In the Conversation Piece exhibition, Latthapon Korkiatarkul presents series of pictorial monochromy which reinforce his nuanced, contemplative, and process-driven artistic operation. Whilst omitting visual and socio-political realities, the artist focuses on demonstrating the continuum in pictorial practice by means of inherent methods — painting and drawing. In sync with the open-end approach framework, Korkiatarkul employs the intrinsic elements of art — lines, values, colours, textures and picture plane, as his subject to tackle our objective perception (of reality). As the exhibition title suggests, it is an open invitation to the audience.
Series of monochromatic work entitled Painting and Drawing, Korkiatarkul applies, by linear and painterly methods, numbers of medium such as graphite pencil, ink and paint onto paper sheets and canvases. Various grades of graphite — from F, HB and different degrees of H (hard) to B (black), are used in the Drawing series, whereas multiple mediums — linseed oil, varnish, ink and paint, are employed in Painting series. The picture planes are altered by the amount of pressure placed on the graphite pencil; the even or inconsistent pressure applies with each layer; the application of grades of graphite or layers of paint and ink; the consistency and frequency of strokes that affect paper tooth and canvas surface; the treatment of what appears fallen onto the picture plane during the long haul settling in the studio, as the process goes. The artist does not plainly create an optical unity allowing for the simultaneous perception of all the planes as in non-representational and non-objective qualities. In fact, the implication of mediums, methods and conception in Korkiatarkul’s operation creates subtle transformation and materialisation. The materialisation of the subversive operation communicates solely through the physicality of the exhibited works, the expanding pictorial sensibility.
By means of process-driven and monochromic approaches affixing to open-ended framework, Korkiatarkul emphasises the concrete materiality of the mediums. From Formalist perspective, a painting is a flat object and there should be no illusion of three dimensions. Thus, all the elements of a painting should be located on the picture plane. In this line of thought, the artist touches on inherent characteristics linked to visual and materiality of the Formalist strategy. The picture plane is the focal point of his endeavour. Nonetheless, the application of paints and graphites are built up layers upon layers shifting the materiality of the paper, from being flat object to a more three dimensional one. In parallel to another pictorial practice, the black dissolve in film-making is a form of punctuation that articulates the transition from one space to another, and from one time to another. The imperceptible arrangement of Conversation Piece in the gallery space operates similar experience as it respectively escalates the materiality of the monochromies and articulates the transition from one to another.
Discerning the poetic property in Korkiatarkul’s artistic operation, Painting and Drawing series are consequentially determined by the array of intellectual and emotional frequencies which to be activated by the act of seeing. Especially in the Drawing series, the chronological passage of the artistic operation manifests and reveals in hindsight the continuous signals, the density of strokes and gestures, that represents prolonged engagement intervening the artist’s conception with subject/medium and notions of time. The artist explained his working method — “Whilst settling myself in the studio, I kept on working out the remaining problems and worked further until I felt the piece is done.” He explained when being asked to clarify the completion of each engagement — “A while I have liked practicing drawing. Usually, I would just stop when a picture was established as a sketch.” In this sense, the pictorial materialities of the Painting and Drawing series utter visible and invisible fluctuations transferring from the artist to the audience. Literally, the Conversation Piece exhibition is an initiative to be deciphered, comprehended or, at least, felt.
In another line of thought, the intensity of line-drawing method and chance element in Korkiatarkul’s works metaphorically resemble noise and hiss in soundscape. The hiss sound is not something heard normally but it shows up in audio recordings somewhere along the way, the imperfections that creep into the sound. The same is true in photography. Noise is grainy veil obscuring details and making the picture appear significantly imperfect. Although, the white noise is the effect of the complete range of audible sound-wave frequencies that can be heard simultaneously. In context of series of work entitled Painting and Drawing, the analogue combination of hiss and noises consist of equal magnitude of all frequencies of the perceptible spectrum. The arrangements of traces of dust, insects, hairs, rubber scrapes and ripped paints in composition with translucent and oblique surfaces resonate the milieu of endeavour of Korkiatarkul in the process of time.
“The longer I looked at the painting, the less clear was the threshold between reality and unreality, flat and solid, substance and image. Like Van Gogh’s mailman, who, the longer you looked, seemed to take on a life of his own. Same with the crows that he painted—nothing but rough black lines, but they really did seem to be soaring through the sky.” — Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore, 2017
(text) originally written in English by Chitti Kasemkitvatana