see more his works at www.rama9art.org/manit_s
Manit show opens in Singapore
Artist's satirical take on modern Thailand gets an international audience .
Through photographic images, Manit Sriwanichpoom builds stories which reveal everyday life with as much transparency and "truth" as the camera can unveil. Adopting both direct provocation and irony, Manit delights in sharp observations and exposes of the foibles of Thai society. His work is steeped in realism and by and large, is about satirising the supposed benefits of urbanisation.
Ostensibly banal images and overtly political statements characterise the exciting mix and creative richness of Manit's photographic images. His best-known work is Pink Man, a photography-based project conceived in 1997. Aided by a friend, artist and poet Sompong Thawee, his iconic subject is featured all tailored up in a signature pink suit. Manit went on to create a trilogy of street performances with "Pink Man" symbolising the excessive vulgarity and perversion of consumerist desire in Thai society. One of the shots won him second place in the Leopold Godowsky Jr Colour Photography Awards. This work is still being explored, with the latest series included in this exhibition.
"Pink Man on Tour, 1998 - 2000" was originally produced as a reaction against the Tourism Authority of Thailand's campaign, "Amazing Thailand''. The series depicts the ironies of a Thai society engulfed by consumerism and engaging in deception in connection with cultural heritage and tourism.
There are two segments within this series. In one, Pink Man is seen posing stoically among the tourist attractions of Thailand while the second has Pink Man posing among urban dwellers on the streets of Graz, Austria.
"The Shocking Pink Collection, 1998'' consists of life-sized photographs of Pink Man placed in light boxes. It satirises Thais as being more obsessed with form than content.
"Dream Interruptus 2000" is a series of black-and-white photographs depicting details of half-finished, chalky-grey skyscrapers. They belong to ambitious building projects abruptly cancelled during the economic crisis of 1997. The abandoned skeletal skyscrapers are without hope of resuscitation, they stoop like phantoms in a graveyard-like landscape and they serve as a monumental, morbid reminder of the negative effects of globalisation in Thailand.
Manit, who is also known as a social activist, believes that one mission of artists is to "make art accessible and relevant to the general public''. Hence, participation, communication and cultural activism are crucial elements in his creative methodology. Manit has thus organised several public art projects. He launched the "Kaeng Sua Ten Project'' in 1997 to raise awareness among villagers of environmental issues. He also organised a public site-specific exhibition titled "Huay Kwang Mega City Project'' in 1996. The project focused on the old city and the old values that are slowly being diminished.
Manit Sriwanichpoom has participated in major international exhibitions, including the XXIV Sao Paula Biennale, First Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, International Photography Biennale in Mexico, Cities On the Move in various countries, Polypolis in Hamburg, PhotoEspana in Madrid and Tachkawa International Art Festival in Tokyo, among others.
He is one of only two artists in Southeast Asia to be represented in the prestigious Maison Europeenne de la Photographie (Paris).
Article from Bangkokpost Newspaper