Freedom Beyond and Beneath the Rules:
(Bastard) A Japanese Manga Review

A Japanese manga called 'Bastard' is a semi-sci-fi and obscene comic telling a story about the world after the great war like the one in Mel Gibson's Mad Max and another manga named 'Fist of the Northern Stars'. There is a mixture of black magic and western mythical monsters, such as the one-eyed giant, sphinx and the dragon along with a legend of one hero who fights to save the world. The heroism icons can be an ordinary man as Kenshiro in 'Fist of the Northern Stars', a cyborg as Takeshi in the 'Kamenrider' series or even an outer spaceman/alien like the 'Ultraman', whom the western theorists analysed was one of the results after Japan was bombarded and then defeated in World War II. Therefore a lot of Japanese manga come out from the combination between imagination and science of the future world as mentioned above including the groups of four or five or even seven colors like the 'Rainbowman'.

One idea of those heroism images that agrees with this 'Free Thought' contemporary exhibition of the fourth year painting students from Silpakorn University is the freedom of ideas, that is, freedom and the rules that those heroes never cling to. It differs from Ninjas who always have to stick to the principals under a weak prince's demand and sometimes look over many important facts. Another comparison is in 'Cobra', a pirate named Cobra has his own way of life without rules and this boundary of freedom and rules speaks itself like these works of art in the virtual internet exhibition . The young artists are free to express their ideas through the universal language, which is art in cyberspace where it is the semi-abstract space according to the new museology.

Although the point is freedom of ideas that the young artists may have, they also have to bargain with the discipline of the real world which lessens their freedom due to the social admittance. The rules which those heroes need to break just can not be more analysed when it comes to social issues because it would be an impact on Japanese civilisation.

Kazushi Hagiwara's 'Bastard' is a story of Dark Schnider, the Lord of demons, who was awakened from a suppressive silence of fifteen years inside a young human body, and the recurrent tales of the loves and hates including time limits. Moreover, the hero's conceit is almost similar to an artist's ego. Nonetheless, there are the freedoms and the rules from these 16 young artists who try to express themselves through their works and bring up the points to the public. It could benefit the space in art they are craving and the freedom of ideas would be another point for further discussion.

Ark Fongsmut
Bangkok University Art Gallery


Space in Art

The one problem that artists in each period have to deal with is the creation of space, that is, the question that challenges artist's intellectual skill. An artist can create the illusion of the audience's eyes by creating various kinds of artistic elements according to perspective strategy.

The creation of space affects every aesthetic aspect:
It makes the mass form become outstanding.
The space itself can be a sort of symbolic art, and designed to be as variable as an artist demands it to be.

Space can be arranged in various patterns, for instance
- space occupied by mass form
- the interval between each form and space division
- enclosure space
- two-dimensional plane as picture format
- 3D illusive image on 2D surface of the painting
- device for making optical art which empty space and art elements deceive eye perception in reverse

Space can be divided in to three types
Positive space: the inner space of any visible form.
Negative space: the surrounding space that emphasizes forms in 2D pictures.
Neutral space: the empty space where there is no form, background or foreground in 2D pictures, here is, the picture format.

On one hand, space is one of the blank pieces of type. On the other hand, it means the relation between occupied space and empty space of the three-dimensional field. What has to be considered are how suitable a space can be and what role a space is playing, the main subject matter or just the complement.

For painting, the exhibiting space is pondered as a part of the work. Not only the space within the picture, but it is the place to settle one down that will effect balance in the painting. Talking about balance, which is another portion of composition, has a complete connection to the painting, especially the symmetrical composition as well as space that the audience may examine.

The creation of space could be an effective device in the art process. The discrimination of space and space division will benefit the beauty within artistic works and other compositional elements as long as man has got the eyes to behold nature, the brain and intellect for scrutinizing sense.

The relation between space and the work of art is an important part that an artist should consider. This could either elevate or devalue the aesthetic in an art piece so that the audience would be misled from its true intention.

Pranom Khuaklang