Apichatpong was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998.
Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent film-making through his company Kick the Machine. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture.
In 2008, the French Minister of Culture bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature).
In 2012, his phantom sculpture was unveiled at Documenta (13), one of the best known of major international art exhibitions held in Kassel, Germany. In 2013 the Sharjarh Art Foundation commissioned a new work, Dilbar, a portrait of a labour worker in the UAE. The work won one of seven Sharjah Biennial 11 prizes, Weerasethakul also curated the film programme for the Biennial.
Recent exhibitions include: Monuments, ShangArt, Shanghai, China (2017); Ghosts in the Darkness, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; Tate Film Pioneers, Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Mirages, Tate Modern, London; Floating Worlds, Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2017).