A new photographic exhibition at Kathmandu Gallery deploys a colourful palette to hold an unsettling mirror up to the darker side of Thai society.
Paisal Theerapongvisanuporn started out as a painter and always had an obsession with vivid colours. As his focus shifted to photography, that obsession survived and remains present in The Nightmare Remains, his collection of surreal images that goes on show at Kathmandu Photo Gallery on August 17.
“I first started this project in the year of 1977,” he explains. “At that time, I just wanted to reflect the society and portray its problems in my own terms. Now the problems still exist in the society, even worse, with more acceptance or ignorance from the people living in the society. This is how the nightmare still remains.”
“I see life as a chessboard. A person as a pawn and every move it takes, it is used, played, and then dies.”
Paisal makes striking use of bright, bold colours despite his work offering a commentary on society’s dysfunction. There is also a regularity to some of his images: eggshells lined up like a grid, each creating a larger image like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
“People were once used to breastfeeding their child,” Paisal says. “Now they use money to feed or fulfill a child. Most people take something artificial over nature-made. It is how society has become these days, when the economic is more important than the morals of a person.”
“There was an era when neat and well-crafted drawings and paintings, although they are beautiful, could be used to deceive. So many artists became more deviant with their artworks. But for me, I like both realistic portraits and surrealism. For something to be beautiful it does not need to look beautiful but it can be beautiful in the mind.”
“Each photograph is meant to have its own meaning. When people see it, they might have different interpretations. It does not matter if a person sees it in another way from how I see it. As long as the photography portrays something, then I’m cool with it.”
The Nightmare Remains can be seen from August 17-September 29 at Kathmandu Photo Gallery (87 Thanon Pan; 02-234-6700; kathmandu-bkk.com)