[ Think Pink ]

Manit Sriwanichpoom's Pink Man in Paradise series sets the artist's signature pink man in settings of remark able beauty.
Staged in Bali, in the months after the Jemaah Islamiah bombing, the images possess a haunting stillness, It feels right that a Thai artist, commenting on an act of terrorism in Indonesia, exhibits these works in Malaysia.
Caught between traditional ways of living and materialistic urbanism, Kuala Lumpur echoes the ambivalent tensions articulated in Sriwanichpoom's work.

It is also about time that the art community and collectors in Malaysia see the work of this young man.
One of the young Southeast Asian artists generating increasing curatorial attention,
Sriwanichpoom has exhibited in Europe, Brazil, Japan and extensively in Bangkok.
Ironically, it is easier to see regional work in large exhibition Europe than regionally.

The incongruous pink man, replete with pink shopping trolley, makes visible the difference between urbanite and the peoples who reverse these powerful sites.
Notably the man is Asian, as is his small shopping trolley, so unlike American supermarket behemoths.
In this way, the clash is not Western vs Asian but rather explores the difference within the region.
Additionally, the colour pink connotes artificiality, frivolity and kitsch, the opposite of the traditional, nonurban lives focused on faith.

As images, they are beautiful. Pink Man in Paradise 13 (Karang Beach),
features a stunning blue sky with low masses of fluffy clouds over a long jetty made of stone and coral.
An excavator reaches out from the left with a clump of deep green shrubs behind it.
The minute pink man stands right of centre, an intensely coloured speck on a reordered seascape.
Beneath the immensity of nature and results of mechanised construction, the human figure appears insignificant, yet emphatic.

The contrasts between the texture of the clouds, stone and shrubbery lend complexity to the image.
The sharp lines created by the jetty reaching to the right and then zigzagging to the centre create strong movement across the image and to the back.
The scale of the pink man on this jetty emphasises the fact that he is merely standing on something of greater durability and power than he.
Indeed, the largeness of the excavator and its dinosaur-like arc downwards adds to the sense of menace and the alienation of the pink man from the scene.
Classic symmetry also features in Sriwanichpoom's Pink Man in Paradise 11 (Dalam Puri Peliatan Temple).
Framed to emphasise the symmetrical character of the grand, solemn temple, the pink man disrupts the pictorial balance by simply entering the courtyard.
As if to counter his entrance, a costumed dancer appears diagonal from him, with one knee up and a white gloved hand splayed towards him, as if questioning his motives.
With a headdress of red and gold, and long black hair, the dancer's costume coheres with the colours found on the temple as his intricate movements blend with the designs on the temple.

By contrast, the stiff-legged pose of our rumpled pink man and the angularity of his shopping trolley highlight the differences between him and the setting.
Moreover, the symmetrical, manicured lines of grass clash with its lurid colouring.

The insignificance of man emerges in Pink Man in Paradise 3 (Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park).
The monumental slabs of stone dwarf the figure. Their austere black-and-white colouring refuses any facile prettiness and compels awe.
The grey steps cut out of rock and flanked with white balustrades emphasise their remote austerity.
Wandering amidst the stones, the pink man's colouring stands out like a lost cartoon character, compelling a strange empathy and sense of shared humanity.