Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Original sin

In an effort to make a story about interior design a little less like a story about interior design, I visit a gently funky art gallery on Silom Road. They’re showing paintings and sculptures by Preyawit Nilachulaka, and the collision of childlike cartoon imagery, sexual transgression and violent humiliation immediately makes me think of Jeff Koons and/or the Chapman Brothers. Now, you could argue that this another example of Asia appropriating an aspect of Western culture and working out how to remake it just that little bit cheaper; and sell it back to the dumb farang; except that Jeff and Jake and Dinos already did that to Popeye and Goya and any number of other flakes from the scalp of occidental art. And then I thought that a Thai wandering through a gallery in London or New York might come across a Koons or a Chapman and think, bloody hell, some cheeky bugger’s ripping off Preyawit. Or whatever that might be in Thai.

And then I pop into the Sri Maha Mariamman temple, which I’ve passed dozens of times over the years, and watch the devotions to the goddess Uma (as in Thurman) and hear a four-note mantra, repeated over and over, a female voice, and I think, bloody hell, some cheeky bugger’s ripping off this:

7 comments:

The militant working boy said...

So THAT'S who the black eyed peas were ripping off!
Bloody hell!

Annie said...

I once spent 5 hours in Bangkok waiting for a connecting flight back home. Tried in vain to see that temple but the tuk tuk driver told me it was "closed", he did, however, know a jewellery shop that was open and took me there instead. Hmm.

Spinsterella said...

That picture is vile.

Tim Footman said...

MWB: The Black-Eyed Peas ripped themselves off and disappeared down a vortex of postmodernism.

Annie: Ah yes, the jewellery scam. I was in Honk Kong a few months ago, and wanted to go to the National Gallery. Stopped for a bite en route, and the friendly chap selling parathas asked where I was going. When I told him, he said "I think it's closed on Thursdays." Being used to Bangkok, I just nodded, smiled and carried on. When I got there, I discovered he'd been telling the truth.

You should see his sculptures, Spin. I mean, crikey...

expat@large said...

That the paratha guy didn't offer to take you to a paratha warehouse sale or tell you about your lucky face I would have guessed he was on the up and up.

Yes those pics are vile - where can I buy them again? Silom? Cool, will pop in next week. My walls are bare of such stuff and people sneer. Street cred +++ coming up!

The militant working boy said...

Perhaps that vortex dropped them off on the set of The Last of the Summer Wine where they were called upon to preform a brief musical interlude.

Colin Campbell said...

Brilliant. Loved that. Sad, but optimistic.