Critics’ Picks

View of “Latthapon Korkiatarkul,” 2017.

View of “Latthapon Korkiatarkul,” 2017.


Latthapon Korkiatarkul

Gallery VER
Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Soi 22,
August 5–September 30, 2017

(Un)Composition” is the highly anticipated first solo exhibition from Latthapon Korkiatarkul, a young Thai artist whom many have considered a kind of a maverick since he burst onto the scene in 2010. His process-based works, riddled with serious, deadpan humor, succeed in projecting a healthy skepticism for the formulaic definitions and trite readings applied to art. By transforming familiar objects into eerily surreal entities—laboriously polishing an egg until it shines like marble, or scrubbing banknotes until they lose all individual markings—he has not only changed their appearances but also eradicated their connotations. He has put easy-to-overlook supporting elements such as walls and pedestals center stage, elevating them as artworks and thereby eliminating the apparent necessity and sanctity of art objects themselves.

In this latest subversive exercise in subtle material transformation, Latthapon tackles the classic medium of painting, using two different methods on two groups of canvases. His first approach resulted in high-finish readymades: White paint was painstakingly applied layer upon layer, built up into surfaces of shiny perfection. His second approach incorporated found objects: Chance elements—traces of dust, paintbrushes, hair, insects—were allowed to settle into the pigment, resulting in organic, disordered arrangements. Neither grouping of works suggest any human intervention.

There is something fascinating and mysterious about objects purposefully stripped of their meaning and value, as they are in Latthapon’s work. When there is no hiding behind any sociocultural references, art-historical traditions, political metaphors, or aesthetic principles, the viewer is instead invited to abandon contextual baggage and look inward. The blank-looking canvas performs as a mirror to one’s own being.