Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
The liminal border between night and day, waking and sleeping, life and death, is the setting for the entire oeuvre of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, for whom the moving image is an extension of our soul, an interface that filters the dif- ferent processes, both visible and invisible, that animate our lives. The very entrance to the exhibition is a declaration of intent, a singular sensory and political vessel that synthesises his cinematic universe. We then find ourselves immersed in the filmmaker’s creative intimacy: a documen- tary laboratory that functions as a kaleidoscope from which we can choose. We can venture into the initiatory power of the night, seeing in it a screen that is both transparency and reflection, but always full of interruptions, be they the ghosts of the past or the moths that haunt the concerns of the present. Or we can burn down the night, entangle the disturbances offered by the darkness and play with fire in the midst of changing scenarios: a game that invites us to sharpen our perception or set the screen on fire, only to discover in the end that we ourselves are the dream factory. Because, finally, we can also lie down. To sleep. And in this way project a shared imaginary that, according to the film- maker, emerges while we sleep. In the sleeper’s transit, which is both withdrawal and surrender, a state of altered yet receptive, confiding consciousness, Weerasethakul films sleep as that contagious and revolutionary energy in which animals and humans, the living and the dead, coexist. At the heart of this alternative half-light, the night, whether on Earth or in the cinema, is an immersive yet subversive experience, an invitation to dream together. The collective reappropriation of the night and its images re- quires us to open up our perception to what lies on the periphery and to imagine other worlds, other ways of building communities.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in 1970 in Bangkok and grew up in the city of Khon Kaen, in northeastern Thailand. Inde- pendently of Thailand’s commercial film industry, he strove to pro- mote experimental and independent cinema through his production company Kick the Machine, which he founded in 1999. Alongside his friend Gridthiya Gaweewong, in 1997 he founded the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, which he presided over for three edi- tions, up until 2008. He lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand. His work has had a significant presence in interna- tional artistic and cinematographic contexts, such as the Venice Biennial (2019), the Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates (2013), DOCUMENTA 13 in (Kassel, 2012), the Liverpool Bienni- al (2006), the Busan Biennial (2004) and the Istanbul Biennial (2001), as well as in the context of individual and collective exhi- bitions in art centres such as the Haus der Kunst in Munich, the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, the New Museum in New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In 2010, Weerasethakul’s film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. His feature films Cemetery of Splendour (2015), Syndromes and a Century (2006), Tropical Malady (2004), The Adventures of Iron Pussy (2003), Blissfully Yours (2002) and Mys- terious Object at Noon (2000) have also received considerable acclaim in Europe. His most recent feature film, Memoria (2021), was awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2021, where he also pre- sented The Year of the Everlasting Storm, a series of short films co-directed alongside other filmmakers and screened as part of a special session.