Shocking Pink Collection: Pink Man the Siamese Intellectual

Manit Sriwanichpoom (b. 1961, Bangkok, Thailand) graduated with a BA in visual art at Srinakharinvirot University, Bangkok. As an accomplished photographer, he is one of the only two artists from Southeast Asia to be represented by the prestigious Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris. He has participated in major international exhibitions in New York, Salzburg, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Helsinki and also the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), the 24th Sao Paulo Biennale (1998), and the First Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (1999)."The Shocking Pink Collection" looks at the artifice of fancy and fantasy costumes for image-building and role-playing, in life-sized photographs lit by fluorescent tubes (similar to the mobile billboards placed in front of shops).Manit’s Pink Man avatar, the poet Sompong Tawee, is depicted in various pink costumes characterizing different fronts within a personality. The series is a satire on the Thais being more obsessed with form than content. The work was also featured in the Bangkok edition of the seminal travelling exhibition “Cities on the Move”, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Hou Hanru. The exhibition explored the contradictory and conflicted histories of modernization in rapidly developing economies of Asia, which have led to the development of contemporary hypercities such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The work was shown at one of the Bangkok sites at Central Rama 3 shopping mall, where the theme was “Commerce Climates” as it looked at the relationship between commerce, consumerism, construction and artificial climates (air-conditioning). The work also marks the apogee of Manit’s idea of Pink Man, an avatar who comments on consumerist, transactional behaviours but is yet captured by the advertisment apparatus (the light box) itself. The title “Shocking Pink” too reflects the shock to the Thai economy when the Thai baht collapsed in the wake of the Asian Financial crisis in 1997-1998, and had its foreign currency reserves depleted. Earlier uncurbed spending and borrowing also caused a credit bubble in the economy.

Artist Name
Manit Sriwanichpoom
Date/Period
1998
Region
Thailand
Dimension
Image size: 150 x 100 cm
Accession No.
2014-01345
Material
7 digital photo files (stored in a flash drive); hi-res image file @ 180 x 120 cm and at 150 dpi which it's bigger than the print size.
Collection of
National Gallery Singapore
Category
Modern Art Forms