As we continue to fight Covid-19 by staying indoors, social isolation has inevitably taken a toll on our mental and emotional wellbeing. In some cases, it has taken away our ability to walk outside and enjoy the fresh air, to see loved ones and peers, to have intimate conversations or to simply traverse freely outside of our domains. For many, it has completely flipped their sense of reality.
But while all of this locking down has been damaging, it has also bred transformative and unique artwork that comes as a result of struggle, frustration and isolation. Bryce Watanasoponwong's latest series, Illusion, is no exception.
A Bangkok-based, Thai-Australian street photographer and abstract artist, his photographs bend our perception of space and time and really makes us question our state of reality. "Triggered by a sense of instability during the lockdown," Watanasoponwong tells Creative Boom, "these hazy, off-kilter images translate a strange combination of serenity and restlessness."
He elaborates that isolation due to Covid-19 has taken away his ability to wander the city's bustling streets, manoeuvre through neighbourhoods and document what he sees, ultimately leaving him in a "fog, a daze". Untethered from his own reality, Watanasoponwong began to wonder whether or not that "fog" was the true nature of the world or just a figment of his imagination and current perception.
In a poetic attempt to capture this emotion, the photographs in Illusion are varying: while some look as if they could be glitches in video games, others are reminiscent of museum paintings.
"What is reality?" is the recurring theme. By questioning our reality, we give ourselves the opportunity to see things with a fresh perspective, discovering the value in the minute details and finding stories in the periphery.
Watanasoponwong, himself a student of the philosophy of reality and reflecting on his perceptions during this unprecedented moment, ends by urging us to do just one thing: "break from the tunnel vision and distinguish the thoughts and feelings that are real from those that aren't" and find "inner peace and truth in their existence when your mind is free of illusions.".