Year: 2016
Length: 4:46 minutes
Format: Digital (HD)
Ratio: 16:9
Sound: Surround 5.1
Dialog: No Dialog
Production countries: Thailand/ Singapore

Jenjira Pongpas Widner
Banlop Lomnoi

Commissioned by
National Gallery Singapore

ABLAZE premiered at the 27th Singapore Film Festival, November 24, 2016


A moving painting, brushed with black shadows on white. A man and a woman standing in the dark wood. They’re looking for something but the man blocks the woman's vision. A mysterious blaze is burning bright, but she will not be able to see.


Commissioned by the National Gallery Singapore, five award-winning directors, Joko Anwar, Ho Yuhang, Brillante Mendoza, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Eric Khoo, band together in this first ever collaboration inspired by the Gallery’s collection of Southeast Asian art.

My visit to the National Gallery was memorable experience, with two major encounters. The first was the double paintings by Raden Saleh, ‘Eruption by Day’ and ‘Eruption by Night’, both were done in 1865. I was hit with an unexplained melancholy. They were frozen cinematic frames at the vertex of violence. A force of perpetual destruction danced back and forth between the two paintings. And there was a flag, a tiny one at the volcano’s base. The curiosity led me to learn more about Mr. Saleh and the stories behind his works. To me, the enigma of the mountain exemplified the region’s suffering and its hidden histories. The eruption freed the lights from their trappings. Politically, we are in the various stages of this phenomenon. We are never dormant.

Stacks Image 14616
Stacks Image 14618
My second impression was at the museum’s foyer. Coming out of the exhibition rooms, I was temporarily disoriented by the change of scale, and of light. The artworks was dwarfed by the monstrosity of the sky. Yet, like a mirage, the volcano remained hover over the modern architecture. There was a web of metal meshes at the glass ceiling, softening the light. Beneath these structures was a giant tree-like column. This artificial flora seemed to branch out to the light, for liberation. Ablaze is inspired by these two sources of illuminations: the light of Raden Saleh and the light on the metal tree.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag
  • Image ALT tag