• Memorandum: Within or Without From my observer perspective and from intensive research about the interrelation between photography and art in...

    Memorandum: Within or Without


    From my observer perspective and from intensive research about the interrelation between photography and art in Thailand during the past 25 years, or even beyond that timeline, it is common to realize that photography as art medium has been barely recognized. The major art prize for Thai artist such as the National Artist Award was only once awarded for a photographer. To conclude, photography is quite inferior to other art mediums. Hence, with the growth of art events especially the biennial and triennial festivals, in 1997, it was the beginning of the revolutionary tale for Thai photographer, when Manit Sriwanichpoom joined the 1st Fukuoka Triennial. This could be considered as a kickoff for the medium to be accepted from the outsider to the insider. The series shown there was The Bloodless War (1996). It was a B&W performative photograph series that opened the issues for discourse over consumerism. As a result, Thai photography was acknowledged in the contemporary art practices and markets, and also faded away the omnipresent images of Photo Journalism, Fine Arts Photography and Documentary Photography. This was the situational tale at that time. This kind of historical experience; I would call it as the curse on photography, is either similar or different from countries to countries. By somehow, I credited Manit’s practices to turn that dramatic shift.
    In parallel with The Bloodless War series, Manit created another series, which became the story of the exhibition presented at Jimei x Arles 2022. Manit, meanwhile, initially saw the medium’s potential to express his individual expressions, his well-round practices as journalism, and his relationships with performance artists and art groups. These relationships were designated as the subject of his practices. In 1996, his languages, his medium and sociocultural attitudes functioned in the production of Pink Man Begins (1996) for its first time.
    His earliest effort, is a typical disjunction of archival and performance with a well-known performance artist, Sompong Thawee. Manit’s archival photos work in collaboration with Sompong for its first time. The intervention in the public was lively and fresh. The man in fluorescent pink suit (or generally called shocking pink), either challenged or shocked the audience. His statements were loudly read while the bubbles had been piercing one by one, atop of the performance. It was the reproduction of the protest in 1946 by Narin Klueng (1874-1949), a writer and political activist. The artist could not resist to put pink suit on to appropriate the original Narin walking naked in the public and holding lamp, screaming, begging for political transparency. Moreover, the artist aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Narin’s protest in accordance with Pink Man starting his journey.
    Together with Sompong Thawee, the writer, the performance artist and the artist’s close friend, Manit has produced remarkable series of an icon; the man in fluorescent pink suit who goes everywhere with the pink supermarket trolley.
    In my text for Manit’s retrospective exhibition, as part of Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) at Singapore Art Museum, I wrote that Manit did not take the role of a still life photographer, but rather take the role of film director. The performance was carried out as a motion picture but captured as a still life shot. Each series had its own content and interpretation. The narratives refer the knowledge, experience, and daily life of Manit as photojournalist, writer, critic, as well as social activist.
    Also, the consequences of archiving that live performance led Manit to develop the next series Pink Man on Tour (1997), in parallel with the new policy launched by the Thai government to promote tourism in the country under the slogan “Amazing Thailand”. Pink Man had traveled in different touristic places, with the uncertain emotional expressions of pleasure and displeasure.
    Since, Pink Man on Tour series, Manit produced an imagery of Sompong to perform as the presenter of questions on related issues occurred at that time by expressing different feelings and emotions, ignoring, confusing and sneering, depending on the circumstances.
    The selected bodies in this exhibition “Memorandum: Within or Without” has brought Pink Man’s series from Pink Man Begins to Samsara. It is the tale based on true Thai cultural and socio-political history, through the eyes of Pink Man and through the lens of Manit.
  • ARTIST: Manit Sriwanichpoom Manit Sriwanichpoom was born in 1961 and graduated with a visual art degree from Srinakarinvirot University in...

    ARTIST: Manit Sriwanichpoom


    Manit Sriwanichpoom was born in 1961 and graduated with a visual art degree from Srinakarinvirot University in Bangkok.

    He is one of Thailand’s pioneering contemporary photographers, and the best known in the international art world, having exhibited worldwide including in the Festival Les Photaumnales (France, 2021), the Chennai Photo Biennale, (India, 2019), the Kasseler Kunstverein (Germany, 2018), the 7th Xishuangbanna Foto Festival (China, 2018), the Saatchi Gallery (London 2015), RAY Fotografieprojekte (Frankfurt, 2012), the Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2010), the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial (Australia, 2009), the 1st Dali International Photography Exhibition (China, 2009), Photoquai (Paris, 2007), Gwangju Biennale (Korea, 2006), the Venice Biennale (Italy, 2003), Photo Espana (2001), Pingyao International Photography Festival (China, 2001), International Photography Biennale (Mexico, 1999), the Hayward Gallery (UK, 1999), Bienal de Sao Paulo (1998) and the Photographer’s Gallery (UK, 1998). His solo shows include “Shocking Pink Story” at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York, USA (2018); “Phenomena & Prophecies” at the Singapore Art Museum (2010); “Lambs of God” at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne, Australia, 2008); “Man in Pink” at Galerie VU, Paris (2007); “Beijing Pink” at Highland Gallery (Beijing, 2006) and “Bangkok in Pink” at the Yokohama Museum of Art (2002).

    His social and political works are collected by the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie (Paris), the DG Bank (Germany), the ABN-AMRO Bank (Netherlands), the KOC Foundation (Turkey), the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (USA), the Smith College Museum of Art (USA), the Art Vantage (USA), the Queensland Art Gallery (Australia), the National Gallery of Australia, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), the Jeonbuk Museum of Art (Korea), the M+ Museum (Hong Kong, China), the National Gallery Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum and well-known private collectors. In 2002 he was picked as one of the world’s 100 most interesting emerging photographers by Phaidon Press in their book BLINK. In 2007 he was awarded the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Prize from Japan and in 2014 the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by French Ministry of Culture & Communication. In 2020 his photo book Bangkok in Technicolor was awarded the Asia Prize by Photo City Sagamihara, Japan.

    Manit was a co-founder and advisor of PhotoBangkok Festival. Currently, he is a member of executive committee of Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC). He also runs art spaces Kathmandu Photo Gallery and Foundation Cinema Oasis, and teaches photography at the faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

  • CURATOR: Ark Fongsmut Political Science knowledge strengthens the founder of CACS, Ark Fongsmut’s vision and mission on Visual Arts, Curatorial...

    CURATOR: Ark Fongsmut


    Political Science knowledge strengthens the founder of CACS, Ark Fongsmut’s vision and mission on Visual Arts, Curatorial Practices and Creative fields. Ark received his MA in Fine Art Administration and Curatorship from Goldsmiths College, London, and MA and BA in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. His consistent and intense practices to support contemporary art in Thailand was honored by the Ministry of Culture, the Silpathorn Award in 2018.
    He had been a curator at Bangkok University Gallery, Bangkok from 2000 to 2019 and curated many important exhibitions and initiations, including the annual BRANDNEW Art Project and Artist Residency Programme. With insight and experience in the field of contemporary Thai photography, Ark was appointed chief curator of the 2004 and 2006 Month of Photography – Bangkok, a major international photography exhibition, co-curator of the International Singapore Photography Festival 2008, 2010 and 2018, co-curator of the Singapore Biennale 2013, and curator of the Photo Bangkok 2015.
    One of the vocal contributors to critical writings on contemporary Thai art, Ark published a number of exhibition catalogues and books, including “Art Now”, his latest collections of art writings. He had also contributed to many publications, namely, Madame Figaro (Thai Edition), Esquire (Thai Edition), MARS, and East Bridge, an online Korean art magazine.
  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Pink Man Begins Episode II Pink Man & Pink Lamp, 1997. Giclee Print, 40 cm x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Pink Man Begins Episode III Pink Man & Pink Balloons, 1997. Giclee Print, 60 cm x 40 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Globalizing Pink Man, 1998. Giclee Print, 120 cm x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Golfing Pink Man, 1998. Giclee Print, 120 cm x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Pink Man Opera # 8 Lounging Tiger gets to eat, 2009. Giclee Print, 90 cm x 111 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Pink, White & Blue #6 (Follow me), 2005. Giclee Print, 50 cm x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Pink Man on Tour #8 Amazing shopping in hilltribe village, Chiang Mai, 1998. Giclee Print, 40 cm x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist.