Weightless Intersections (2022)

Oil on canvas

Dhanut Tungsuwan’s artworks revolve around the ‘Space Race’ between two superpowers, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), which began with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, a decade after the beginning of the Cold War. July 1975 marked the first joint space collaboration between the two disparate nations on Earth that, ironically, found common ground in Space. An intersection. Through his paintings of rockets, Dhanut explores the weightless intersection in space; For him, the rockets represent an intersection in object and time between the two nations, conceived as a product of their ambitions to rule and dominate the modern world. As an object, the rockets also symbolize various ideas derived from the events both surrounding their development and beyond, as well as are a metaphor for various things that the artist and many others have grown to become. The sheer size of physical rockets is also monumental in many ways, but, unlike actual monuments, they aren’t permanent.  They are powerful objects that are not only a representation of the peak of human ingenuity and collaboration, but also a testament and continuation of the human tradition of exploration and discovery.

However, where there’s light, there’s also shadow. Dhanut also reflects on the inconceivable amounts of resources required to fund this exploratory project, as well as whether it’s really necessary in the world today. Is NASA’s achievement really all of ours? The artist can’t help but ruminate on the parallels that this notion has with the economic structures of many countries across the world where the top few get to pull off extraordinary feats of ‘scientific progression,while the bottom many struggle just to barely get by. As much as a vessel towards the future, they are vessels of escape and forfeit. There is also something to be said about the rockets and their launches being a more recent and unnatural portrayal of the sublime. They are objects of celebration — and also, in some ways, objects of the sublime.

The paintings of these rockets serve as tangible embodiments of the aforementioned keys. The ideas they lock and unlock. They’re painted in the style reminiscent of Chinese and Russian propaganda posters from the aforementioned era. A parallel between the technical approach utilized and the way they both represent speculative futures. Fiction is important because it could become reality, and what is reality without speculation? These paintings are a reminder of just that. Both good and bad, yet inspiring and invigorating nonetheless.

Discover Khun Dhanut Tungsuwan‘s works at @sawangsawaisiwilai exhibition
Venue: Level 3,  Central: The Original Store
3 Mar ’22 – 27 Mar ’22

#SawangSawaiSiwilai @balm3001 @central.theoriginalstore

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