During the first wave of Covid lockdown here in Bangkok, I, like everybody, had to stay confined. Luckily, the place that we were staying has a garden but in the middle of the city. So, I started taking pictures of insects. To my surprise I discovered more than a hundred species inside my garden. When I was younger, I always wondered how would a gecko catch a meal out of these fast-flying flies and mosquitos. After discovering the amount of vast array of variations of possible diets. I was in awe. I was in awe that in a city that feels like a desert for other living things such as Bangkok there are still unbelievable networks of lives that are supporting one another from fungi to trees to insects to common house geckos, birds, and mammals, and to me.
These images here are of common house geckos scouting their hunting grounds by the lights in front of stores in Bangkok at night. It is fascinating to realize that our energy consumption to work and visibility and to live in the city is a source that connects us and other species’ evolution together. Another image is of a lone butterfly with part of a tip of its right wing missing as it weathered its life in the city.
As for me, I was 5 years old when I discovered a lifeless body of a gecko in my pencil case that a mean kid put it there. The rotten smell lingered for months and somehow, without knowing what to do, I kept using that pencil case hoping that one day the smell would go away. It was a special pencil case that can open on both sides. I guess the kid who put it there was trying to pull a prank and did not know that the smell of death would linger for months. Every day when I needed to use my pencil, I would have to smell the trace of rotten body that remained in the case. Remembering vividly, it was my first memory of encountering a common house gecko.
As for my son, the sound made to claim territory of common house gecko was one of the first animal sounds that he noticed and imitated as there was a family of geckos living inside our bedroom. They would chirp at night and my son, who was less than one year old and unable to speak at the time, would wake up in the middle of the night and cooed along with the sound. In the midst of all these, my wife came up with a short lullaby to put him back to sleep.
It goes like this:
“Jok Jok krub Rong pleng hai Prinn Prinn fung noi krub jok jok jok jok” (Repeat until going back to sleep)
Translation: Sir/Madam gecko, please sing for my son, Prinn.
This text above is from 12 Common House Geckos and a Butterfly artist book. This book is made on the occasion of A Lens to See the World Through, first presentation of the artist at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022.
Now showing at BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY The Commoner's House by Dusadee Huntrakul. Curated by John Z.W. Tung.
In A Lens to See the World Through, Dusadee Huntrakul presents new creations from a developing body of work that prompts a recognition of shared spaces of existence. Comprising fantastical bronze sculptures and hyperrealistic drawings, the works within the presentation recognize the city as a site of coexistence between humans and other living beings. Encompassing a vast network of ideas and contemplations distilled into easily arrestable forms and images drawn from common everyday experiences that everyone has access to, the works are reflective of his eloquent approaches to conveying his humanist themes. In doing so, the presentation proposes new ways of seeing and connecting with the world around us.
Expounding on existing themes that have characterized Dusadee Huntrakul’s practice, the exhibition of new artworks that comprise cast brass pieces, photographs, and ceramic sculptures reveals an expanded array of materials that the artist has employed in his artmaking practice since They Talk in 2019. Consolidating these varied artistic endeavors and interests in a singular exhibition makes apparent their intertwining relationships, reiterating the artist’s committed focus towards offering new ways of seeing, perceiving, and evaluating the connections between all living beings.
Born in 1978, Bangkok, Thailand. Lives and works in Bangkok