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When the First Thought is Touch

Apichaya Wanthiang

August 19 – September 11, 2021

Press Release

Galleri Brandstrup is proud to announce our first painting installation by Apichaya Wanthiang; When the First Thought is Touch. The exhibition will open on August 19 at 6 PM, and run through September 11, 2021.

every body
else, uncounted
a speck of dust in oxidised red sand

When the first Thought is Touch attempts to evoke the experience of synchrony. Experiencing synchrony or being in synch simply means you are attuned to something or someone. To feel like you are connected with day to day activities such as cooking, cleaning, or meeting people. It involves rhythm and all of our bodily senses.

My childhood experiences of performing rituals at the village temple instilled in me a bodily connection with others. I felt a connection with them when walking together to donate food to the spirits, when chanting mantras I could not understand or when awkwardly forcing my body to sit still in a certain position for meditation. As I grow older, I understand that these gestures tie us together – the people performing it right then and there – but it also binds us to those who have performed those same gestures in the times before us.

The source material for Wanthiang’s new series of paintings is enlarged images of the scattered grounds left after the mass-cremations of covid-19 victims in India. These blown-up, grainy, ghostly and blotted-out images are translated into a tactile and scaled-up painting surface. The paintings are enlargements of details and fragments allowing viewers to move with and within them. In this way, the work opens up a space where painting can potentially resonate with the sensory knowledge present in our bodies.

The exhibition title is borrowed from the interview Siri Hustvedt in conversation with Hanneline Røgeberg. The work in this exhibition is indebted to the book The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van der Kolk. I want to say a special thank you to The Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale (NKD), and the true friendships I found there, which enabled me to do this work at all.

Apichaya Wanthiang (B. 1987, Bangkok, Thailand) holds a BA from Sint-Lukas, Brussel and an MA in Fine Arts from Bergen Academy of Art and Design (KHiB). Through a range of different mediums and approaches, Wanthiang constructs environments in order to study how they influence our perceptions, behaviours and interactions. Wanthiang has worked part time as Assistant Professor at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, and the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) in Bergen. She worked as a guest teacher at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. She has been on the board of LNM, the Norwegian Painters Association and is currently on the board of UKS, The Young Artists’ Society. Her work is part of Oslo Kommunes Kunstsamling, and Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum. She has recently finalised an immersive wall-based installation at NMBU campus Ås (KORO), and ten permanent murals at the newly built Ruseløkka Skole (Kulturetaten).


The Exhibition Team
Exhibition design: Nicolai Ramm Østgaard
Artists assistant: Jasmine Christensson
Technician: Markus Moestue
Exhibition text: Esther Tuypens and Apichaya Wanthiang

The exhibition is kindly supported by Norske Billedkunstnere, and was produced during the artist stay at The Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale (NKD).