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A HOUSE WITHOUT A ROOF

A duo exhibition by Jedsada Tangtrakulwong and Vacharanont Sinvaravatn 
3 February - 14 March 2024 
Nova Contemporary, Bangkok, Thailand

 

Nova Contemporary is pleased to announce a duo exhibition by Jedsada Tangtrakulwong and Vacharanont Sinvaravatn, titled A House Without a Roof. The show features new paintings, live video, and multimedia sculptures, addressing the concept of home from a range of physical and emotional locations.

 

Although Tangtrakulwong suggests an amorphous understanding of home, he introduces this thread of workswith the familiar tactility of Thai spirit houses. He cleverly merges the utilitarian and aesthetic at the front of the gallery, disguising surveillance cameras in two of these traditional worship structures. Their live fields track the entrance and main viewing room, streaming across screens that can only be seen from the parking lot outside. A playfulness persists, as if the hidden cameras show what the residing spirits witness, giving tactility to an invisible gaze. Reversing the typical dynamics of seeing, he rethinks traditional subject-object relationships and our normalized expectations of surveillance, producing an upheaval that becomes especially pronounced in a spatial context defined by viewership.

 

This interest in the gaze becomes more embodied as we move into the space, where wooden pillars have been transformed into portable repositories of memory and meaning. Lightbox illuminated photographs lay at the heart of the structures, and Tangtrakulwong reimagines the formal language of Minimalism in their dimensional framing, emphasizing geometric lucidity while subtly injecting quietly emotive aspects. These constructions draw from various quotidian objects and locations, referring to scenes from different periods of the artist’s life, which are further alluded to by the nostalgic and diaristic titles of this series. Like microcosms of his personal history, they contain palpable traces of places: one has a set of steps, mirroring those that lead into a certain temple’s pond, while another stands stray like a telephone pole at dusk, self-referential to the image it is paired with; one is jagged like the varying heights of teak trees in a high mountain village, while another is tightly enclosed like a car’s windshield. In this body of work, home is defined by nomadic kinship, simultaneously enduring and changing. Each structure exemplifies Tangtrakulwong’s acute sensitivity to the minor details of objects, sites, and even moments. He embodies the lasting loyalties of memory, the sincerity of a recollecting gaze, and the cherishment of lingering remnants; Yet, these attachments can be reimagined, transformed, distilled, and perhaps most importantly, made mobile to be carried with us wherever we go.

 

Sinvaravatn similarly travels through personal memory, marking a shift from his previous interest, which was largely premised on collective imagery. In this cycle of paintings, he traces his frequent drives on the routes between Bangkok and the outskirts of Thailand. Despite being images in transit, a surreal stillness pervades these works, obscuring the directions of departure and arrival. In composite terrains of the real and imagined, his mundane travel becomes whimsical escape. Sinvaravatn creates landscapes of storybook saturation and symmetry, with vegetation as a key motif: files of lush trees line up against smooth undulating hills or pan open to reveal a burning sun lowering into the horizon. In other works, a reflection of the moon is perfectly centered in an unmoving pond, and a pair of headlights silently emerge from a silhouetted crowd of trees.

 

Influenced by his mixed media background, these stylized paintings appear like cinematic tableaus. Carefully constructed and intensely coloured, they induce a beguiling, contrived reality. There is a feeling of harmonious yet artificial balance as the images inch closer to nightfall, a disquieting yet alluring tranquility. Sinvaravatn reveals the reason behind this perceptible uneasiness, explaining that most of the trees he sees on his drives, like the pine, eucalyptus, and palm, are not actually native to the land, though they have become ingrained parts of the landscape overtime. Long intrigued by the visual impressions that are imposed upon public imagination, he also probes the manicured nature of seemingly natural pastoral scenery, mirroring the processes of careful curation and fabrication in the act of painting itself. This sense of identity construction and its ambiguities are especially befitting for the artist, who lives and works in places other than home. Turning to the landscape genre, he produces personal analogies of belonging, reflecting on ideas of foreignness and assimilation.

 

These two artists tackle home as a mercurial entity in this exhibition, assessing dimensions of kinship and belonging, as well as authority and spectatorship. Home becomes a structure for multiplicitous contemplation, something tangible yet mutable, intimate yet confining, integrating yet isolating.

 

Text by Colette Auyang

 

For more information : Nova Contemporary

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