Solo exhibition of Thai photographer Soopakorn Srisakul, curated by Dhanainun Dhanarachwattana, at Jam, 22 September – 28 October 2018.
A new experimental photography series by Soopakorn Srisakul, showing the 2 seemingly disparate worlds of his professional life as an architectural photographer and his domestic life with his transgender girlfriend in their cosy apartment. Creating a juxtaposition by collaging together his stark, clean architectural work from the actual magazines his work gets published in, alongside documentary photos of his real personal, messy, domestic life. Allowing him to portray organic, beautiful human life, in a real uncontrived dwelling.
This exhibition is part of the Bangkok Biennial.
CURATORIAL STATEMENT – Dhanainun Dhanarachwattana
All forms of visual representation rest on the delivery of two crucial pieces of information to the recipient: form and content. Of course, in most cases, form and content are so much intertwined that the separation between the two becomes impossible to determined, and in some cases, form is content and content is form. Such is usually the case as with graphic designs, where form is supposed to deliver the content, or at least the encapsulation of content, in the most economical fashion.
One of the main preoccupations of photography is with this peculiar nature of the medium itself; photography is the master of form and the content it carries within the confine of its premise. Photography is the master of describing forms pertaining to its visual nature, but in capturing the form you also capture the content of the thing depicted. Such quality is intrinsic to the medium and represents one of the major ambiguities ingrained to this peculiar medium. Usually, photographers resolve such contention by forgoing one for another. On the one hand
you can get away with concentrating on form as strictly an endeavour in aesthetic experimentation, as is usually the case with the whole spectrum of art and architecture photography; on the other you mainly concentrate on the content itself, as one would do with a family snapshot or documentary photography.
Soopakorn just so happens to be both architectural and documentary photographer. In his professional life, he serves as a staff photographer for an architecture magazine, while in his private sphere he spends his time documenting the little-known facets of a hidden world. A stark contrast not only presents itself in his photographic endeavour, but also recommends itself throughout the pages of his personal history.
Weekend Stage is a rumination into this inherent contradiction of the photographer; between his private interest and professional incumbent; between being a staff photographer whose emphasis is on the forms, and the documentarian whose message lies in the content; between being one whose interests are in the outside world, and one whose private sphere demands an utmost attentiveness; between inheriting a social sphere where efficiency is an essence, and frequenting the one whose essence is the antithesis of efficiency.
Weekend Stage encapsulates these contradictions, while at times seamlessly integrating these sphere of existence into a combined whole. At times, you are not quite sure if the boundary within the collages exists in reality or if it only exists through his placement of the frames themselves at all. Being uncertain of their separation, we are left to only contend with their wholesome discord by what we know to be realistic of the document alone.
Which is what the photographer himself cannot readily resolve while having to contend with as well.
ARTIST STATEMENT — Soopakorn Srisakul
It was already midnight when Aimy propositioned me to go buy some food with her so that on our way back she could pluck up some snapdragons planted by the council along the sidewalk. Whole purple snapdragons, pulled from the ground with roots, when put into a jar will soon fill its container up with growing roots.
Aimy is nine years my junior. She was hooked to me from the bank of Khlong Lord canal before sunrise when I opened my car’s window and let out a greeting. It sounds like a mysterious tale but for three years from that day we have been inseparable.
We had a plan to buy the condominium which we were renting from my senior work colleague since it is near my workplace by walking and the way is inviting. Grilled squid, honey pork, hardware store, 20 baht store (dollar store), entrance to Soi 21, and another shop by 7-11 intersection, a temple by Khlong Maha Sawat canal another temple by Bangkok Noi canal that the other day Aimy proposed we go sightseeing where at night there would be a pack of stray dogs who grew up on chicken gourd noodle. My senior would sell the condominium for mid six-hundred-thousands but the appraised price from a bank was only six-hundred-thousand sharp. I had worked for more than 10 years but do not have ten thousand baht in savings. When I confessed to my senior that Aimy had transformed his room he reluctantly sold it to me for the appraised price plus end of year bonus.
I asked Aimy to quit her full-time-job by the canal. Her everyday life now seems like holidays. Waking up late, drooling all over the pillow, laying in bed watching the news on Youtube, and DIYing stuff from stuff taken by a fence or from friend’s room. Someday I’m annoyed with her digging up potted plants on the balcony at 2 or 3 in the morning on nights she has insomnia or sometimes she would listen to The Shock or sometimes she would gossip with friends coming back from clients about plants.
‘I have worked at an architectural magazine for 13 years, I have a couple of gigs on the side per month, in a month I buy a few bottle of decent booze, apart from that there is nothing pricey’, I told Aimy upon returning to our room with noodle and three plants at 1am.
Graduated from Chulalongkorn University in Architecture and works as a staff architectural photographer for House & Garden Magazine, Soopakorn also has his works featured in Dwell Asia, Domus, and Habitat Living. In his own time, his mainly focuses upon documenting his surroundings and the lives of their inhabitants.
2012: Photographer, Temporary Storage#1 Group Show at BACC, Bangkok
2013: Attending a workshop with Françoise Huguier in La Fête Festival, Bangkok
Photographer, Inhabitation Group Show at Speedy Grandma Gallery, Bangkok
2015: Photographer, Ms.Match Solo Show at Soy Sauce Factory, Bangkok
At times, you are not quite sure if the boundary within the collages exists in reality or if it only exists through his placement of the frames themselves.
—Curator Dhanainun Dhanarachwattana