THE WAY OF QUALITY LIVING
AN EXHIBITION BY CHRISTOPHER WISE
JULY 9 – AUGUST 14, 2016
WTF GALLERY AND CAFE, BANGKOK
‘The Way of Quality Living’ photography exhibition is Christopher’s reflection on his years of living in Bangkok. Observing the city’s architectural fabric fast-forwarding into an air-conditioned globalized Dubai-Singapore aesthetic created primarily for a handful of its citizens, Christopher became drawn to the often overlooked, decaying architecture from the 70s. To the eye of the artist, these buildings represent a lost promise of a time when Thais did things for themselves, before their wholesale embrace of commercial Nowhereland.
Now these buildings are seen as tawdry and unkempt, but he finds a dignity in this shabbiness, which embodies trial and effort and thwarted dreams. For Christopher the documentation is also a way to reflect on Thailand’s current social, economic and political issues.
When he shows the old, rusted and eroded façades of buildings caged in their steel fretwork, he imagines the owners within their home-fortress-outposts: they have rejected any civic participation, turning inwards from both the elusive gleaming future promised by the elite and the simple interactions of the Thai street. The shutters go up in the morning and come down in the evening, but their tunnel vision means they rarely notice more than their own patch of grimy pavement outside.
Viewers at the exhibition will be forced to stand close to or pass through or around the various images printed on fabric, walling off the centre of the gallery rather than mounted on the walls. The fabric printing itself creates a veil or covering, so that once the display is dismantled it is possible to imagine literally wrapping yourself in the fabric of old Bangkok.