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Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive

8 March - 2 June


M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, is pleased to present Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive. The display will open to public free of charge from Friday, 8 March 2024 at The Studio, M+. It includes works by Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970). Marking the first time the work is displayed in Hong Kong, Primitive (2009) is a multi-channel video installation that incorporates two other short films and an artist’s book.

Shot in Nabua, a community in northeastern Thailand near the artist’s hometown of Khon Kaen, Primitive follows the activities of a group of teenagers and observes their conversations, songs, and dreams. Woven into tender portraits and evocations of violence are impressions of local and personal histories, apparitions, and otherworldly journeys. The presentation includes two other single-channel works that complement the project: A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (2009) and Phantoms of Nabua (2009). Together, the projections in the presentation convey dreamlike vignettes and enigmatic evocations of light. Whether it depicts villagers participating in military re-enactments, recitations of a hypothetical personal letter, or a view of an ever-hovering spaceship, Weerasethakul’s work blurs the line between time, memory, and imagination. 

Originally trained as an architect, Apichatpong Weerasethakul began making short films and videos in 1994. His cinematic style fuses documentary with fiction, often alluding to folklore and fables to reflect political and social issues. Weerasethakul’s interest in the transmutational quality of image-making bridges his practices in visual art, moving image, and cinema. Elements of Primitive came to form his feature film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in the same year.

The presentation is in dialogue with the exhibition Shanshui: Echoes and Signals currently on display in the South Galleries, M+. Guided viewing of Primitive will be hosted during M+’s inaugural ‘Asian Avant-Garde Film Festival’ from 30 May to 2 June 2024. 



8 March
2 June
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