When the first thought is touch

A painting installation 2021, at Galleri Brandstrup, Oslo, Norway

The exhibition consisted of 14 paintings of varied sizes, acrylics on canvas, installed on construction poles and with polycarbonate plastic sheets. Some paintings have handles attached to the back side and can rotate to create different viewing angles in the room.

(Excerpt from exhibition/press release text below)

every body
else, uncounted
a speck of dust in oxidised red sand

When the first Thought is Touch attempts to evoke the experience of synchrony. Experiencing synchrony or being in synch simply means you are attuned to something or someone. To feel like you are connected with day to day activities such as cooking, cleaning, or meeting people. It involves rhythm and all of our bodily senses.

"My childhood experiences of performing rituals at the village temple instilled in me a bodily connection with others. I felt a connection with them when walking together to donate food to the spirits, when chanting mantras I could not understand or when awkwardly forcing my body to sit still in a certain position for meditation. As I grow older, I understand that these gestures tie us together – the people performing it right then and there – but it also binds us to those who have performed those same gestures in the times before us."

The source material for Wanthiang’s new series of paintings are enlarged images of the scattered grounds left after the mass-cremations of covid-19 victims in India. These blown-up, grainy, ghostly and blotted-out images are translated into a tactile and scaled-up painting surface. The paintings are enlargements of details and fragments allowing viewers to move with and within them. In this way, the work opens up a space where painting can potentially resonate with the sensory knowledge present in our bodies.

The exhibition title is borrowed from the interview "Siri Hustvedt in conversation with Hanneline Røgeberg". The work in this exhibition is indebted to the book The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van der Kolk.

The exhibition team
Exhibition design: Nicolai Ramm Østgaard
Artist assistant: Jasmine Christensson
Technician: Markus Moestue
Text: Esther Tuypens and Apichaya Wanthiang

The exhibition was kindly supported by Norske Billedkunstnere, and was produced during the artist stay at The Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale (NKD)

Photo credit: Øystein Thorvaldsen

 Copyright © 2023 Apichaya Wanthiang. All rights reserved.