KHWAM WANG?

Where has the hope gone?

The Ratchaburi Pottery Factory is a place charged of meanings and full of beauty. I believed that any intervention within it shouldn’t fail to take into account its essence.

The factory is the first place I went when I arrived to Thailand, and somehow it represents my first encounter with the Thai universe. I couldn’t help but pay respect to its integrity and escape the temptation to use it as a site-specific location for my own performative work. To this end the performance is actually a film about the factory. I am a foreign subject, a character out of time who, through the mask, metaphorizes its life cycle.

I chose the story of Pandora to match my presence within the factory’s world. A way to bridge my world to the Thai one. Pandora had been sent by Zeus to punish Prometheus and the humankind, for stealing the fire from the gods. She carries with her a vase full of gifts from the gods, with the obligation never to open the vase. But Pandora is a woman, she is curious and she wants to know. Therefore, she opens the jar disattending the Zeus’s will. Five gifts emerge, but they turn out to be five misfortunes: old age, illness, madness, jealousy and vice. Pandora closes the jar immediately, but it is too late now. Humankind who was immortal until then, will forever be condemned to mortality, aging, madness, illness and be tormented in vice. However, the sixth gift remains eternally trapped in the jar, and this is the hope.

I thought I would tell the life cycle of the factory through Pandora’s metaphor. The barren earth is the world. The oven is god’s fire. Manual skill and work are the torment and bliss of men. The five vases that I created on site, each represent one of the gifts/misfortunes unfolded by Pandora. I dismembered the sixth vase in search of hope, but it was actually empty… 

Where has the hope gone? 

I find it back in the only and universal image of happiness. The only place where each of us doesn’t feel like foreigners. The place where part of that lost divine, still exists. This is maternal love and parental care. The image of the Nativity, treated as a musical composition of variations. There is a triptych which is the original theme, and there are ten pictorial variations on the same subject. 

Hope is among us until the love for our children overcomes the hatred for our brothers. We shall keep this gift as a mean to preserve humanity itself.

List of works

Natività Variation No. 1, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 2, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 2, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 4, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 5, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 6, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 7, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 8, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 9, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività Variation No. 10, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas
100 × 133 cm

Natività, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel on canvas, 100 × 264 cm

Follia / Gelosia / Malattia / Vecchiaia / Vizio / Spem, 2023
Engobbio, 63 × 55 × 55 cm

Capriccio BKK1, 2023
Collage and oil pastel on board
82 × 112 cm

Capriccio BKK2, 2023
Collage and oil pastel on board
82 × 112 cm

I.M. VAR, 2023
Digital print and oil pastel, 140 × 247 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Artist

Andrea Cusumano is a visual artist, performer and scholar of Italian and British nationality. His research is based on the dramaturgical use of the space and narratives, using a wide spectrum of practices including drawing, painting, ceramic, sculpture, installation, live-art and theatre.