Motorcycling gangs—often unapproachable and intimidating to an outsider—carry with them an air of mystery. Emerging photographer Nattapon “Gaow” Nukulkam, who wanted to delve into this closed world to explore the reality of life in a gang, came across Madness MC, a group based in the hills outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over the course of six months, Gaow integrated himself within this community by following them closely, and was invited to participate in intimate celebrations reserved for the gang’s inner circle. What emerged was a photojournalistic series for his undergraduate thesis that gives a unique insight into an ostensibly impenetrable club. Made up of around 20 members, Madness practices motorcycle gang traditions such as initiation rituals and community values. But Gaow’s project breaks through the typical stereotypes and preconceptions that surround motorcycle gangs. At 22 years old, the young photographer was an unlikely candidate to end up in the midst of such a group, yet he brought sensitivity and perception to the photographs that could only have come from his position as an onlooker. He enables the audience to see past the solid, outer layers of the gang—beneath the tattoos and initiation ceremonies—and into the humanizing aspects that show the members as unique individuals. Gaow documents how they connect and interact with each other by playing with different perspectives. In May, the artist showed ArtAsiaPacific around his debut solo exhibition at Documentary Arts Asia in Chiang Mai, which featured his motorcycle gang series, and talked about his experience of making this striking collection of images.
In September, on a Bangkok rooftop, a group of ‘wanderers and forgetters’ recently offered their concerted support as one of them struggled to memorise and retell word-for-word a story written by Heman Chong. They were gathered at Bangkok’s The Reading Room for the third in a series of exhibitions orchestrated by Chong—previously at Rossi & Rossi in Hong Kong and Future Perfect in Singapore—entitled The Part Of The Story Where We Lost Count Of The Days. The three-part structure of this work exemplifies the peripatetic artist-curator ’s mobility and sociability.
For over two decades, Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak has been creating art that interprets the human form. Her latest installation was inspired by the severe floods that swept through Thailand in 2011, ravaging more than two thirds of the country and during which Ms. Sanpitak herself was forced to swiftly relocate from her studio and home in Bangkok to just outside the city. Induced by a feeling of uncertainty, and with the limited materials she had access to, the work consists of 18 dangling handmade hammocks expressing the human desire for comfort and the triumph of creativity in the midst of disaster. ArtAsiaPacific sat down with the artist to discuss her projects and the latest iteration of Hanging by a Thread (2012) currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which seems to have found a balance, now that the proverbial dust, or water, has settled.