Vessels – Pongsakorn Yananissorn
Opening reception: Thursday 19:30 July 13, 2017
Exhibition date: July 14 to August 1, 2017
It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match. A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who was a master chess-player sat inside, controlling the hands of the puppet with strings. One can envision a corresponding object to this apparatus in philosophy. The puppet called “historical materialism” is always supposed to win. It can do this with no further ado against any opponent, so long as it employs the services of theology, which as everyone knows is small and ugly and must be kept out of sight.
Excerpt from Theses on the Philosophy of History, Walter Benjamin
The difficulties of maintaining a singular narrative in the contemporary era contributes towards a fragmented and amoral frame of reference, spiralling towards a secular future denouncing all that is elevated and out of reach. Ironically, this rejection of modernist rhetoric is seen as a religious experience for some, and in opposition, castrates these common notions of a higher state on the basis of its sociological, religious, artistic or political narrative.
Vessels is a manifestation of a safe-house we have never left. Exploring the architecture of the monument and the performative aspects of the authoritarian pedestal through the imageries that represent archaic modes of power and control. The amalgamation of these motifs serve to exaggerate the representation of power as essential and singular entities; as superpowers that have never experienced the unveil of the fourth wall.
Pongsakorn Yananissorn‘s practice investigates and expands on naturalized experiences and unobserved paradoxes in which ideologies are at their most potent. Employing various mediums that correlates to their own socioeconomic and historical specificities his projects often take form in subtle interventions and tongue-in-cheek responses.
His recent works take a position in which existential troubles, frictions of the human condition are born of negotiations of spaces. Negotiations with and for spaces are at its primal act our attempts at taming the chaos that is unknowable. Through different projects Pongsakorn attempts to perform these negotiations through inappropriations of private and public spaces, from the personal to the institutional. This extends as well to his curatorial practice, in which is currently the co-founder and curator of Plaza Projects in Richmond. Born in Thailand, he currently lives and works in Vancouver.