Photographs by Krerkburin Kernburi
Words by Onin Lorente
Published on July 3, 2022
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Photographer Krerkburin Kernburi captures human behaviours in the SurrealLand!. The pictures, if viewed seriously, allow us to be critical, possibly revealing issues relevant to our society.
In one picture, two persons bend themselves, their faces hidden. In another frame, a child squats down while leaning forward. The gestures are random. Several snapshots highlight the eyes; one is on a screen, a second is on a phoropter( an instrument to measure and correct vision), and a third is with a plaster. The choice of the subject is curious. These are some of the intriguing images from Krerkburin Kerngburi’s SurrealLand!. The series are shots of unusual scenes, bizarre assemblages of symbols and objects, and chance compositions of “slipping social semblances and absurdities of realities”.
Chiang Mai-based photographer Krerkburin grew up surrounded by dark humour. Dark humour presents and explores taboo topics such as politics, racism and violence in a thought-provoking, light and comedic expression. This environment combined with street art formed the basis for his photography. “I like to observe ridiculous things that are going on around me, and I like to take a photo of that to invite other people to ask questions about things. In a way, I reflect my own criticism towards the world, broader and more understandable with photographs,” Krerkburin tells LINEAL.
Krerkburin’s visual introspection expanded as the world became smaller while his understanding of life widened. He lived in Melbourne and Bristol; travelled to London, Paris and Yangon. “When I travel, my eyes open like a child’s eyes, and I feel like I need to learn and use photography to perceive everything surrounding me,” the lensman (also an observant man) says. The pictures he captured from those cities are unpredictable and surreal — an impression that is consistent in his photographic works.
Upon returning to Thailand in 2020, Krerkburin started the series, SurrealLand!, as a sarcastic and critical commentary on his homeland. Combined with his archive works from 2014, the images are extraordinary shots of ordinary days of life. These are “twists from wrong to right, and right to wrong” in society, seen, but sometimes disregarded. “My work is satirical on this point. I use humour because it is simple and straightforward; at the same time, it can subtly reveal meaningful undertones, encourage scepticism, and provoke new questions about the culture itself. In my country, we can’t speak about everything we think in the public space, ” says the photographer, allowing viewers to dissect these issues leaving a silent conversation between himself, the images and us — viewers.
In our own SurrealLand!, do we continue to bow down and embrace conventions that do not bring good results? Do we recognise faults or inappropriate actions and take the courage to resolve and correct those? Or do we turn a blind eye?
Krerkburin takes pictures, and opens up discussions.
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