Worry and Love (erasing process)
Working on the landscape photography, the depth of field, the perspective, the photomontage technique and the imagination. Originally the images in this series contained human subjects and explored their interaction with the idea of living in space. Through the use of photomontage techniques the human form have been removed from the image, leaving shadow as a trace of experience in the surface layer.
Interview with David Teh, Curator of 3 Young Contemporaries: Itineraries exhibition at Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, 2011
David Teh: Where were these pictures taken?
Kornkrit Jianpinidnan: The Worry and Love series was taken when I revisited Chiang Mai in 2006-07, for a documentary job at Ban Yang village. The district had been hit by flash floods and landslides in 2006. My starting point for the series was a memory of a ‘depth of field’ class when I was studying photography, of looking through a layer of rain at the landscape behind.
DT: So what is the ‘erasing process’?
KJ: I worked with people from my past, who still lived in Chiang Mai; I watched them interact with spaces that had been lodged in my memory since I had lived there. My first idea was to do some post-production, to create something magical. In one of the images, (No.1) I retouched my friend Santipap, realising his wish to be pregnant. After exhibiting these images in Chiang Mai, I became obsessed by the audience’s reactions: some laughed, some marveled, and it made me think about how we perceive the impossible, about magic… The appearance of human figures gives to the landscape a form and an attitude, so I decided to erase the figure from the image, leaving just shadows, as a trace of experience… It was like editing, rewinding the tape and processing a memory into something new. It was a way of thinking about reality and virtual reality, of thinking about landscape in terms of photomontage… With this idea of erasing, I revisited the places of my memories. When I saw the tree (No. 4), it seemed to me like a door to a cave in The Lord of the Rings. So I took a picture of the guide who took me to this tree, and of the surrounding area. It was the last destination on that trip. For the other images – No.12 and No.10 (in the canal) – I had a more objective interest in what was visible.
DT: Perhaps the erasure of the figure doesn't make the photo any more or less real, but rather, opens a dimension of time in the landscape. Like the landscape has its own memory… Sometimes you work with video too, as in your Phraya Prab project. What's the relation between your photography and the moving image? Is cinema an inspiration?
KJ: In my early work I tended to think in terms of the snapshot, of capturing a moment in time. In the Neo-Romantic series (1998), I looked for the unexpected moment, the accidental, between the moment and what follows. This instant becomes a scene for the audience, a reality, a situation confronted in time and space; it can make something happen. But the moving image gives more of a context – as in the Phraya Prab video – and it can lead to a point of satisfaction. For me, the still image takes us straight to the most important point of being, to the immortal or the unforgettable... Cinema makes the imagination move, perhaps it’s more about the future than the still? It can stimulate fantasies – many times I’ve been stuck in its trap.
DT: The composition of your images is often ‘all-over’ – like abstract expressionism –distributed across the whole surface. Nature has been ‘cropped’, rather than framed. There’s the suggestion of a path, the hint of a form, something to be approached. But it’s momentary, as if the form could only appear right here, from this point of view.
KJ: In my compositions, the visible field is cropped, as a surface layer. For the illusion of texture I sometimes leave some real air, or light coming through when the sun is in front of the camera. This is the magic moment I wish for, that frozen zone is overwhelming. It's like the landscape itself is hallucinating, haunted by memories. What do you think about Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold: the falling rocket?
DT: I’ve noticed this in several of your photos – the ‘air or light coming through’ – like the ‘screen’ of the image is permeable. I see this admission in Apichatpong’s work too. And in Whistler's famous painting of the fireworks, with its shadowy figures (one of them erased) by the Thames… Perhaps we could place your work in the heroic tradition of the sublime – the romanticism of Friedrich, Turner – the pre-history of modernism’s ‘all-over’ painting. Light is totally diffused, scattered. What does this mean to a photographer?
KJ: I was thinking about another painting you talked about, in Khon Kaen, of the housemaid with the milk jug (Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, c.1660). But the nocturne is more abstract. The title, too, refers to a present moment of perception. This is the still image with the idea of movement. Artificial light makes something appear, like dharmic truth, making you aware of what’s going on around you…
By correspondence, Bangkok and Singapore, February 2011
List of exhibitions
2014 - Ballad Of A Thin Man, 338 OIDA Gallery, Bangkok
- Residence program, Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle
2013 - An Interior Appearance, The Social Dance Club, Chiang Mai
- ‘Elsewhere’ begins here and vice versa, H Gallery Bangkok
- Possession (1), Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok
- Sovereign Asian Art Prize, finalist exhibition, Hong Kong and Seoul
2012 - Deep yellow, Magenta, Violet, Ultramarine...Almost Blue, Space 1/2, Messy shop, Bangkok
- spirit/night, Hyde&Seek bar and restaurant, Bangkok
2011 - Itineraries, 3 Young Contemporaries, Valentine Willes Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur
- Worry and Love (erasing process no. 15), 3147966 cm3 Mobile Gallery, Chiang Mai
- Bangkok Density, Gallery Biagiotti, Florence
2009 - Drawing, AS YET UNNAMED 1st station, Misiem’s (About Studio/About Cafe), Bangkok
2008 - 1st Singapore International Photography Festival, 2902 Gallery, Singapore
2007 - Worry and Love, F Gallery, Hatena Bar & Restaurant, Chiang Mai
installation view of Worry and Love, F Gallery, Hatena Bar & Restaurant, Chiang Mai, 2007
installation view of Worry and Love, 2008, 1st Singapore International Photography Festival, 2902 Gallery, Singapore
installation view of Worry and Love, 2009, Drawing, AS YET UNNAMED 1st station, Misiem’s (About Studio/About Cafe), Bangkok
installation view of Worry and Love, 2011, Itineraries, 3 Young Contemporaries, Valentine Willes Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur
installation view of Worry and Love (erasing process no. 15), 2011, 3147966 cm3 Mobile Gallery, Chiang Mai
collaboration with Torlarp Larpjaroensook
Road line paint on wood size 122 cm.x141 cm., Duratrans print, size 50.8 x 76.2 cm, conversation transcript booklet, size 21 cm. x 14.5 cm.
installation view of Worry and Love, 2011
Bangkok Density, Gallery Biagiotti, Florence
Worry and Love (erasing process no. 14),
Gold dust, inkjet print on paper size 100 x 150 cm., Glass table
installation view of Worry and Love, 2012, Deep yellow, Magenta, Violet, Ultramarine...Almost Blue, Space 1/2, Messy shop, Bangkok
true love leave no traces (worry and love), Photocopy on fluorescent tube, Size variable
installation view of Worry and Love, 2012, spirit/night, Hyde&Seek bar and restaurant, Bangkok
The night, 2012, 12 Zodiac signs neon sculpture, size variable and Worry and Love (erasing process No. 3), Black and White montage photograph, Lambda print on plaswood, 120 x 180 cm.
Worry and Love (erasing process no.16), Color montage photograph, printed cd cover, 13 x 12.5 cm.
An Interior Appearance, The Social Dance Club, Chiang Mai
Installation view of Worry and Love, 2013, ‘Elsewhere’ begins here and vice versa, H Gallery Bangkok
Worry and Love (erasing process No. 17), 2011, Color montage photograph, Lamda print on Plasswood on rocks, 120 x 180 cm.
Worry and Love collaboration with Tada Hengsapkul, Orawan Arunrak, Henry Tan, 2013, 9 Color montage photographs, Lambda print on Plasswood, each 52 x 80 cm.
installation view of Worry and Love, 2013, Possession (1), Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok
installation view of Worry and Love, 2014, Ballad Of A Thin Man, 338 OIDA Gallery, Bangkok
installation view of Worry and Love, 2014, Residency program, Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle, Collaboration with Trio Petrichor