
Thamrongrattanarit began his practice of storytelling in 1997 – a journey that encompassed writing, crafting magazines, and dabbling in a variety of media. Continuously experimenting and expanding his repertoire of formats has been a way for him to effectively communicate his narratives. With HEAVY, the emphasis is on the tangible; the exhibitionary format allows him to guide audiences more directly, influencing how they engage with both the work and the medium. In this respect, the presentation becomes more than just an art showcase. It simultaneously serves as an experiment in evolving storytelling methods.
Moreover, the exhibition invites audiences to interact with these photographs. To move them, to feel them — an experience often denied in traditional photographic exhibitions – and serving to transform the archetypal spectatorship of exhibition-going into an active, rather than passive, role. This tangible interaction with images emulates the sensation of scrolling through folders on a digital hard-drive. The volume and presentation are methodological, and the transformation of the space becomes reminiscent of someone’s personal room. The experience becomes intimate, offering an unparalleled peek into another’s life, an autobiographical journey that promises personal connections.