Last Words began as a series of informal conversations between a number of artists based in Thailand (Atit Sornsongkram and Tanatchai Bandasak), the Philippines (Gary-Ross Pastrana), Indonesia (Tromarama), courtesy of Nova Contemporary and Silverlens Galleries, with the intention to regularly check on and reconnect with each other in light of the respective isolative environments we were all facing at the time. This dialogue would grow in scope through the invitation of all of the artists present in this exhibition. Without a particular end goal in mind, a certain trajectory began to emerge with regards to the possibility of developing a project together as ROH was invited to participate in RHE: Galleries Curate, a series of interconnected presentations developed by our gallery colleagues in different parts of the world, surrounding the theme of water and its flow. For a long time, this project existed in our minds as a certain aspiration towards the idea of realizing at a certain point some kind of normalcy in our respective conditions that would allow us to finally work towards a physical exhibition together. A presentation that may perhaps even travel to their respective places of origin at some conceptual point in the future. The idea of actualizing our conversations into reality seemed so foreign, so beyond the realm of the possible, that perhaps these aspirations belonged more in the realm of dreams than reality.
Last Words also has implications to the process of conceptualizing, designing, and building the physical space that now holds this exhibition on Jalan Surabaya 66 in the residential district of Menteng with our architect and collaborator Barry Beagen. There is a sense that this three-year time arc between deriving our original intentions to build a space for contemporary art, which in many ways was very personal and intensely developed through an ongoing dialogue, that seems to finally be arriving at a sense of reaching materiality and completion. To then have its first activation manifested by a similarly organic, unrestrictive presentation of works somehow seems apt.
The works in Last Words look at the idea of water from numerous vantage points and perspectives— empirical properties, metaphorical connotations, relationships to spirituality, implications to the quotidian, the essential role it plays in nature, as well as the more sublime and speculative. The ideas brought forth in the exhibition began as large brush strokes in our conversations, and through a more rhizomatic progression of ideas, eventually other artists were invited who each felt cooperatively could add further layers and nuance to the premises presented in the show. Some of these conversations have been included in the accompanying catalogue to the exhibition.
Born 1981, Bangkok, Thailand
Lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand
Atit Sornsongkram works mainly with the medium of photography, capturing subjects both manually constructed and digitally edited. His form-reduced, abstract, monochrome, multi-sized photographs usually start by questioning and contemplating upon the medium of photography by playing with the perception of the audience through lighting, duplicating, and rearranging of the images. He defines his works as 'a poem in another form'. Sornsongkram began his studies in Germany at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in 2008, in the class of Professor Hubert Kiecol, and graduated with the title of Master Student from the class of Professor Andreas Gursky in 2014.
Sornsongkram's solo exhibitions include Passing a window, I glanced into it (2019), and Minded The Monsoon (2016) at VER Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand. Sornsongkram's works have been included in many exhibitions, both locally and internationally, among them 🌀 at Nova Contemporary, Bangkok, Thailand (2020), Chronicle at Projektraum Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2019); Black & White from Dürer to Eliasson at Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2018), MULTIPLE PLANES at BACC, Bangkok, Thailand (2018); Strauss ist rauss as part of Dusseldorf Photo Weekend, Dusseldorf, Germany (2017), Hidden Traces as part of Dusseldorf Photo Weekend, Dusseldorf, Germany (2016); SPAGAT at Gallery A3, Moscow, Russia (2014); EN EL CASTILLO at MIAC Castillo de San José, Lanzarote, Spain (2014); Klasse GURSKY STELLT AUS at Hiyoshi RaioÌ‚sha Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2013).
Copyright belongs to The Artists
Photography by Davy Linggar
Courtesy of The Artists and ROH