From the age of ten, Thai artist Pannaphan Yodmanee was taught traditional Buddhist painting techniques by a monk at her local temple, and while she draws on this depth of knowledge, she moves beyond traditional conventions to connect the symbolic, the spiritual and the secular in exciting and experiential new ways. Through years of refining traditional painting practices, Yodmanee has formed a deep understanding of philosophies and cosmologies inherent in Thai Buddhist art, which she now transforms into densely layered installations.
Yodmanee’s In the Aftermath, on display at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) during The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9), is the focus of the QAGOMA Foundation’s 2019 annual artwork appeal. This complex, immersive installation, presents delicately painted stories in vivid temperas, gold pigments and mineral paints on the uneven surfaces of a constructed ruin.
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In the aftermath
In the aftermath resembles both the decaying murals in the ruins of old temples and the rubble of demolished buildings. The installation commissioned for APT9 is based around three key elements: rocks and stones from the artist’s hometown representing the natural world; found objects and fragments of buildings; and miniatures of Buddhist icons and sacred stupas, which have been created by the artist in a range of materials.
The environment is constructed using slabs of concrete, exposed iron structures and walls primed with concrete and rocks, into which Yodmanee places objects and delicately paints conquests and battles, as well as journeys across land and sea, applied with gold leaf and using the vivid blues of Buddhist painting.
The architectural setting chronicles the formation of individual and regional identities, and explores South-East Asian histories of migration, conflict and loss, as well as destructive human tendencies. In doing so, Yodmanee’s works have developed a new platform for Buddhist art, while they simultaneously capture the interconnectedness of art, religion and history in contemporary Thai society.
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Read more about Pannaphan Yodmanee in the publication The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art available in-store and online from the QAGOMA Store.
Feature image detail: Pannaphan Yodmanee’s In the aftermath 2018