Immediately transfixing, pleasing, and beautiful—perhaps revealing perhaps of the secret patterns of the universe—all these things can describe Eroded Memories, the latest exhibit from artist Pramual Burusphat, one of the pioneers of contemporary Thai photography. The works appear like abstract expressionist paintings of single cell organisms dividing and multiplying violently in all directions at great speed, eating away all human memory leaving no trace of what once was. A photograph of picturesque Punyi Island in Phang-nga vanishes into black and white lines, seemingly drawn by magnetic fields. Without the sprocket holes we’d never have recognized it as a strip of negative film, once popularly used by humanity to record its memories.
Perceiving the beauty of this truth of the impermanence of things when he searched through his father-in-law’s old negatives from 1977 and beyond, led in part to the creation of this photo series. All the negatives had degraded, melted and split due to the high heat and humidity of Thailand’s climate. The series also toys with the conviction that “photography must be a straight-forward record of everything before the lens”. How do we respond when Punyi Island has morphed into squiggly lines that do not correspond to reality?
Eroded Memories runs until October 29 at the Kathmandu Photo Gallery (87, Soi Pan, at Silom Rd). Viewing hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11am till 6pm. For more information, call 02 234 6700.