Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

16 May 2014

PHOTOGRAPHY: BANGKOK

Postcards from Thailand

The latest exhibition at Bangkok’s RMA Institute, Postcards from Thailand, showcases a collection of 20 card-keepsakes collected by photographer Kamthorn Paowattanasuk during his travels across the country. Inspired by the quaint tradition of sending postcards and also the bygone hand-colouring techniques that were once used to liven up analogue photography, Paowattanasuk has added splashes of new colour to the black-and-white images using that essential modern tool of any contemporary snapper — Photoshop. He hopes to show viewers images and memories of his beloved homeland while lending new life to postcards that were once consigned to history.

RMA Institute, 238 Soi Sainamthip 2, Sukhumvit 22 Road, Khlong Toei district. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-18.00. Until 8 June.
rmainstitute.net

FILM FESTIVAL: SEATTLE

40th Seattle International Film Festival

The Seattle International Film Festival celebrates its 40th edition across the city’s cinemas this weekend. With 440 films from 83 countries and 44 world premieres, it is the largest of its kind in the US. On Saturday, Desert Cathedral is showing at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It’s the debut feature by New York-based director Travis Gutiérrez and based on the true tale of Peter Collins, a debt-laden property agent (played by American actor Lee Tergesen) who vanished into the desert of the southwestern US in 1992, leaving little more than a few VHS tapes for clues. Gutiérrez has incorporated the use of actual Collins-family videos to give the feature an uncomfortable dose of reality while maximising its emotional impact.

Screenings are across Seattle, see website for details. Until 8 June.
siff.net

ART: LONDON

Jacky Tsai: Eastern Orbit

If in London this weekend, pay the Scream gallery a visit to see contemporary Chinese artist Jacky Tsai’s solo exhibition Eastern Orbit, which combines Chinese craft with western pop imagery. As part of the show, the Shanghai-born artist revives the 1,600-year-old tradition of using carved lacquer as a medium. In Tsai’s work, burly superheroes make startling appearances among the images of conventional floral scenes and traditional Chinese life, lending his pieces a comic and modern twist while reflecting the progression of capitalism, globalisation and consumerism in Asia.

Scream gallery,
27-28 Eastcastle Street.
Open Monday to Friday, 10.00-18.00. Until 20 June.
screamlondon.com

INK DRAWINGS: TORONTO

Toshio Saeki

Narwhal Projects gallery in Toronto is hosting a daring selection of works from 1977 to 1983 by Japanese ink-drawing master Toshio Saeki. Known as the “Godfather of Japanese eroticism”, Saeki’s signature lies in depicting fantastical, sexual, and at times grotesquely surreal images in a playful style – be ready for some very strange sights. “Nakayoshi” (pictured) shows two girls jumping on the oversized head of a demon as two ladies stand by giggling. Why? You’d have to ask Toshio Saeki. While there’s room for plenty of interpretation in his works, one thing is for certain – what might be an amusing stroll into the imagination for some is bound to be slightly challenging viewing for others.

Narwhal Projects, 2104 Dundas Street West. Open Monday to Wednesday by appointment; Thursday to Saturday, 12.00-18.00. Until 24 May.
narwhalprojects.com

MUSIC: GLOBAL

Tobacco: Ultima II Massage

Tobacco is the moniker of US analogue-synth nut (and leader of the similarly darkly fantastic band Black Moth Super Rainbow) Thomas Fec. His records arrive like some twisted negative-image version of the wider sugar-sweet pop landscape – full of unhinged slo-mo disco drenched in warm ‘70s keyboard sounds and creepily disturbing textures surrounded by a nostalgic hiss last heard during the golden age of cassettes and VHS. With song titles as enjoyably vacuous as “Self Tanner”, “Lipstick Destroyer” and “Good Complexion”, it’s clear that Ultima II Massage is both on-purposefully idiotic while being artfully self-aware – and it doesn’t try to hide that twisted conflict. Fec, on the other hand, is more elusive, often choosing not to show his face – he lets the music do the talking instead. And it’s saying some pretty weird stuff.

‘Ultima II Massage’ is available to buy now.
maniacmeat.com

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