Manit Sriwanichpoom

Artist: Manit Sriwanichpoom

(Photo: Tang Gallery)

Pink Man Army - May, 2008
Manit Sriwanichpoom's "Pink Man Army" at Tang Beijing in August, 2007

Pas pointed this out in the forum: This might be of interest to some of you: a Thai photographer by the name of Manit Sriwanichpoom. His work was featured internationally and recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Manit's works confronts social / political issues like the excess of consumption, the impact globalisation, poverty etc. Some of his photos are deliberate dramatisation with actors, sometimes set against derelict landscapes (like the abandon Hopewell pillars and skeletons of unfinished Bangkok skyscrapers). Check it out: 1 - 2

The Pink Man is both a brash observer and symbol of excess, vulgarity, and falseness. Many Thais are somewhat bewildered or confused by Manit's work. Concepts of darkly humorous socially conscious art are not well established here. There is also a certain resistance or immunity to self-criticism so many people perceive Manit's work as simply a failed attempt at comedy that is in bad taste.

Above: 'Pink Man" inserted in a famous photo of a policeman shooting into Thammasat University during the 1976 coup

On this page is one of his most famous images--the Pink Man with shopping cart looming above the Bangkok skyline.

Other great Pink Man images: "PINK MAN IN VENICE (4)", in front of a wat, with man eating ice cream.

Photos of Manit Sriwanichpoom and Sompong Tawee, a model for Pink Man.

A variety of striking images from Manit and a review of the Pink Man work.

"From Desires to Where?" - a joint exhibition by Manit Sriwanichpoom and Weng Fen

On this page at the bottom is a 'modern' version of people fleeing from a napalm attack. Part of This Bloodless War (1997)

Photos from "In your face"

Talking pictures - The Star Online, January 23, 2005
...“Horror in Pink are the photographs of the 1976 lynchings. I published them in 2001 because the newly-elected governor of Bangkok, Samak Sundravej, was believed to have supported the massacre of the students. How could we have let him become governor? Have we forgotten our heroes who died for democracy? Why did these heroes die? ... and I thought the answer was so that we could go shopping.
“The Pink Man in the photos represents today’s people. They have forgotten their history and are only interested in consumerism. The pink man is disturbing because of the amused way in which he looks at the horrible events going on around him. Some people despise him for behaving in such a manner, but many of us have forgotten the sacrifices of the past, so we are not so different...
“My next pink man exhibition will concern neo-nationalism. Again I will use the economic crisis as the starting point because before that, nationalism was on the decline. But in Thailand, I think nationalism is back. Our ruling party is Thai Rak Thai, which means ‘Thais love Thais’.”...

Protest - a new book by Manit Sriwanichpoom - Bangkok Post, November 5, 2003
Last month we mentioned Manit Sriwanichpoom, the outrageous artist and commentator on the Thai world. Today the Post has an article about his latest book which laments the growing boredom with which the increasingly monolithic government and media treat grassroots issues: Each Tuesday for a year Khun Manit turned up at Government House to photograph whoever might be protesting. Occasionally, there was no-one but some Tuesdays ``yielded three or four major protests, involving hundreds or thousands, like a trade fair displaying `Problems of the People' ''.
Tuesday, one learns from the book, is the protesters' favourite day because the cabinet meets on Tuesday and there are a large number of reporters around, so your protest has a better chance of being covered in the newspapers the next day. Or at least that's the way it used to be.
Khun Manit notes that today, ``now that the so-called mass media are unable or unwilling to do their duty, it is useless to protest even on a Tuesday. However loud and agonised, your cries can no longer penetrate the walls of Government House to reach the ears of the reporters inside...''
...Ms Ing also ponders on the present state of the Thai media: ``The Thai media's state of spiritual corruption at the present time is such that, far from reflecting what is actually happening, they have become a fun-fair house of mirrors, making us laugh or shocking us with their distorted images but giving us no understanding of our problems and the context of our times. They are accurate only in the way that they do reflect, by their own inadequacy, the moral bankruptcy of our nation....

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