Without Waiting for Her Reply

by Apichaya Wanthiang

USF Visningsrommet, Bergen 4.-13. April 

In the dark of night we enter a sparsely lit space. A red hue emanates from the dark structure
that we are guided through. Looking in from the outside, it seems recognizable as a kind of
shed, its rough outlines contrasting against the slightly infernal light escaping from under the
roof. Once inside, the structure reveals its particular materiality: the corrugated iron plates
with their rusty patches that make up the roof, the worn timber, the lighting itself which
envelops the structure in a surreal half-light. This space is neither here nor there. It creates an
atmosphere that is at once intimate and stifling, recognizable and unfamiliar. Like the liminal
space in a ritual, it opens the way to transformation. During the three hours of Apichaya
Wanthiang’s nightly exhibition Without Waiting for Her Reply, work and beholder meet each
half way in order to establish a new, temporary community.

The structure, built together with Christian Stefanescu, is reminiscent of so-called rest houses 
that are frequently found in the landscape of a Thai rice field. It is an architectural form 
indigenous to the artist’s native country, yet its execution in the exhibition space also 
transcends this particular cultural reference. It provides the orientation for the visitors as they 
move through the installation, imposing certain movements and attitudes that might not be 
natural to them, but that belong to the life originally lived in these buildings. Images of this 
life can be seen upon first entering the installation. A video consisting of a sequence of still 
and contemplative images evokes the rhythm of daily life in the artist’s native community. 
We can see its inhabitants carry out their labors and perform their rituals, as well as its 
surrounding landscape. More than painting a mere picturesque image, the video works 
together with the rest of the installation to install a specific temporal experience. On the one 
hand, its slowness requires a level of engagement on the part of the viewer. On the other hand, 
it is part of a collection of elements, including the installation structure itself and the subtitles 
to the video that are consciously presented as fragments, discouraging a linear reading.

Text: Esther Tuypens (extract) 

BEK, Bergen Kommune and the Arts Council Norway generously supported this exhibition. Thanks to USF-visningsrommet, and the installation has been developed and realised in collaboration with Cristian Stefanescu, Sindre Sørensen, Roar Sletteland and BEK.

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