Manit Sriwanichpoom

19th November - 12th December 2009

Chalk Horse is proud to announce the first Sydney solo exhibition of renowned Thai artist Manit Sriwanichpoom.

Masters is a new series of photographs, presented here for the first time, in association with the artist’s Bangkok gallery, Kathmandu, and timed to coincide with Manit’s participation in the 6th Asia-Pacific Triennale in Brisbane.

With Masters, Manit takes aim at the eerily life-like sculptures of famous monks, placed in Thai temples to solicit cash offerings from the faithful. For many, this superstitious practice is evidence of the corruption of Buddhism by Thailand’s wanton consumerism. As the artist puts it: “The more advanced the marketing and production techniques, the more intricate and fantastical their products, the further we travel from the Buddha.”

For years, Manit has been a leading figure in Bangkok’s lively contemporary art scene. Whether satirizing the foibles of Thai nationalism, or rattling the skeletons of the country’s bloody political past, Manit’s work is always insightful and provocative. “We are thrilled to be presenting this fascinating new series in Australia,” says Chalk Horse director Dougal Phillips. “Between exotic holiday snapshots and the political turmoil on TV, we rarely see into the complex tensions of contemporary Thailand.”

Best known for his acerbic photographic critiques of Thai consumerism, Manit’s trademark Pink Man series has been exhibited the world over. But his most recent projects mark a return to formal concerns and open up new questions about the future of a country divided, wracked by political and symbolic crisis.

Manit’s work is held in the collections of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), the Singapore Art Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery, and in numerous private collections. His solo exhibitions include Bangkok in Pink at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Lambs of God at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne), Pink Man in Paradise at Monash University and Valentine Willie Fine Art (Kuala Lumpur), and Beijing Pink at the Highland Gallery (Beijing). In 2007 he was awarded Japan’s prestigious Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Prize.

The artist will be present for the exhibition launch on Wednesday, 2 December.