Thai artist Wichak Yangnok’s (b. 1998) paintings depict still and abandoned scenes of the world after a plague. Uncannily prophetic, they were made before the current global pandemic. Today, when half of humanity is confined to their homes and entire cities are deserted, these works carry a particularly ominous significance.
Drawing on a mastery of light reminiscent of Matthias Stomer, Dirck van Baburen and the Flemish School, Wichak creates spots in these empty spaces that seem to be illuminated by the spirits of the deceased. These highly varnished images seem to invite us to observe life, or what remains of it in an afterlife of sorts, behind a laboratory glass—it appears preserved, untouched and out of reach. There is despair and stupefaction trapped in these scenes, as if frozen by an invisible enemy. Observing from a detached distance, Wichak positions the viewer beyond time and space so we can start to question the very idea of life.