Unimagined Communities, 2017

Komagome SOKO is pleased to announce Chai Siris’s solo exhibition “Unimagined Communities” from the 8th to 29th of July, 2017. The exhibition is supported by SCAI THE BATHHOUSE.

Using media such as photography and video, Chai Siris seeks to reconstruct both personal and social narratives, with subjects often found within his native Thailand. The artist began his creative practice after an engagement with the homeless people at Sanam Luang (The Grand Palace, Bangkok). Since then, he has collaborated with workers in various professions such as fortune-tellers, construction builders, and housewives, to develop a profound insight into Thai society. Raised in suburban Bangkok, as the son of a pharmacist, the artist points to the symptoms of illness that are not necessarily physical but emotional. Siris has developed a deep interest in how such emotional symptoms can be cured, and his practice has developed as an artistic means to relieve people from doubts about their environments and their ways of living.

The movie “King and I” (1956) is based on memoirs of a British woman who became a teacher for the children of Raman IV, in the early 1860s. Through layers of images, colors, and light hovering between reality and fiction, the artist intervenes into this embroidered story and reconstructs his own version of the ending scene in this exhibition. Siris’s new work ”Rebirth” (2017) is a dual-channel video work projecting a scene from the Thai jungle and a male nude, flashing repeatedly between blue and red. For “The King and Reena”, the artist places a plant of a banana tree in the center of the exhibition space, with a headset echoing a love song, blending the effects of light and sound. His research on the conception of Internet communities by migrant workers from Thailand, Myanmar, and China is realised in a photography series “Archive of Bad Mountains” pairing portraits of immigrant minorities and natural landscapes.

In examining the origin and spread of nationalism, political scientist Benedict Anderson used the term “Imagined Communities” to describe modern nation-states. Siris hints to this connotation by referencing the often misunderstood history of the Thai monarchy, and the emergence of new communities on the Internet.