#Revisit | [Transcript] Actants by Mit Jai Inn Walkthrough with Curator Erin Gleeson

Every week, we’ll be sharing a video, notes, or images from our past exhibitions in a series we’re calling #revisit.


Actants marks Mit Jai Inn’s first solo exhibition in Silverlens. Known for his boundary-defying paintings, Mit Jai Inn challenges convention in his use of light, color, and structure. Here, the artist extends his homage and playful dissent from the tenets of modernism by venturing into the realm of textiles and weaving. Here, Curator Erin Gleeson surveys the exhibit, explaining the artist’s thought process behind each series, from his early Wall Works to his most recent Loops.

Watch the full walkthrough of “Actants” by Mit Jai Inn on our IGTV.

Walkthrough Transcript

Erin Gleeson: The title Actants refers to both human and non-human agents as equal participants in an ongoing set of transformations. And this is a metaphor for Mit’s collaboration with light, color, labour, and time, and it’s in relation to metaphysical, political, and social constructions of power and belief. So, in Actants, Mit is extending his homage and playful dissent from tenets of modernism. This time, we see rich crossings into the realm and language of textiles and weaving.

Actants sees the revered geometry of the grid and its line segments unbound. He transforms these into three-dimensional, pliable, modular units, which he refers to as “ribbons”.

Screens are a part of and transformative to Mit’s ongoing series Wall Works. Beginning in Berlin in 1986, Wall Works were brightly colored, unframed, touchable paintings shown in both public and private spaces. From curbs to galleries, taxis to apartments, Mit was interested in relational aspects to conventional painting, market, and exhibitionary frameworks. With Screens, we see two-sided suspended wall works, slit, they create buoyant ribbon panels. Hanging like warp looms without weights, these breathable filters are intended to act as navigational devices luring and cleansing distracted, stagnant or wounded energies.

The series Patch Works began in 1999 with reference to the dystopian and utopian potentiality around the coming of a new millennium. Energies of uncertainty familiar to Mit during the Cold War in Southeast Asia from his perspective of rural northern Thailand. Patch Works calls for expansive ideals of familial and societal structures by joining the pieces from different sources into a new entity. This mimics the dividing and reassembling of individual and collective consciousness before and after major shifts.

While previous Patch Works combine grid-based units into quilt-like forms, the new work evolves into a large-scale wall based weaving. Its weft of very gated ribbons are anchored by bold salvages, while its warp is snagged and looped into anarchic compositions that hint at legible forms such as musical scores or algorithms.

The exhibition also features a new series of smaller works called Loops. Composed of a single ribbon unit with slits, Loops’ color-blocked salvages are brought together as if a pair. They naturally drop open revealing its tri-part structure and two-face color. Loops are put in dialogue with a selection of early works that have been reworked. They include the intimately scaled slit and frayed color filled paintings called Dream Works (begun in 1999) and the sculptural spirals called Scrolls (begun in 2003). 

All of these forms reference communal ritual objects that are intended to create merit fields and protections for both their makers and their publics.