00Summary, 2001 - Paisarn Plienbangchang and Manit Sriwanichphum
Paisarn brings the year 2000 to a close, and opens 2001 in a festive mood with a review of the erotic drawings of a respected senior, Chuang Mulpinit , whose works offer sensual visions derived from Thai classical art and literature. Paisarn praises Chuang’s lively imagination, stylized eroticism, and keen powers of observation which made Rong Wongsawan call him ‘the artist who sees an ant smile.’
Paisarn also pays homage to the late, greatly respected journalist, researcher, astrologist, art historian and art critic, Prayun Uluchata  known more widely in Thailand by his pen name, Nor Na Paknam. Following in the great writer’s footsteps, and along the way also trod by Pishnu Supnimitr and Wibul Lisuwan, Paisarn is a new generation in the relatively young, but dedicated tradition of Thai journalistic art criticism fostered by Siamrath Weekly.
Another artist whose life and works Paisarn warmly admires as truly visionary is the late Jarng Saethang in whom the critic sees a bold and courageous spirit. Of Jarng’s work, Paisarn says, “It is abstract emotion which we can see…We see abstraction within the picture…He paints with no fear of theory or rules of art or anything about painting. He works directly.”
‘The Sweltering Environment’ describes Nakorn Sawan Province, where Paisarn travels to visit Saksiri Misomseub former schoolteacher, winner of the SEAWrite Award, and an accomplished painter. Paisarn contrasts the image of hundreds of rural students at a summer art camp organized by hardworking teachers in the school where Saksiri used to teach with descriptions of the harsh life of the farmers and the beauty of the fields in the flaming heat. ‘Saksiri uses this environment – the colors are there – the hot sunny reds which contrast sharply with the green of the garden trees, or the yellowish red sparkling of the earth in the fields and on the housetops, together with marks of the brush that cut across the canvas with feeling…One feels the bright clarity of the fields, the great heat of the earth. I look at the difficult work of the farmers each day in rice field and vegetable garden…their hands touch the earth each day.”
One thing that seems clear about Paisarn is that he is a man who lives in a border area between two worlds. His life and his heart sway back and forth between the cosmopolitan sophistication of Bangkok and the amazing world ‘outside,’ and back to the land and people of Thailand’s traditional provincial agrarian culture, the society ‘upcountry’. As an art critic for a well-established weekly, Paisarn passionately supports calls for a proper metropolitan contemporary art museum in the capital, and is ready to join artworld allies in fighting for one. As a man of the world who has often traveled abroad and seen many great cities, he knows by comparison that Bangkok could be made more livable, especially with more parks and green areas. At the same time, he is aware of the many hidden costs of urban living, that “each day 500 million credit cards are used, and the number continues to increase…and the environment continues to be destroyed. When you look at it this way, the environment is not just a matter of being ‘green.’ There is also political impact and impact on production and consumerism, which is not equal.” 
Perhaps that awareness enables Paisarn to urge Bangkok’s urban unemployed masses that, “Going back to the land is nothing to be ashamed of. To return is one way to recover ones life and ones future.” But he describes, almost in the next breath, the crucible of poverty and natural deprivation so well-known in rural Thailand, especially in the Isarn region: “Fiery sun and drought everywhere – empty heavens, listless wind, dust swirling in the air. Working hard and struggling in life – such is the lot of the people of Isarn..”  Paisarn’s love for the Thai people’s traditional agrarian culture finds voice in his review of an exhibition at Khon Kaen University by Sompop Butrach. Born in Isarn, the artist reverences the holiness of the land and the people’s timeless struggle. Out of this poverty comes cultural riches and true holiness. “In suffering,” artist and critic agree, “there are still things that spur life on… legends, art, and culture that have been passed on for a thousand years.”
Making his regular rounds in Bangkok, Paisarn reviews a show at Gallery 253, a small private showroom in the area of the Taiping Building, Ekamai. He notes, in his introduction, that 6,000 people just spent more than 6,000 million baht on new cars at a recent motor show. (So much for the economic privations of the public in Thailand’s IMF era. Apparently, not everyone is suffering.) At Gallery 253, Pirapong Limtamrong presents collages which are like a diary of daily happenings and emotional responses. Paisarn tries to draw some sense and order out of the cascade of disturbing images.
The following week, Paisarn is at Project 304 Gallery, a converted flat –turned- gallery in a condominium near the Samsen railroad station where Kamol Paosawat presents a mocking installation of real apples and plastic apples, stuffed and skinned crocodiles, and miniature golf courses (a favorite investment target for big spenders/ big borrowers before the crash). A fortune teller is on hand to sell advice. Critic and artist share bitter musing on the state of the Thai economy and those who led the nation into this morass.
Back at Gallery 253 once again, Paisarn reviews a photo exhibition, ‘WHO ARE YOU?’ By Wisutr Sutikulwej  Wisutr has asked us all a very good question, Paisarn agrees, but chides the artist for not making a clearer stand with an answer to his own question.
Reading Paisarn’s columns this year is like dipping briefly into a whirlwind of Thai society in the midst of economic and social upheaval. The voices of foreign visitors are part of this complexity. In 2001, Paisarn covered two shows by foreign women artists at the Wityanitat Gallery, CU. A February column describes succinctly but vividly the work of Marina Abramovic, born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Late in June, Chula exhibited works by Mella Jaarsma, an artist who was raised in the Netherlands but who had lived in Indonesia for 20 years. These artists treat with deadly seriousness such topics as war, civil strife and ethnic cleansing. At the same time, the apparently rather sweet and vaguely earnest show by Kathryn Forrest and Montali Wijitanasarn across the Chao Phraya river in Thonburi, near the Patarawadi Theatre, Paisarn described in his column as The Wishes of Young Girls.
As the year moved on, Paisarn can report that “Despite the weak state of the economy, there are art exhibitions by artists great and small almost every other day. Sometimes opening on the same day! The exhibition halls were deserted years ago, but now there are many new places and many new styles appearing round the city.” Paisarn notes that sales have been reviving as collectors are investing more, including Thai buyers of foreign artists showing in Bangkok. The critic visits Tadu Gallery in the RCA district to look at the apparently angry and anxious work of Vincent Leoh, a Singaporean artist. If Vincent had more freedom to express himself, Paisarn observes, reflecting on Singapore’s repressive censorship, his work might be a bit easier to understand. In mid-year, Paisarn also reviewed a show of graphic art at C.U. Wityanitat Gallery by Prawat Laocharoen. With the perspective of a Thai long resident in the US where there is a large population of Thai immigrants, Prawat’s work turns traditional Thai proverbs into critiques of Thailand’s present political situation.
Seeing these varied perspectives in art exhibitions is like seeing the world reflected in a many-faceted mirror. The critic experiences the art works directly, but by the time his review is published, the shows have often ended. Many readers, especially those who live far from Bangkok, would be unable to travel to the capital to see these shows. We rely on critics like Paisarn to share these valuable experiences. As the critic describes the art of Marina Abramovic, for example, Thai readers can almost see the grease and gristle of the bloody bones she is scraping clean; the horror of mass murder is like a smell coming off the page. When Paisarn, filled with emotion, describes the culture and traditions of the Isarn region, and pictures the works of artists like Sompop Butrach or Saksiri Misomseub, one cannot help but feel a thrill of pride, even as indignation rises at the poverty and neglect suffered by so many good Thai people. At the same time, readers would be glad they lived in Thailand, not the Philippines, after reading his review of a dark and extremely emotional traveling exhibition by Filipino artists. Paisarn communicates equally well the faintly neurotic anxiousness of the Singaporean artist stepping outside his so boring, too tidy, too controlled society to show his angry pictures in Bangkok.
Toward the end of the year, Paisarn was greatly refreshed by traveling to Japan to take part in and report on a gathering of artists in the town of Kanakawa, Japan, on the outskirts of the great city of Yokohama, to create artworks on site in the city, and in the nearby Midori Ku pine forest. Later, in November, he made his first trip to Korea, where he took part in and reported, also (despite the cold) with great enthusiasm, on a similar event in the city of Kongju.
Modern Thai society has a history with the month of October. It is the month of 14 October (1973), and 6 October (1976), the first a bloody, but triumphant day for democracy in Thailand; the second, a day when the dark powers came back to revenge themselves. Paisarn’s heart is with the October people, to whom he offers praise and encouragement: Every year in October, the October people have a ceremony to remember those events, so as not to forget the fight and the loss, telling people to remember that society has progressed because it has passed through the thorns of difficulty. That we should not let the ruling classes or dictators in whatever form oppress us again.” In 2001, however, the critic notes that this year many of the artworks honoring the democracy movement seem tired, repetitious and uninspired.In SilpaWattanatham 2001, almost half (11) of Manit Sriwanichphum’s columns were devoted to photography and photography shows, including one critique of the use of photographic images in Thai Farmers Bank Automated Teller (ATM) machines. Another 8 articles delved into the treatment of religious issues in contemporary Buddhist and Christian art, sensual imagery in advertising, and some examples of excess and aggrandizement in art commissioned by private sector patrons.
Manit devotes three full columns to the controversy over the redesigned plans for a metropolitan gallery of contemporary art, and three to art exhibitions addressing other aspects of the modern political history of Thailand. An exhibition on ‘the nude’ at the Museum of the National Gallery provokes a discussion of art and pornography.
Manit begins the new year by firing a salvo at the ATM customer service imagery of Thai Farmers Bank. Playing with the use of a familiar vulgar expression, Manit labels as ‘e-girls’ the suggestively posed women who appear in the ATM monitors, inviting customers to ‘insert,’ call, or ‘use your fingers properly.’ The critic chides bankers, who once presented themselves as prim, proper, clean, and well ordered - a bunch of respectable old aunties. Now, however, they present ambiguous new signals. The bank represents itself, instead, with ‘call-girls’ selling sexually enhanced services. In the changed aesthetic, the critic sees changed moral and social values. Rather than emphasizing staid but upright service, the bank is advertising itself as more exciting, more risk-taking, and perhaps not playing 100% within the rules. The connection between beautiful female bodies and goods on sale is also all too clear at the 22nd Bangkok Motor Show. As Manit notes:
“The car is an instrument which announces social class and status and the ultimate taste of the owner. Apparently, says the critic, this is the reason the whole government becomes impoverished.”
Mythology, religion, and political and economic power inevitably mingle in high art and official monuments. The opening for public viewing of art and interior décor commissioned for the Siam Commercial Bank headquarters on Rachada Road occasioned a second column by Manit critiquing the aesthetic preferences and tastes of Thai bankers. Manit comments on excess corporate egoism and how it is served by luminaries of the Thai high artworld. Some of Thailand’s most famous master artists help lavishly ornament what the critic describes as a virtual ‘celestial palace’ for banker-demigods.
The ‘Nirvana’ theme for the debut of a new gallery (Open Art Space) also appears to have put the critic into a bad mood. Manit generally discourages contemporary Thai high artworks with overtly metaphysical themes, since it too often looks like empty posturing. In fact, Manit’s back-to-back critiques of Whose Nirvana?  and Chakkai at His Ease  illustrate his aesthetic and moral point of view very well. Manit writes a brilliant article praising Chakkai Siributr’s show, The Hiatus, which opened to an enthusiastic evening crowd at the Eat Me Restaurant on Convent Road. Manit welcomes the artist’s search for enlightenment in the common world of his own daily life, and finds satisfying truth in the artist’s smiling dogs, mandarin geese and fanciful mosquitoes.
“Chakkai creates Dharma images with hardly a reference to symbols such as representations of Buddhas, temples, or the atmosphere of the wat, as Buddhist art likes to do.”
Chakkai at His Ease daringly suggests that Buddhist practice among urban youth is less likely to take place in a temple than at home, and that young people enjoying themselves at a nightspot could be Dharma seekers, as well.
Manit deals with religious themes again later in the year, beginning with Faith and the City at the CU Wityanitat Gallery. The exhibition from the Philippines, which included many pictures with explicitly Christian themes, was first reviewed in a gingerly and polite fashion by Manit’s colleague, Paisarn Plienbangchang. Manit reviewed the show one more time, a week later.  Unimpressed with the cathartic emotionalism of the ‘Takalog,’ Manit for the most part assessed the exhibition rather coldly and unsympathetically. The inability of Filipino artists to communicate the nobility of their faith or the dignity of their people’s suffering to the Thai critics should be a sobering warning to artists with ideology to sell. Pictures sometimes have a surprisingly limited capacity to deliver emotions or cherished ideas, in tact, across cultural boundaries to people who live by very different value systems and traditions.
In November, Manit discusses two more shows with definite religious and mythic overtones in Molding Dust Into People and White Sculptures. Open Art Space, a new gallery on Silom road, hosted the first show, Yellow Simple, by Sakharin Kreu-on. This was another Buddhist-themed show which appeared to Manit to pander to white buyers, offering works which were hollow and empty in every sense. Manit gives a ruthless negative critique of the Sakharin show, along with some good critical advice to Thai artists generally, that they should refrain from making art which offers fake metaphysical insights. He is much more sympathetic and enthusiastic, a week later, about Somboon Homtientong’s show at CU Wityanitat Gallery, in which the artist presents a giant snake which, like a figment of the mind, nightmarishly reproduces itself in crowds of little offspring. Before discussing this show at the Wityanitat, the critic recalls two splendid installations, which he also admired, by Somboon, about six years earlier, i.e. Mekong River (Con-tempus Gallery), and Sounds of Voices Unheard, at the Museum of the National Gallery. Manit warmly and wholeheartedly praised both as spiritually and aesthetically sensitive.
The critic, as we see, does not shy away from ridiculing art which seems to illustrate the egoistic fantasies of corporations. (Grandiose images of the high and mighty are not unknown the history of art.) He also rejects empty posturing in pictures and sculptures which pretend to Buddhist themes. At the same time, he rejoices when he finds an authentic voice, as in the painting of Chakkai Siributr or the sculpture of Somboon Homtientong.
Manit gives voice to the suffering and neglect of the people in the rural countryside as he describes, in May, Tawatchai Homthong’s experience of returning home to the distant province of Ubol, in Have You Ever Seen This Land? an exhibition hosted by the Goethe Institute.
In August, Manit protested, in two articles on History and Memory, the official tendency to bury the repeated calls and sacrifices for democratic reform in modern Thai history. These acts are recalled with fierce reverence by Manit as he describes the exhibition and the works of Suti Kunawichaiyanond, at the CU Wityanitat Gallery.
‘The less history we have about calls for democracy in our children’s textbooks, the clearer it is that our country is not democratic at all…We should not be thrilled by the ‘people’s constitution’ of 1997, because we are just fooling ourselves.’ 
Illustrating his second installment (finish)on the History and Memory show,  Manit offers a reproduction of an old AP photo from October, 1976, of a jeering crowd at Sanam Luang desecrating the body of a young man who was lynched during the violent events at Thammasat University. Also pictured from the show are two paintings by Ing Kanchanawanich, i.e. Grandmother Nue (Sucher Singhaseni) with a portrait of her late husband, Chit, and night-time view of a young woman seated alone at a bus stop, her figure contrasting somberly with the garish advertising on the bus-stop wall behind her. Manit, himself, ironically salutes his fellow citizens in this show with his Pink Man, a consumerist tourist (with shopping cart) who drifts through the events of history with nothing in mind but acquiring more and more things, a sort of ageless (mindless) shopper.
The critic also cast a cold eye on the Some Things About Nudes show at the National Gallery. His rather low opinion of the show is signaled as the discussion begins with how to separate ‘art’ from ‘porn.’ [By definition, of course, the National Gallery could not put ‘porn’ on exhibition.] Manit notes the ambiguity, and illustrates, by giving a history of his youthful experience trying to distinguish the two categories. He finds the debate about which depictions are art, and which are pornography, largely fruitless and ineffectual. Perhaps the critic senses the vulgarity of such a debate carried on among male artists and critics, but what is the alternative when the women are silent?
Manit ‘s writing is inspired by photographs and photography in 11 columns in 2001. The first of these studied the commercial-sensual images of women featured on Thai Farmers Bank ATM monitors. In terms of high art photo exhibitions, however, the organizers of Charming China impressed Manit with their freedom, practical flexibility, spontaneity and thrift. He admires the Chinese for their familiarity with up-to-date computer editing technology, and for their keen and cutting artworks, which criticize abuses, and ponder the strategies at work in the development processes of their own government and countrymen, and of foreign capitalists. The critic celebrated the history of photography in Thailand as a triumph of the use of acquired technology to defeat colonialist incursion. Manit’s own cultural roots in China come alive in memories stirred by photographs of old Shanghai at the Polypolis exhibition at the Hamburg Kunsthaus. It was apparently during that stay in Germany that Manit saw and reported on the Bodyworldsshow of ‘anatomy’ or ‘plastinated’ corpse art by a German anatomist-turned-artist. Grim.
A photo exhibition by a Japanese school teacher residing in Bangkok brought back memories for Manit of not knowing how to conduct himself in an awkward public moment aboard a Japanese commuter train. In Ghost Children he looks, with the school teacher, at the seemingly numb, sad and lonely consciousness of many Japanese children. Thai children are happier and more free, the school teacher said. Manit offers several perspectives of people in different cultures observing themselves and ‘others.’
As a teacher of photography at a local university, Manit receives some unexpected images of naughty Thai children in response to one of the picture-taking assignments he gave his students. The experience leads to self-examination and readjustment by the critic, as he reconsiders his own preconceptions and prejudices about children – how they are and how they ‘ought’ to be.
Manit and friend, Somneuk Meunmansakul participated in the Photo Espana 2001 International Photo Festival in Spain. Besides detailing the extremely well-organized show and the excellent works by Spanish photographers, Manit took a close look at some of the works of another participant in the Photo Espana show, Argentinean photographer, Martin Weber. Yet, even as he considers the dreams of Americans, North and South, he thinks back to the dreams of overseas Chinese who emigrated to Siam.
“All they had was a mat and a pillow. They had to be industrious and thrifty. They built big business kingdoms, leaving treasures, inheritance, fame and wealth for their children.”
In October, Manit and Somneuk again traveled together, this time to China and the International Photo Festival at Pingyao. Manit delights in the experience, patient with the 8 hour bus ride from the airport, with official controls on what can be exhibited in the show, and with the relatively modest size of the exhibition. He is happy that there are plenty of local Chinese visitors but few white tourists coming to see the photo exhibition and the historic little town which is far from Beijing. Rejoicing in the warm, friendly and sincere atmosphere among photographers gathering there, the critic clearly feels happy and at home.
Manit finishes his writing for Silpa Wattanatham in 2001 with the Photography Month in Bangkok event which brought the works of dozens of well-known photographers from around the world to exhibit at more than 10 venues around Bangkok. He closes the year with Borderline at CU Wityanitat Gallery, one of the venues in Photography Month and a show in which Manit participated. Apinan Posyanond the curator and director of the gallery set the subject of the show, as Manit describes, “ whatever is in the fuzzy, blurry, dimness – unclear, in between, on the line, on the border of custom or value in society…what they call ‘gay’, ‘fag’, ‘homo’, ‘tom’, etc.”
Manit would probably say about much of the most expensive, locally produced, high art in Bangkok more or less what he said about the officially sanctioned photographs at the Pingyao show in China, that it is, “Impressive. Easy on the eye. Not too much to think about. Tame. Nothing recalcitrant, nothing negative.” Unwilling to remain inside this narrow framework, Manit is enthusiastic about all the exciting and much more adventurous photography that the world has to offer.
Summary: 1999 / 2542
As the year opens, Parinya Tantisuk is bowing out as a regular art critic for Siamrath Weekly. His final columns begin the new year for Silpa/Wattanatham, first with a backward glance at the tragic crash, in December, of a domestic passenger plane, and taking a look at the work of one of his advanced MFA students, M.L. Busyamard Nantawan. Then, in his last column, Parinya reminisces about happy childhood days when the approaching New Year was full of innocent anticipation. Greeting the new year with serene hope, he reviews some heartening and encouraging images of traditional Thai living in paintings from a show by M.L. Karvic Chakrabandhu, a respected patron of Thailand’s contemporary artworld.
The other critical voices in the Silpa/Wattanatham column for 1999 include the Golden Paintbrush ( GP - 11 columns), Niran Ketutad (9 columns), Manit Sriwanichphum (23 columns) and later in the year, Pen Pakta (5 columns). The convergence of a clustered set of writings by 5 critics makes this a particularly interesting year for Silpa/Wattanatham.
Among these five, Manit Sriwanichphum is truly in a class by himself. Seldom found poking around silent galleries or exhibition halls, Manit is passionate about the living role of art out in the world today. His writing is also distinguished in 1999 by sharp bad temper and consistent dissatisfaction with Thai society, the Thai artworld, and the interference of ‘whites’ (i.e. Westerners, especially Americans) and ‘white’ culture in Thailand. His blood pressure appears to shoot up when he meets anything he perceives as counterfeit. There are, however, some notably happier moments on the critical scene for Manit, and at those times he is as forthcoming in his praise for what he admires as he is ruthless in attacking what appears false. His kudos tend to go to the poor and marginalized in Thai society and to artists who inhabit some of the more controversial quarters of the Thai artworld.
Manit’s first two columns in 1999 center on a performance-cum-exhibition, The Bloodless War, by the Ukabat (‘meteorite’) Group, featuring 6 black and white photos created by Manit in protest against destructive IMF interference in Thailand’s economic affairs. Though he angrily laments the 1997 fiasco and loss of 700,000 million baht as a result of the Bank of Thailand’s ill-conceived defense of the baht in the face of attacks by currency speculators, Manit’s most bitter attacks are aimed at American economic imperialism, which has replaced US military adventuring in Southeast Asia. Manit parodies famous photos from the era of the American war in Vietnam, remaking them into images of Thai yuppies being hounded by their foreign creditors. In his next column, he follows up by going after an American film company for destroying an idyllic seaside landscape during the making of The Beach. Reading Manit’s fierce polemic against Leonardo DiCaprio, one gets the feeling of watching a dog mauling a rat; it is a violent outpouring of spleen.
The “Bangkok Art Project”  for the Rattanakosin area was billed as a cooperative venture by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and a host of artists from the local high artworld. Covering the project in two articles, Manit dubs it ‘The Great Make-Up Job with Powder and Rouge to Create an Image.’ Surveying a handful of the arworks featured round Rattanakosin island, he generally blasts the event as a boring, superficial stunt.
Were it not for the alternating columns of Parinya Tantisuk, the Golden Paintbrush (GP), Niran Ketutad, and later, Pen Pakta, Manit’s unrelieved, sour, bad temper might become unbearable. However, the relatively tame and placid writing of his colleagues provides the necessary contrast, generally showing off Manit’s heated, aggressive style to good advantage. Though he is often excessively vituperative, Manit is admirable in his insistence that art be a boldly active voice, part of all that is happening in the world. His restlessness and discontent offer a refreshing contrast to art criticism that tends too much to remain polite indoors, proper inside galleries, and docile inside frames.
Throughout the first half of the year, Manit’s writing alternates with reviews by the Golden Paintbrush (GP), whose introductory column is an essay on aesthetics focusing on the importance of imagination and technical skill in art and artistic expression. The following week, GP reviews a show by Thammasak Booncherd at the National Gallery of Art. Thammasak’s works were created in 1998, early in the ‘IMF era’. GP admires the artist’s attempt to make some new headway in modern Thai sculpture. The review includes a list of types of sculptures of interest to the artist, for example, with perforations, partially buried, using objects, using walls, etc. – not exactly daring innovations.
GP’s second critique reviews a show of watercolor paintings, First Impression, by 5 artists, i.e. Nukul Banyadhi, Chana Kawornlieng, Sawai Wongsaprohm, Pira Srianyu and Kiettisak Plitaporn. The critic mentions the lively atmosphere at the cocktail party in the Sintorn Building on Wittayu road, with the managing director of Siam Commercial Bank opening the show, then gives a brief overview of the character, work and style of each artist.
The third review by GP 1999 describes a fairly grim photo exhibition by Chinese artists at the Wityanitat Gallery, Chulalongkorn University, with photographic art which is critical, for example, of Chinese youth, the surreal influence of Mao Tse Tung, and an unwelcome new dependence on Western culture.
In mid-March, GP congratulates Kamol Tasananchali on his exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, 39 Years of Art in Retrospective. Kamol has been a golden boy to many in Thailand’s artworld since his student days and was always meant to do great things. Acknowledging the artist’s many achievements in his creative work and success as a supporter of the Thai artworld at home and in the USA, the critic warmly and enthusiastically endorses Kamol’s show.
Following his review of the Kamol retrospective, GP turns to an exhibition at the Emporium Department store showing 40 paintings by 24 artists who participated in the ‘Art for Waterways’ campaign. The coverage of such shows in galleries large and small and in various public and private venues is not new. Critics like GP travel all over the city, doing their job, reviewing one show after another. Pishnu Supanimit complained of a similar situation 10 or 15 years before. Many times, the shows had already closed by the time Pishnu had space to write about some of them. The artists and their works seem always to be standing in queues. This back-up both in production and information is intriguing, and makes one wonder about the purpose and impact of all these shows and artworks. The meaning and importance of contemporary art must depend, not just on these boutique warehouses full of elegant objects, but also very much on the interpretive and evaluative voices of these art critics in the media .
With a mandate to comment on culture as well as art, Manit focuses on a new star in the pantheon of saintly royals which Thai people revere. The new face is Phra Suphan Kaliya, the legendary, self-sacrificing elder sister of a great king. Dr. Nalinee Paiboon, the founder of a new line of women’s cosmetics has had a vision, and an artist has assisted her in realizing a strangely familiar picture of the beautiful dream princess. Manit sympathizes with the common people who eagerly turn to these new images, always willing to hope for supernatural aid or inspiration, especially since their government has dragged them down in economic disaster.
After delicately contemplating the value of the sad and lovely, self-sacrificing princess for a people who prefer angels and demigods to their own shameless government, Kamol turns a less philosophical eye on Kamol Tasananchali’s retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery, so recently and warmly reviewed by his fellow critic. Although Kamol’s success in California and West Coast art circles in the US has been held up as a sort of ideal model in the eyes of many Thai artists, Manit criticizes Kamol for spinelessly acting out an outmoded Thai artworld fantasy, while naively accommodating himself to ‘white’ American culture.
This style of criticism might be compared with the art of Paritat Hutangkul, which Manit critiques, guardedly and with reservation, but sympathetically, in an April column, MiracleDay of Observance. Manit’s descriptions of Paritat’s vigorous expressionistic use of color and his witty and searing images suggest an artist who has real creative power. At the same time, however, Paritat’s crusading images, many of which protest the corruption of Buddhist practice in Thailand, are misogynist, racist and xenophobic.
We do not often find such colorful conflicting critiques as in the views of GP and Manit regarding Kamol Tasananchali’s retrospective exhibition. In cases like this, however, we can see more clearly the clash of values which produce such different critical estimations.
Four articles by GP follow. The first pays tribute to M.R.Kukrit Pramote, the founder of Siamrath daily newspaper, on the occasion of the great man’s 88th birthday. The essay is also an urgent and intense scolding plea to members of the artworld, requesting more open-mindedness and patience among the backbiting and fighting camps in local art circles.  GP’s second article the following week is an enthusiastic review of paintings by Wacharin Rodnit, an artist who was among those joining in the celebration of M.R. Kukrit’s birthday celebration at the Rattanakosin Hotel. The critic describes Wacharin’s forest paintings with pleasure, waxing poetic and enjoying the melody of language, of woodland images and flickering painted surfaces. The third in this set is a discussion of scientific illustrations and illustrators, highlighting examples of three Thai artists who excel in illustrations of birds (Kamol Komolpalin), flowers (Ekachai Ort-Amphai) and insects (Wichai Malikul). GP’s fourth column in the series is a very interesting interview with Somjai Rice, a watercolor painter who made a second career as a professional artist after her children were grown. The question arises as to whether or not the lady is ‘real Thai’ (“I’m an authentic Thai, but I married a German.”). Somjai explains that her character may seem ‘white’ because she is tall, enjoys sports, and has a tough character. (‘I’m very dexterous; that’s why I seem like a foreigner.’) Somjai wants her pictures to emphasize ‘Thai-ness.’ The artist exhibits mostly in hotels, which are a convenient venue for business people. (‘The queue at the National Gallery is very long.’) Somjai is an example of many women who do art as a second career, and who function as artists in a marginal, but very lively zone of the artworld.
It is a relief to read these less intense reviews after the harshness of Manit’s essay on Kamol Tasananchali and his musings on the violent images of Paritat Hutankul. The format of alternating critical voices thus has some distinct advantages.
Manit has been absent from Thai society for more than a month, he announces in his report about the art he has been seeing abroad. He was especially impressed by all he saw in the Italian town of Assisi, the home of St. Francis, founder of the Catholic Church’s Franciscan Order. Manit found the visit uplifting, even healing, as he contemplated the example of a monk who lived close to nature and cherished the virtue of true poverty in service to his ideals. Manit contrasts the reforms brought about by St.Francis in the Catholic Church with the need nowadays for reform among Thai Buddhist clergy, especially in the excessively rich and worldly Dhammakai sect.
Manit’s second report on his experiences traveling in Italy highlights the artistic search for perfection which he witnessed there. ‘Perfectionism’ is a value he regards as lost in Thailand’s contemporary artworld. The usually hard-nosed critic was overwhelmed by some of the art he saw in Italy. It made him ‘feverish…giddy with beauty.’ There was art everywhere; the Italian cities – Rome, Florence, Napoli - were living art museums. Manit remembers the work of Thai artists such as Nai Kong Pae, Kru In-Kong, Acharn Fua Haripitak, even Chakrphan Posyakrit and his puppet theatre: these masters represent true seekers after perfection. Manit is inspired by the example of Michelangelo, painting the Sistine Chapel and dedicating his work to the highest ideals. By comparison, the critic complains, too many talented Thai artists today have shallow and short-sighted goals.
Popping back from the Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy, readers find themselves the following week in cyberspace with GP, announcing the progress of Art Media on the Internet – Thai@rtNet. Getting support from art lovers and collectors who are computer adepts, Thai Art Net has been online for two years. The article gives details of the website. It is June, and GP’s last critique for the year.
Until August, Manit and Niran alternate as the primary art critics for Silpa/Wattanatham. In the final quarter, they are joined by a new critic, the voice
of Pen Pakta.
Niran Ketutad’s first review is of a show by the artist Nitaya Eua-Ariworakul (Womanifesto) and her show, Nude Empty. Many of the very simple drawings seem to be taken fresh from the sketchbook. The images speak of the suffering and abuse of anonymous young women, victims of repressive traditions, customs and social values; about people with no right to protest, no one to call upon for redress. Niran urges readers to offer support by going to see the show.
Niran also covers a show of conceptual art and photography at the Wityanitat Gallery at Chula by two French artists, Marie Celine and Leticia Bourget. The same article looks at graphic works of art by a Japanese artist, Toshiya Takahama at the gallery of the Faculty of Painting at Silpakorn University. His next assignment is a show by painter Yongyuth Damsri, Flaring Emotion. Compared with Manit’s sustained, acerbic bite, Niran’s critiques give an impression of being responsibly but half-heartedly crafted; as if he were assigned to critique exhibitions which were far from his taste. This may indeed have been the case with his review of sculptures by Argentinean artist, Lydia Heidi Wieteskid. Fantasia Latina looks like an official cultural exchange sponsored by the Argentinean embassy and showing at C.U.Wityanitat Gallery.
At the end of July, Niran critiqued a show of woodcuts by another Japanese artist, Tora Matsuyama, at the gallery of the Faculty of Fine Art, Rachapat University. His earnest and poetic descriptions of the artist’s portrayal of many kinds of plants life, growing in tangles under the bright moonlight, were rather more inspired.
In mid-June, Manit was telling about his trip with the Ukabat Group to nail up an installation of paintings along the beach near the village of Bahn Krut in Prachuabkirikan. They hoped to encourage the local villagers in their resistance to the construction, in their middle of their home, of a coal-fired electricity generating plant. Bored and disgusted with himself, with the country, and with society in general, Manit allows his friends (Wasan Sittiket, Mana Pupichit and Paisarn Plienbangchang) to drag him along, for they were, as he said, ‘brimming with faith and hope, all three of them.’ The critic describes how he ended up feeling quite uplifted, his morale encouraged by the example of the spirit, bravery and endurance of the country folk.
An exhibition at Bangkok University the following week  did not evoke such cordial feelings. Though Manit usually likes the work of Suti Kunawichayanond, he did not find this particular sculpture installation as ‘refreshing’ as the artist promised it would be. Instead, Suti’s rubber ‘dolls’ designed to be inflated by the breath of visitors to the gallery were deemed by the critic to be offensive and problematic. Manit questions the design of the work, pointing out weaknesses and contradictions, and recalls several works by the artist which were more successful.
Manit’s critiques are engaging, in part, because he often brings his own feelings into the discussion, citing some relevant personal experience. In Private and Public, he tells about his development as a professional photographer and his attempts to learn more about taking pictures by using an automatic ‘idiot’ camera. While confiding that he keeps no photographic record of his own private life, Manit admits to finding the photo albums of others very interesting. Manit is intrigued by Sompong Tawi’s show, with Tanom Chapakdi, at Gallery 253, in which Sompong tacked up 800 random photos, stringing together a miscellaneous mixture of people, places and animals. The artist transforms his private life into his public life in one stroke. Manit regards Sompong as someone who hasn’t always worked seriously at art. (‘If anyone took him seriously, they would be crazy.’ ) In this show, however, he admires Sompong for doing what he himself often does, i.e. opening up his feelings and his story to public view.
Sharply critical with Suti, whose work he has admired, encouraging with Sompong, in whose work he sees promise, Manit turns an icy stare on an exhibition which he assesses as silly and offensive bureaucratic propaganda organized by the Fine Art Department and the National Housing Authority in the National Museum to ‘encourage the preservation of the Thai heritage,’entitled Regional Thai Wisdom and Technology. 
The last of Manit’s reviews in the second trimester of 1999 deals with the subject
of the expanding wedding photo industry. Manit contrasts real and staged romantic moments, comparing the modest wedding photos taken in the neighborhood photo shop of his boyhood with today’s over- inflated fantasy images, about which he concludes, ‘How can such pictures not be ridiculous?’
Early in September, Pen Pakta (Pen P.) reviews The Breath of Nature, a show of 30 oil paintings by Seni Chamdech at the Suan Pakkad Palace. Pen P. uses the opportunity to make some basic distinctions for readers between realistic, semi-abstract and abstract art, looking closely at two of Seni’s paintings (Untidy Origins and Dark and Light) to illustrate.
Pen’s review is followed by Niran Ketutad’s Life in the View of the New Wave, highlighting the works of five artists (Piwat Nophiran, Panu Saruaysuwan, Marut Wanthong, Wutikorn Kongka, and Tamniap Sira) selected to represent Thailand in the Best Art of ASEAN competition in Kuala Lampur in November. Some of the other interesting works not selected to compete are also mentioned.
For the remainder of the year, reviews by Niran and Pen P. alternate with columns by Manit. The writing of Manit differs distinctly from the others because it turns continually to make (usually negative) judgments on society. For Manit, critiquing art is a way of critiquing society, and he does so much more boldly and aggressively than any of his critic - colleagues at Silpa/Wattanatham this year.
Manit at some point was traveling in Greece, and was struck, for one thing, by the modesty of Greek homes. The Greeks traditionally leave grandeur to temples and palaces; they do not aggrandize their own dwellings. Manit admires this restraint, which contrasts with the dwarfing of Thai temples by weird ‘post-modern’ commercial office buildings in Bangkok. Everything should have limits, balance, concludes Manit. He praises the idealized Byzantine image of Jesus which remained the same for a thousand years because the objective was ‘to communicate Dharma.’ The function of the sacred image displaced the egoistic desire of the artist to display his power in the artwork.
In September, the 45th National Art Exhibition rolls around and Manit drops by for a look. He agrees with an architect friend, “It’s the judging committee which was mediocre, not the artists.” Manit takes issue with the thesis of an article in the catalog of the show which blames the decline in the show’s prestige on changes made in the selection of judges, which resulted in a less qualified committee. The article reflects the original organizers’ ongoing dissatisfaction with these changes. Manit believes the changes were necessary, but the process of evolution and development (halted, as usual, by the bureaucratic habits of the official art establishment) should not have stopped there.
The progress of the National Art Exhibition, repeatedly scrutinized in Silpa/Wattantham, mirrors contemporary ideological and intellectual development
in the modern Thai artworld.
In the next issue, Niran Ketutad followed up Manit’s comments with his own assessment of the 45th National Art Exhibition. Niran looks at some of the principles for judging artworks and the qualifications of judges, and discusses some of the prize winning works, mentioning their distinctive achievements. He considers some non-prizewinners as well. The critic has his own ideas about the weak points of the show, i.e. that prizes were given more for technique than for subject; that the sculpture section was haphazardly organized; and there were no explanations of many works which were puzzling for visitors. Niran closes with the hope that next year there will be significant improvements.
These rainy season artworld politics are followed up in early October by a dense, philosophical discussion of controversial Thai high art with Buddhist and Hindu themes, especially a recent work, My Angel, by Sompop Butrach. With warm praise for Sompop’s innovative image, Pen P. recalls Professor Chalud Nimsamur’s Lokutra sculpture, some years back, for the Sirikit Convention Center. It also caused an uproar, but was eventually accepted and admired.
Manit is also interested in controversial artists and their work, in this case, the latest winner of the (transvestite) Miss Queen of the Universe, Thailand contest, Miss Oh Patira Srinamwong. Manit sympathizes with the beauty queen, who must keep her title under wraps in a society which remains ambivalent about gays. The critic has warm praise for Michel Shaowanasai’s film, Iron Pussi, an idealized, sexually charged superhero(ine) who can protect gays from the evils of society.
While Manit is commiserating with Bangkok’s gay community, Pen P. is talking to architects Wirapan Shinawatr and Dr.Somridt Nierowattanayingyong about their new ‘Fund for the Cultural Environment,’ and their offer of an all-expense-paid boat trip for two days on the Maeklong for 30 well-known artists. The resulting paintings of the beloved river will be exhibited at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, with half the proceeds from sales returned to the Fund. The critic hopes the investment will bear fruit.
What Counts is Size, says Manit, the following week, referring to an article by Worasak Mahatanobol in a recent issue of Matichon Weekender. Worasak discusses the fascination with size in Chinese culture, where statistics for their country, for example in geography and population, are all oversized. Manit considers the value implications of size, since being big suggests being great. However, Manit complains of the present mindless craze for ‘the biggest’ in popular Thai society, which reminds him of the ugly materialism of ‘whites’ (especially Americans).
Niran contributes two more critiques in 1999. In November, he discusses tattoos and the present women’s fashion of painting on nylon stockings to resemble tattoos on their legs. In mid-December, in his last critique for the year, Niran discusses a traveling exhibition, Rage Color, by a group of three artists (Adulphan Isarakul na Ayudthya, Mana Pupichit and M.L.Sakdilin Kasemsan) on the subject of ‘communities along the Chao Phraya River.’ The critic notes that the paintings seem to gain a new aesthetic flavor with each different venue in which they are shown.
Pen Pakta also has two more critiques to offer as 1999 draws to a close. The first compares the values of creativity and destruction in Hindu mythology with the ideals of the Dada art movement.  Comparing Dadaism and the worship of Phra Siva, the critic notes that both see the importance and usefulness of destruction. An admirer of the Ukabat group of performing artists who have Dadaist ideals, the critic nonetheless urges these artists to destroy their own egoism in order to make artistic progress.
Just as Parinya Tantisuk opened the year and closed his writing with happy New Year’s art as a blessing to his readers, Pen P.’s last word in 1999 refers to something beautiful – Loy Kratong ceremonies of candles and incense along the river, and a festive work of performance art celebrating wedding nuptials. Quoting the words of Nobel Prize winner, John Steinbeck, and offering images of tradition and innovation, the critic leaves a final suggestion to readers : Whatever you value most highly, do it now, before it’s too late!
As the year ends for Manit, he looks in four critiques at works by 4 artists. In the first, concerning Rerkridt Tirawanich’s ‘pad Thai,’  Manit focuses on a question of definition which came up in a seminar in Chiengmai in 1996 and was not well answered by the artist: Can pad Thai be art? Manit now gives five reasons which explain in the affirmative. Rerkridt’s cooking is art because of the ‘white’ context; the performance character of making the pad Thai; the transformation of the gallery into a dining hall by the artist; the expression of Thai culture; and finally, the nourishing character of pad Thai, for art is really food for the soul. Manit closes with an ambivalent description of some similarly controversial artworks at the Brooklyn Art Museum in NYC.
The second artist treated by Manit in November is Chatchai Puipia, whom Manit praises as ‘the greatest Thai painter of the decade.’ This is a beautifully written critique and an example of Manit at his positive and admiring best.
The third artist to receive Manit’s attentions as the year closes is Wasan Sittiket.
Manit puts himself between the artist and an admiring, bullying public, encouraging Wasan to paint what he feels like painting, and scolding the public for using Wasan’s political protest paintings in the most cynical way. People like to see Wasan being rude to politicians and government officials; it becomes a kind of entertainment. When the artist ventured into some new and different, less polemic subjects, he was criticized for doing so. Manit urges Wasan to follow his feelings, and praises a new work, Missing Dad, which shows an unexpected, more poignant side of the artist’s experience.
Manit’s final blast for 1999 is aimed at Surasi Kusolwong and art academics who attempt to conjure art out of torturous explanations and a smokescreen of technical talk. With his respect and affection for the accomplishments of the great Thai snooker champion, Tong Sitchoi, Manit is offended and angered by Surasi’s transformation of the About Café into a sort of artwork- Snooker establishment. He is convinced neither by a visit to the installation at the Café-Studio nor by the explanations put forward in the press release for the show. “This is a dark age of intellectual blindness…an age of madness for fake art academics…Smells like fart,” he concludes.
Manit does not allow for the difficulty of artists and academicians in articulating a new impulse in art. It does not seem surprising that the artist cannot explain his profound impulse clearly, since words are not his medium of expertise. The unexpected and unfamiliar, by definition, takes time to be understood. Manit, himself, took about 3 years to getting around to giving a clear and reasoned account of Rerkridt Tirawanich’s pad Thai.
I was asked by two young artists to speak on behalf of their similar installation at About Café during that period. In the face of aggressive questions from the audience, I was unable to provide them a good defense. (That was almost 10 years ago.) In fact, one of the reasons Manit gave for accepting Rerkridt’s pad Thai as art was that the artist turned the gallery into a dining hall. But he would not accept Surasi’s art in turning About Studio into a snooker parlor. If we can accept Duchamp’s urinal or Picasso’s bicycle wheel as art, it is not far to being able to turn a whole place (a BIG installation) into art. But this became obvious to us only later.
Tourism : Amazing Thailand, Clueless Government
Parinya acknowledges the launch of a tourism campaign, Amazing Thailand, in the new year. The critic’s theme in this essay is the usefulness of art, which powerful people in Thailand seem not to grasp. The country has its own distinctive modern art and generations of gifted artists and craftsmen. This heritage could attract many admiring visitors, just like those who make pilgrimages to see the art of Japan or Europe. The governments of Italy and Germany, for example, are proud of their artistic and cultural treasures, preserving, supporting and encouraging their arts. As a result, people come from all over the world to see their great heritage. Parinya notes sadly that Thai people don’t appreciate their own resources. They overlook the truly valuable and invest in [frivolous by comparison] tourism festivals and publicity events.
And a Happy New Year
As if to prove that there are plenty of contemporary art treasures to which the powers that be are blind, the critic offers 11 articles in 1998 which highlight individual Thai artists - 12, counting a review of some drawings by PM Chuan Leekpai. The first article spotlights Kamol Tasananchali, recently named one of Thailand’s ‘National Artists.’ Kamol lives and works in the US. As chairman of the Thai Arts Council in Los Angeles, and a successful artist in his own right, Kamol has worked hard to introduce many contemporary Thai artists and their works in America. He is generally liked and appreciated in the Thai artworld on both counts.
After reporting on the bash celebrating Kamol’s honorary degree from Burapa Univerisity,at the Siam City Hotel, which was attended by 70 or 80 artist-well-wishers, including many luminaries of the Thai artworld, Parinya pauses to send a New Year’s greeting to his readers.
In Saying Goodbye to the Old Year , he urges his readers to avoid assuming unnecessary emotional burdens by reading depressing news reports. The critic offers kindly and practical advice on how and how not to rid oneself of tension, describing simple, natural ways to lift ones spirits. These are reasonable survival tactics in a dark period of modern history, though perhaps a bit unexpected, coming from a column on art criticism. In addition to his readers in the general public, Parinya may also have been thinking of friends and acquaintances in the artworld who are feeling the impact of the nation’s financial crisis as well.
Solo Shows: Sugar and Spice
Later in January, the critic looks at the etchings of Yupha Changkul, whose work offers a cheerful boost to readers as the new year begins. The young woman artist is pictured at the above left on the article’s opening page. Large reproductions of photos of several of her works are spread before her on the page. Yupha’s smiling face is fully illuminated. She looks not into the camera but glances aside. Parinya characterizes the artist as happy and optimistic as he describes and discusses the many charming little animals that appear in her dream-like, flowery etchings. The critic’s descriptions give a sense of things miniature, like a doll’s house or a child’s world of make-believe. The critic is charmed. Yupha is someone special who ‘records feelings and memories in her own unique way…Her tool is her delicate and smooth emotion.’
Because of the inadequacy of the reproductions in the magazine article, it is difficult to assess the critique. The pictures and the descriptions make the artworks seem thin and saccharine, but Parinya’s tone in discussing them is serious.
Before briefly reviewing the work of Titapol Suwankusolsong, Parinya offers a long discussion of the mechanical aspects of working in graphic art and of the typical working habits and discipline of most printmakers, in the critic’s experience. The style of this essay is much more ‘muscular,’ bristling with references to tools used and the need for cleanliness, neatness, method and order in the midst of rather tricky technical operations. Titapol is photographed, looking up toward the camera from an apparently narrow cubicle of space. The young man sits in shadow, his face only partially illuminated by a dramatic shaft of bright light that cuts diagonally across his face and torso. Like the photos of the two artists, their works stand in total contrast. Titapol’s silkscreen prints are very schematic, almost like tentative engineering diagrams; Yupha’s etchings of little animals in dusky clearings are delicate and sweet.
The next individual artist comes into focus in May, when Parinya gives readers a refreshing break from the summer heat with a discussion of some abstract paintings by Somsak Chaotadapong. Somsak is a more mature, senior artist. Parinya’s descriptions of his colorful abstractions are clear, cooling and refreshing. The critic is particularly skilled in describing abstract art. His critique of Somsak’s work is actually fun to read. Parinya’s skill in this respect is a rare gift, since critiques which describe abstract art are so often ponderously metaphysical, vague, confusing and utterly boring. Parinya, whose own work often concerns delicate balances of color and forms, is also very comfortable talking about color and rhythm in the work of the painter and graphic artist, Thaiwijit Peungkasemsomboon. Once again, the critic breezes through a discussion of an artist’s non-objective paintings and graphic works, describing and analyzing the elements with clarity and order, explaining persuasively, teasing the reader into feeling comfortable with pure abstraction.
During that season of hot weather, Parinya presented his readers with one more summer bouquet of color, after the essay on Somsak Chaotadapong. In Summer Pictures, Parinya briefly introduces the works of three artists. First, Sannarong Singhaseni, whose world view the critic describes as optimistic and hedonistic, and his landscapes, ‘free forms from sources in nature, using very fresh, clean color. Second, Charoon Boonsuan, an artist who still goes outside to paint in the heat of the midday, surrounded by his garden of brilliantly colored flowers. And finally, Siriwan Jenhattakarnkit: when she goes on holiday, especially to the sea, she collects bits of seashells and wood, bringing them back to use in her graphics and watercolors. The pictures he describes date back to 1992 or before. Nowadays, notes the critic, it is difficult to find something pretty that is really artistic, perhaps because artists have not been in the mood lately.
Parinya shows another aspect of his role as a critic in his essay on the exhibition, Pig Shit Runs When it Rains. The artist, Suti Kunawichaiyanond, engages the issue of three abused native animals– buffaloes, elephants and tigers – all of which suffer a sad fate in Thailand’s modern world. Many people regard the buffalo as a popular symbol for Thai commoners, and the elephant as the symbol of the Kingdom of Siam. Hence, representations of these animals easily become provocative and politically charged. The artist exhibits inflatable, empty, para-rubber skins of a buffalo, tigers and an elephant, and calls upon gallery-goers to help give body to the deflated (and defeated) symbols by blowing into them through rubber tubes. It is no easy task. Visitors must use their own life force – their own breath – to reinvigorate these metaphors for the nation. Of the individual artists and artworks in solo shows featured by Parinya in his column in 1998, none seem to be as acerbic as Suti and his collapsed symbols of traditional Thai culture. Parinya is determined to record them for posterity in his writing for SilpaWattanatham.
A September column is sprinkled with a handful of enigmatic reproductions of pictures of recent works, all entitled ‘fetish,’ by Tavorn Ko-udomwit. Parinya doesn’t touch upon this rather sticky term (fetish), though it is the title of the article and an interesting nomenclature for these abbreviated images. Giving a respectful nod to his colleague, Parinya avows that, in these works, Tavorn is being true to ‘his source and to his ancestors.’ However, the critic’s description of the artist’s northern mountain hideaway, constructed from the lumber of abandoned old houses, and of Tavorn’s frequent shows and visits to Japan, suggest that the artist has drunk deeply at the well of Japanese aesthetics, and may even have adopted a certain exaggerated appreciation, or fetish, for old wood. Strangely enough, the artist seems willing to toy with the concept, but the critic turns away. The discussion does highlight the tension between quaint, well-fingered wooden bric-a-brac, replete with ancestral voices, and the collection by urban sophisticates of expensive, high art objects as simulacra.
In November, Parinya reviews Tinakorn Kasuwan’s show, Life with Waterways. The critic provides some biographical background of the artist and then takes a close look at some of the paintings in the show. As a sort of disclaimer, Parinya states his personal preference for Tinakorn’s graphic work. In any case, the critic finds the approach and painterly qualities of these works to be less successful than the artist’s earlier graphic art.
Later in the same month, Parinya looks at From Limestone – by Phatayodt Phutcharoen  The artist is a skilled lithographer and Parinya’s colleague at the Faculty of Painting at Silpakorn University. Parinya quotes extensively from the article in the exhibition catalog in which Phatayodt tells how he learned to make and to experiment with lithographs, using various chemicals on the limestone block. It is, says the artist, a search for ‘the essential thing, the soul of nature.’
With a dearth of women painters to review, Parinya presents some reproductions and a review of paintings by Pensil Nilwattananond, a Thai woman artist who has lived and worked in Paris for about 30 years.
Art Theory and Art Auctions
Late in February and early in March Parinya reacts to the news of the upcoming 3rd National Visual Arts Studies Seminar. The critic is not enthusiastic about the apparently pompous gathering which is projected, but takes a positive and constructive view of the possibilities in 2 articles, back to back.
Early in the summer, Silpakorn University does indeed organize said National Seminar on art. Parinya devotes his column in the first week of April to the remarks of one of the speakers. Dr.Chettana Nakwachara’s topic was The New Decade of Art and Humanity. The good doctor urges that this era could be a golden age for art as the illusion of the joys of the pursuit of wealth and riches has been shattered by the economic crisis.
As if to counterpoint the philosopher’s theoretical discussion of what art does and how it should function in society, Parinya follows up with two essays presenting his own account of the relations between the artists who produce art, the galleries which sell art, and the buyers who want to purchase it. He first presents a general overview of the whole system, followed by a closer look at how art is priced.
In June of 1998 there was a historic bor-ror-sor art auction which took place as a result of the nation’s historic economic crisis triggered in 1997. More than 400 masterpieces by the most respected Thai artists and more than 100 works of high art were put on auction, along with around 600 decorative and collector’s items. Parinya reports on the committee which assessed the value and price of the most expensive pieces, describes some of the mechanics of the auction, and shares some of this own responses to the event and how it is being handled, especially the matter of pricing the various works.
By September, the political news of parliamentary dithering, empty rambling, and political game playing reveal, as Parinya sighs, ‘the low quality of our politicians.’ Still, there is good news from within the artworld. More artists have submitted to the National Art Exhibition this year and to the Contemporary Art Exhibition of Young Artists as well. The numbers look good. In his article entitled Art QC, the critic wonders aloud how artworld standards can be raised and maintained at the highest possible levels. He concludes that well planned and well-managed competitions are a good quality guarantee.
Small Groups and Small Group Exhibitions – Outsiders and Insiders
Outsider  refers here to Thai artists who have developed and emerged outside the dominant artworld framework of the nation’s important college and university art schools. The article, in the first week of May, is illustrated with photographs of 4 of these ‘outsiders,’ each portrait photo accompanied by a reproduction of a picture of the artist’s work. Parinya discusses the disadvantages and advantages of growing up outside the system, especially the network of support which exists within each institution. Winning a seat at university is no guarantees of success, and students cannot escape many kinds of obstacles and difficult choices on the ‘art road.’ Parinya then acknowledges 4 well-known and successful artists who are ‘outsiders,’ Prateuang Emcharoen, Sompong Adunsarnphand, Prasong Leumuang and Pornchai Jaimah. These individuals are so focused, creative and dedicated that they survive and, indeed, thrive ‘outside.’
The following week, Parinya reviews a show by two other ‘outsiders’ of a sort, artists from Lanna in the North of Thailand, Tawatchai Somkong and Alongkorn Lorwattana at the National Gallery. Both are former students (as was the iconic Fua Haripitak) of Wisawaparti Santiniketan University, located about 90 miles from the city of Calcutta and founded originally by the great Indian poet, Rapinatr Takore. Parinya reviews the educational and competitive backgrounds of Tawatchai and Alongkorn, noting particularly their sense of regional solidarity, which is shared by many well-known artists from the North. He closes with a general, somewhat mixed review of their show at the National Gallery.
In June, 8 students from the Thai Art Department at the Faculty of Painting, Silpakorn – Krisana Wannakul, Jirapong Sornnakorn, Pachaya Yuktanan, Pornprasert Yamasaki, Panupong Chu-arun, Wasan Petchkul, Suwicha Dusadiwanich, Sakol Suthimal and Anchali Taenmani – have a show at the faculty gallery. The exhibition is a way of disseminating knowledge and getting experience in setting up an exhibition. Parinya examines the work of 5 or 6 students before turning close attention to another exhibition by one of the students, Suwicha Dusadiwanich, at the About Café / About Studio. This show is quite risky as it places sacred Buddhist symbols [seemingly] casually in among mundane household items such as beds and bathtubs. The critic, like the artist, is anxious that people who hear about the show don’t get any wrong idea that any slights against the national religion are intended.
In August it is the turn of students from the graphic arts classes of 1997-98 to stage their own exhibition at the gallery of the Faculty of Painting (PSG/SU). Parinya describes the creative planning by the head and the deputy head of the Graphic Arts department, Yanwit Khunjaethong and Surasi Kusolwong, in organizing the students to prepare for and launch their exhibition. As an art teacher, as well as an artist and a critic, Parinya thoroughly appreciates their step-by-step planning. They foster coordination among students and guide them in planning and preparing the catalog and the posters for their own show. Then, they install, launch, host and monitor the exhibition of their own work. An old engraving from the printing house of the Bank of Thailand is obtained to make reproductions which will be on sale at the exhbition to raise funds for educational projects in the Graphic Arts department. Altogether, it is an admirably unified and complete event, eliciting from Parinya a statement of his own aesthetic ideal, i.e. things and activities which demonstrate ‘care for beauty and for all aspects of the whole’.
In mid August, Paryina reviews another show by young artists (Yupha Changkul, Denpong Wongsarodt, Thamrongsak Nimanusornkul and Sompong Lirasiri – all apparently, his former students) at Bahn Chao Phraya on Phra Ahtit road. It is the second time Parinya has reviewed Yupha’s work this year. Parinya praises the group generally for their ‘interesting techniques,’ their ‘bold and exploratory’ work, and their forward momentum as developing artists. While noting that Yupah’s charming animal motifs have become less cute and are showing less desire to please, he notes that the figure-ground contrast has become murky and unclear. The critic then makes a long, well considered, theoretical statement about being less focused on content and letting the art elements lead, ‘following the subconscious.’ In commenting on the work of Denpong, Parinya focuses on the artist’s technique, the ‘weight and color,’ and the interesting surfaces created, but he faults some repetitious elements, and suggests that the drawing need not be ‘like drawing for graphic art.’ In reviewing the work of Thamrongsak, Parinya again looks closely at elements, techniques and subjects. He cites a principle, i.e. those who make works like this need a very simple outline. He also makes an interpretation: the artist is searching for forms which express feeling and emotion and which clearly have a Thai character as well. Then, an evaluation: The artist gets very good results in his graphic works. For Sompong, Parinya notes that the artist is already using elements well enough, but that he could make the outer edges of the free forms more meaningful, to express more power and more content. The critique has the general character of a talk by a good teacher in the classroom, counseling his students about their work.
Parinya’s last review in 1998 treating a small group of artists is his consideration of ‘three young men who won prizes in the 44th National Art Exhbition this year,’ i.e. Prekamol Chiowanich, Sonsiri Sirisingh and Pairote Wangbon.  Addressing Prekamol’s work first, Parinya praises the artist’s outstanding use of natural materials in artworks which concern society, the environment and the destruction of forests. Prekamol can express emotion and feeling very intensely via surface markings. The critic gives a close description of the artist’s techniques, compositions and art elements. ‘The delicious thing is the elements – surface marks, brownish red color, and deep black, dancing round.’
Parinya describes Sonsiri as ‘another painter who uses materials instead of paint.’ Sonsiri uses synthetic materials, especially cloth. The critic describes the character of the cloth as the artist works it, pulling, stretching knotting, over-lapping, working with the ends and textures of the cloth. Parinya’s description helps the reader really feel that this pulling and stretching of cloth in all its characteristics and textures does, indeed, reflect a sense of the emotions of the human heart.
Finally, Parinya describes the techniques of painting with oil color used by Pairote Wangbol. He ‘slices’ the paint on, wipes it off and puts it on again, using sponges and brushes cut very short. Explaining Pairote’s interest in the natural cycles of life and death, Parinya describes appreciatively how the artist creates his paintings, the pictorial elements and the vigorously moving masses of forms which take their own direction across the canvas.
Larger Groups, Bigger Shows, Contrasting Values
Late in March, Parinya announces the annual show by students in this year’s graduating class from the Faculty of Painting at Silpakorn University (PSG/SU). The show is being held at the National Gallery this year because the university gallery is undergoing renovation. In the first half of the article, the critic looks closely at the works of several students – Chatuphum Losiri, Thanaporn Natawanichkul, Yuwanar Bunwattanawit, Wiranya Duangrat, Surayudt Duangjai and Saranya Woranridt. He also mentions by name the works of Niramol Hoitaku, Akanit Suksomphumi, Primprapha Tawangpichonsuk, Adirek Lotakul, Anant Rachawangintr and Titikorn Boonyakietr. In the second half of the article, Parinya offers some interesting statistics about the age and varied regional backgrounds of the students in this graduating class. He also describes at length the phenomenon, which he has seen so many times through the years, of students tending to place themselves into one of 3 groups in terms of their reaction to life in Bangkok and the artworld of the capital city. That is, some accept it all wholeheartedly and uncritically –sometimes becoming very superficial as a result of rushing after the ways and lifestyle of the big city. Others are more skeptical, trying (not always successfully) to pick and choose what is best for them and to reject what they do not need. The last group consists of young people who reject the Bangkok urban lifestyle and the artworld it cultivates. They cling proudly and seriously to their country ways and values.
In the following week, Parinya continues his consideration of the choices which students make about values, outlook and lifestyle when they come to Bangkok to study art at the Faculty of Painting, Silpakorn University. The rural-urban split that sometimes develops reflects different personalities and different world views. Parinya cites the contrasting examples of Pong Sengking, a successful artist-teacher at the Faculty who left Bangkok to live and work in traditional rural settings upcountry, and the late Montien Boonma, an outstanding artist-teacher who studied abroad and embraced the possibilities of the modern world. The critic looks optimistically at both sides and sees greater strength and wisdom in the joining of the two.
Late in August Parinya reports on a ‘competition of the best art in Thailand,’ sponsored by the Phillip Morris Group of Companies. This is the 5th such exhibition since 1995. After the first round of judging, the winning works will be sent to an ASEAN competition where artworks from 6 countries will compete. The article names many former participants and winners.
In the first week of September, the winners of the 44th National Art Exhibition have been announced. There is only one gold medal awarded this year, in the category of mixed media, but silver medals in painting go to Prekamol Chiowanich and Parinya Tantisuk. Parinya reviews the other results and winners and gives his assessments about artists’ participation this year and the performance of the committee of judges. A question from a news reporter about the relevance of contemporary abstract art for Thai society today gives Parinya an opportunity to state his convictions.
Mid-September brings the annual exhibition by the critic’s colleagues in the Faculty of Painting at Silpakorn. Parinya acknowledges the show and continues with a fairly general discussion about what viewers and visitors might expect to gain when venturing into such an exhibition of high art. His next column presents concrete examples which illustrate his discussion of the previous week as he looks at works by some of his distinguished colleagues. In 5 Types, 5 Styles, Parinya analyzes and interprets works by Ittipol Tangchalok, Roong Tirapijit, Pishnu Supanimitr, Suti Kunawichaiyanont and Nawin Biedklang
In October, the members of the Faculty of Decorative Arts have exhibition as well, in their newly opened Gallery of Art and Design.
In November, the Toshiba Corporation (Thailand) sponsors the exhibition, Brings Good Things to Life, showing at the National Gallery. Parinya acknowledges the artworld’s debt of gratitude to Toshiba for their support and turns to scrutinize and analyze the top winner of this show, Ready-Made Human Product with Chromium Trolley, a work of mixed media by Bandit Poonsombatlert. The Trolley features a gruesome array of body parts and organs for sale as if a common street vendor had been transformed into a strange type of local butcher or spare-parts dealer.
Exhibitions Sponsored by the Israeli Embassy, the Japan Foundation, INALCO and ASEAN.
Parinya reports on two exhibitions by Israeli artists presented in Bangkok as part of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the state of Israel. The first, in May, is an exhibition, Soul From the Desert, by Devora Weisz.  The second, in July, is Flock of Sheep of Menashe Kadisman.
For three weeks in July, Parinya reports on a Japan Foundation and Silpakorn University-sponsored seminar and exhibition focusing on senior Thai artists who had worked or studied in Japan. The exhibition honored 6 Thai artists: Prakit (Jitr) Buabutr, Chalerm Nakirak, Sawasdi Tantisuk, Prayoon Uluchata, Damrong Wong-uparat and Prapan Srisuta. Parinya presents biographical materials on the six artists being honored  and records for readers some of the seminar discussions in which 4 of these artists spoke about their experiences in Japan, i.e. Prakit (Jitr) Buabutr and Sawasdi Tantisuk, and Damrong Wong-uparat and Prapan Srisuta.
In November, the Institute of Oriental Language and Culture in Paris sponsored an exhibition at the Gallery of Art and Design of the Decorative Arts Faculty, Silpakorn University, of old photos showing ways of life in the past of Thailand and neighbor states in SE Asia. Parinya’s article quotes from the catalog article and features reproductions of some of the photos of old Siam in the exhibition.
In December, Parinya reported on ASEAN Art Award winners in a Phillip Morris Group of Companies- sponsored competition. The painting, Mr. Foreign Speculator, Stop Damaging Our Country, by a Malaysian artist, Kow leong King, received the top prize. Parinya describes some of the interesting works by Indonesian, Lao, Malaysian, Philippine, Singaporean, Vietnamese and Thai artists in the show.
Community Art Projects
In 1998, Parinya covers a number of topics which reflect various aspects of art and art activities in the community. Early in the year, he has three articles on children or children’s art. First, he reports on the many fine pictures created by children in competitions for Children’s Day. Then, in March, he notes gloomily that the news in society has been terrible lately, violent and nasty. Teachers have been found sexually abusing their students; policemen have been found luring young girls into drugs and prostitution. The exploitation of women and children is a chilling reality. Parinya’s offers reproductions of pictures of works by two artists who protest this violence by making pictures of it. Chakraphan Rattanachan’s work is in traditional Thai style, portraying a disorderly and disgusting scene of Drunkenness. Mind of Child in Garbage Bin 2, by Tong Udompol, expresses in brushstroke and color the cry of a child valued no more than the garbage that surrounds it. In the depths of these dark revelations about the deviant behavior of humans among themselves, preying on and abandoning their own young, Parinya is thankful and relieved to meet and get to know volunteer workers who, with the support of UNESCO, have organized an exhibition of art created by the children of the poorest of the poor families in the city.
After the hottest part of the summer has passed, art teachers and their students from a number of institutions, in concert with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, join together to help clean up and stage an art exhibition at the old Krusapha Printing House on Prasumeru Road. Parinya mentions the role of Chakraphand Vilasirikul in helping to realize the project, and describes the artworks at the cleaned up site-cum-exhibition hall of Yanwit Kunchaethong and Surasi Kusolwong. The action was community oriented and aimed at conserving a fine old structure with historical value.
In October, Parinya introduces the idea of high art moving consciously and intentionally out of gallery and museum and into the community. The mid-year project at the Krusapha Printing House and recent events and performances at Sanam Luang in remembrance of 14 October are good examples of this trend. Such art events aim at a more direct connection with people who would never think of going inside a gallery or museum. The critic discusses the idea at length as a prologue to the upcoming Bangkok Art Project which will unfold in December through the cooperation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Silpakorn University.
Life in the school of artists at the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Art of Silpakorn University (PSG/SU) is central to the critical perception of Parinya Tantisuk. As a member of the faculty, he is aware of the programs and courses being taught, of students and their activities, the field trips, the examinations, and the student shows. He is involved by association, as well, with the exhibitions and activities of his artist-teacher colleagues. Born into this artistic tradition, graduated from this school himself, now a civil servant attached to the university and a dedicated professional artist and educator, Parinya (much like Pishnu Supanimitr before him) orchestrates these many voices and concerns in his critical and aesthetic judgments for Silpa Wattanatham. In 1997, the critic devotes no fewer than 8 columns to describing the students, their work, and the educational culture in the Faculty of Painting.
Life at the Faculty of Painting
University classes have ended by March, but graduating students at the Faculty of Painting (PSG/SU) complete their studies with a thesis exhibition. Before taking a look at this year’s important student show, however, Parinya describes the program of studies at the faculty. Having been, himself, through those same years of intensive study in art practice and theory, and now teaching there, Parinya has intimate knowledge of this unique culture. He describes the regimen and tradition of kana jittrakam with warmth and enthusiasm. The critic’s view on what art is, and how artists grow, is formed by lifelong immersion in this venerable and complex tradition.
1997 is the first year that the MFA graduates at the Faculty of Painting are showing their work together in a group thesis exhibition. The MFA is the most advanced degree for practicing artists in Thailand. The cost of materials for such studies is high, as are the performance standards. Although many applicants wish to enter, the most qualified for these specifically tailored programs are graduates of the Faculty’s BFA programs. As a result, there are many familiar faces at the MFA thesis exhibition.
The new academic year in Thailand gets underway late in May or early in June. Before freshman initiation ceremonies have begun in earnest, Parinya makes his own address to the students, especially those at the Faculty of Painting, in the pages of Silpa Wattanatham.. He appeals to the graceful and honorable school traditions of the past, and urges students not to abuse newcomers as the year begins, but to greet each other with kindness and dignity. His essay closes on a pessimistic note, however, as he surveys some parts of the local urban landscape and the crudeness and vulgarity of some of the contemporary architecture in Bangkok. Can an appeal to aesthetic sensitivity be heard by people who spend their lives in such an environment?
By August, the school year is in full swing. Parinya introduces himself: ‘I’m an art teacher, and I make art too. Mostly I teach in studio.’  One of the courses he teaches is for first year students. In fact, Art Fundamentals involves a whole team of teachers, each bringing different special skills. Toward the end of the course, the students have an assignment focusing on culture (i.e.,‘what makes a group flourish and grow; a way of life; group behavior’) and tradition (i.e., what is valued and passed on till it becomes a plan or pattern.’) Parinya explains that each student has to be empowered by some ‘germ’ of creative fuel or energy in order to be able to fully engage their own work. In search of this ‘germ’ for his students in this assignment, Parinya takes them to the famous Muang Boran, or ‘Ancient City’ at Samut Prakarn. The students are excited to see many wood carvers working on decorations for a replica of an old palace. Parinya closes this first of two articles about the field trip with a striking description of an exhausted-looking old man, who is awakened from his sleep on a bench in the middle of the yard by the chatter of the students.
Parinya’s writing about the trip to Muang Boran with his students has a distinctive warmth and charm. The tired old man of 75 or 80 years turns out to be the owner of Muang Boran, who has been at work on this project for at least 30 years. Parinya lists some of the many famous artists who lent a hand in the project at one time or another. This brings the critic to a discussion of the delicate relation between artist and patron. The results of the trip to Muang Boran are very satisfying. The critic uses many pictures of his students’ work to illustrate the article. 
Refreshed and energized by such expeditions with his students in August, Parinya is cast down the following month by the state of the economy, which has so suddenly dropped into an abyss. ‘The baht in our pockets loses value quickly and continuously. The ministers who are interviewed do not help the people feel any better. The language they use in answering questions doesn’t take note of its own stupidity and coarseness. Staying silent, giving no explanation at all, no answers, would be better. Listening to them speak is so painful, worse than ever. It destroys all credibility and good faith.’ Artists are part of the society and feel the impact of this crisis, like everyone else. Parinya closes his survey of a generally depressing situation with some good advice. ‘Let’s help each other get our heads together. Calm down...What counts is to recover our morale. Think things over and correct them little by little. Weary? Then rest. Slow down. Take time to be still. The mood will slowly become peaceful and return to normal, allowing us to think and to move ahead prudently.’ Go and see the exhibition of 55 years of the Faculty of Painting now showing at the National Gallery, he advises. You will find it very relaxing.
By the end of October, the critic is ready to talk about the final exams, now completed, at the end of the first term of the 1997-98 academic year at the Faculty of Painting (PSG/SU). Parinya describes the atmosphere among the art students. Many work through the night to finish their projects in time for the studio evaluation by their teachers. The critic gives his readers a peek into the inner workings, the ceremonies and traditions, the desperation, excitement and drama within this select society of students privileged to be taught and to have their work evaluated by some of the most famous artists in the nation.
At the year’s end, in December, Parinya gives a final boost to some of the more active and ambitious of his students. The ‘Thai 4 Group’ are 5th year (senior) students in the Thai Art department. They are having their own 2nd group show, this time at the gallery of Poh Chang, Rachamongkol Institute of Technology. The show consists of works from their school assignments, but the quality is good. Parinya introduces each of the 9 students individually and briefly comments on their work. Student shows like this reflect a more relaxed attitude within the Faculty toward such exhibitions. In the past, a handful of undergraduates who independently organized their own show would have been frowned upon as reckless upstarts.
Exhibitions by Artists and students from the Faculty of Painting
Parinya devotes 17 of his weekly columns for Silpa Wattanatham in 1997 to discussions of the works of 15 individual Thai artists. Almost all of them are somehow connected with the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Art, Silpakorn University (PSG/SU), either as students or teachers.
On two occasions, in February and in April, Parinya describes journeys with the famous senior artist and watercolorist, Sawat Tantisuk, first to Kanchanaburi and later to the island of Koh Samui. Parinya’s portraits of Sawat at work out of doors by the River Kwae, and a few months later at the seaside in Chumporn and Surat Thani are discrete, intimate, and moving. In these modest travelogues, the reader seems almost to be there in the car with the family, or sitting at a restaurant table, waiting with them for lunch. The critic describes the senior artist, always alert for an interesting subject, watching and responding to one changing natural vista of light and color after another, as they journey to riverside campsites, along picturesque bays and lovely beaches and, eventually, through island resort towns disrupted by littering tourists.
In May, Parinya dedicates a respectful essay to one of his mentors: ‘Pishnu Supanimitr … my teacher and a teacher of many other artists.’ The young critic surveys the accomplishments of the senior artist’s long career, including his work as teacher, administrator, writer and critic (Pishnu was one of Parinya’s predecessors in the Silpa Wattanatham column). Pishnu’s class at Chang Silpa College included a number of the future famous who, like himself, were preparing for entrance exams to the Faculty of Painting. Parinya praises Pishnu’s recent silkscreen works in the latest Print as Print show by members of PSG/SU’s graphic art department, in which Pishnu brings Buddhist themes alive in a new way, using the patterns and colors of traditional Thai fabrics. ‘By means of rhythm, pause or rest, and placement of weight, Pishnu is able to reveal in these works something particular about the soul and spirit of Thai people in this era.’
In July, Parinya acknowledges the passing of Prof. Poon Ketchamrat, a National Artist in the field of Visual Arts (Photography) since 1988. The distinguished artist and native of Petchburi Province was 76 years old. Poon studied and later taught at Poh Chang College. During his very active professional life, Poon was president of the Photographer’s Association of Thailand and judged many competitions.
In his April article on an exhibition by Wirapong Pakornsak, Parinya, teacher as well as critic, begins his essay by describing the daunting obstacles faced by artists as they try to grow, and about the helps and hindrances they experience along the way. This essay sums up what he told Wirapong, says the critic, when the young artist complained that his work had been criticized for being repetitive. Parinya closes by listing Wirapong’s many successes in art exhibitions and competitions, including the artist’s recent solo show at the National Gallery.
Spiritual Mind, an August exhibition of paintings and prints by Apichai Piromrak at the PSG/SU gallery, is also inspired by Buddhist symbols and teachings. Unlike the work of Pishnu, Apichai uses traditional symbols, but he also brings in new materials and expressive techniques which enable him to , as Parinya says, ‘throw off the outer covering of traditional subjects to find the real content of Buddhist teaching.’
In September, Asst. Professor Sumon Srisaeng, approaching retirement as a teacher at Silpakorn University, exhibited his paintings and drawings in Sounds From Nature at the gallery of the Faculty of Painting. Sumon was one of the many, well-respected former students of Prof. Silpa Bhirasri, the celebrated founder of the university. Sumon remembered studying as a youth under such luminaries as Prayoon Uluchata (Nor Na Pak Nam), Fua Haripitak and Tavi Nandakwang. Sumon’s woodcut, Crows, took a bronze medal in the 12th National Art Exhibition. Having taught art history at the faculty for many years, Sumon was invited back as a special tutor after his retirement.
Parinya pays tribute to another student of Prof. Silpa Bhirasri, the late Tavi Nandakwang, a venerable historical figure of the modern artworld and a legend in his time. Parinya devotes most of the article to a close analysis of Tavi’s famous portrait of Suwanee Sukhontha. It is an important painting which took top honors in the 8th National Exhibition (1967). The original work is in the Silpa Bhirasri Memorial Museum in the compound of the Fine Arts Department at Wang Tha Phra.
In September, Parinya reviews an exhibition, Path of Monoprint, by Yanwit Kunjaethong at the Bangkok University (Kluay Namthai) gallery. Yanwit (b. 1957) is Parinya’s (b.1955) colleague and contemporary. A native of Petchburi Province, Yanwit, as a child, was encouraged in his interest in art by his father and his father’s friends, who were teachers at Petchburi Teacher’s College. The latest exhibition by Yanwit reflects his previous studies of the Braille alphabet.
‘In his latest work, the artist chooses the words peace, hands, love, happiness, printed and mingled together. The colors are cream and black, according to Yanwit’s ideas about light and dark. … Yanwit is an optimist, living simply. The artist’s life is consistent with the media that inspire him. The forms which arise are very simple, recording experience and relations between people, a life of austerity, a search for peace.’
The work of another contemporary of Parinya, Surasi Kusolwong, comes into focus in October when the critic reports on the 14th annual exhibition by members of the Faculty of Painting at Silpakorn. Parinya is intrigued by Surasi’s installation at the faculty gallery. Using bathroom mirrors painted black and yellow, the artist focuses on our need to validate ourselves by cleaning and preening in the toilet. ‘Isn’t it true that when you look in the mirror, you don’t see just your physical self…but you see deeper inside.’
In November, Parinya reviews three quite different artists whose works he likes, i.e. Bodin Mahawongse, Surasit Saowkhong and Chatchai Puipia.
Shortly after he graduated from PSG/SU, in 1992, Bodin Mahawongse  took 1st prize in the 16th BuaLuang Exhibition with works he had developed for his student thesis paintings. Five years later, in the 21st BuaLuang, Bodin has taken the top prize once more with his painting, Parpchap2540. Parinya describes the development of Bodin’s work over time. In this painting, the forms rise clearly and fade back, with over-lapping images of faces, gesturing demons and fierce animals. Though such motifs have long been popular - for example, in the work of earlier generations such as Tawan Dachinee or Kichalak Diprawat  - Bodin pulls away from familiar trends to develop a style of his own.
An upcoming solo exhibition by Surasit Saowkhong  in November is welcomed by Parinya. He recalls the artist’s reputation, some years back, as a remarkably focused and diligent student at the Faculty of Painting. Surasit’s subjects of traditional Buddhist sanctuaries and pious worshippers in a serene and glowing realistic style have proved extremely popular with collectors. ‘The value of the art in the works of Surasit Saokhong is hidden in a style that seems easy to understand. This [simplicity] helps his work become well known, more so than most realist art – so many artists work like this. [But] the emotions and feelings hidden in the work are peaceful, quiet, warm and comforting – at peace… You can see and feel this in all Surasit’s works.’
Parinya devotes two columns in November to the work of Chatchai Puipia. In the first, the critic recalls working with Chatchai at the Faculty of Painting, Silpakorn, and the remarkable skills and courageous habits of the artist in ‘making revolutions against himself.’ Parinya’s first analysis of Chatchai’s earlier works,  in anticipation of the artist’s solo exhibition coming up the following week, is a bit academic. His second critique,  an exploration of Chatchai’s challenging, sometimes outrageous paintings, is cheerful and sympathetic. This may have something to do with the fact that Chatchai is his former classmate and colleague. He describes the giant head in one painting: ‘ The color and the eyes are abnormal, unnatural. But when you see these images, you have to look and look again, because the taste of the color is delicious. Red which is so red, splashing, shining, in the giant face which has a wound and a smile. The broad grin and dirty yellow teeth are even more satisfying.’
In December, Parinya looks at two shows by women artists. His senior colleague at the Faculty of Painting, Associate Professor Kanya Charoensupakul, is having her 5th solo exhibition. She is, he says, ‘a power-packed artist, an art scholar, and a creative pioneer, especially in the field of lithography.’ Parinya makes some observations about the perfect economy of some of Kanya’s black ink paintings. In one starkly simple image, the critic sees an animal standing high on a cliff. The critic definitely has a playful, adventurous penchant for interpreting ambiguous little images.
Eventually, in his overview of her work, Parinya finds Kanya turning from optimism to dismay, especially in response to the 1992 Black May event. His own mood sours accordingly, with a sudden torrent of bitter complaint bursting forth about corruption in politics and the decline of morals among the Buddhist clergy. Parinya concludes on a dark note, in sympathy with ‘this woman artist.’ Her later works express more intense feeling about people in society whose dignity and humanity are stolen from them as a result of the economic crisis.
Parinya also reviews the work of another woman artist, Siriwan Jenhatakarnkij, in her year-end solo show – The Colors of Siriwan. As the eldest daughter in a family of Thai-Chinese business people, it is surprising that Siriwan had her family’s blessing and support in her decision to become an artist. ‘Her work always makes me think of drawings of Chinese landscapes and the old artists. They always depend on space and the rhythm of light, the rhythm of marks and signs which are decisive and intense, but beautiful, recording things which are natural and great.’ Parinya emphasizes Siriwan’s Chinese heritage. This ethnic thread is found in countless leading Thai artists.
As 1998 appears on the horizon of the New Year, Parinya attends a lively party for Kamol Tasananchali at the Siam City Hotel in celebration of the honorary degree in painting bestowed upon Kamol by Burapa University. While the party is in progress, news comes that Kamol has been named a National Artist. The 70 or 80 artists present, including a number of prestigious artworld seniors, rejoice wholeheartedly at the honors given to Kamol, who has done so much to support modern Thai art and artists in the United States.
Three non-Thai artists
In 1997, Parinya also reviewed the works of 3 non-Thai artists, Olivier Debre, a Frenchman; Kobayashi Tananobu, a Japanese ; and Roy Lichtenstein, an American. The June article on Debre reports on a show of his etchings and lithographs at the gallery of the Faculty of Painting, and summarizes Debre’s remarks to the students and faculty. ( The French artist was assisted by translators from the department of Western languages in the Archaeology Faculty.)
In his article headlining Roy Lichtenstein, Parinya begins by describing the lives and habits of artists, generally, and the many obstacles faced by the fine arts in winning popular interest and support. The critic notes in passing that the weakness of Thai currency represents an opportunity for artists, as it does for other entrepreneurs. He closes with a eulogy to the recently deceased Pop artist, and a description of the elements in advertising and the world of commercial art which inspired Lichtenstein’s breakthrough to a world of new possibilities in high art.
Parinya’s review of a show by Kobayashi Takanobu at the gallery of the Faculty of Painting is particularly interesting because the critic undertakes to interpret some of the Japanese artist’s very teasingly ambiguous little images, for example, a picture of a little houseboat floating on dark waters. With his cheerful disposition, the critic reads the various symbols as happy and friendly, though there is plenty of room to go the other way.
On His Majesty the King, and Other Exhibitions
Early in the year there is a festive exhibition in honor of H.M. the King, the “Golden Jubilee Art Exhibition: 50 Years of Thai Art.” In celebrating the 50th year of His Majesty’s reign, shows at the Sirikit Center were organized by artists and patrons in the private sector. The first part was a collection of 21 paintings and 10 photographs by the King, himself. The second part included at least 700 works by more than 300 artists. Parinya describes a number of works on display.
The Thai Farmers Bank also sponsored a competition and exhibition in honor of the Kanchana Pisek celebrations. The winning paintings are being shown on the 3rd floor of the head office at Rachburana. The competition included 54 works by 40 artists. With generous reproductions illustrating his account of the exhibitions, winning artists, and pictures, Parinya sketches out the role, to date, of the Thai Farmers Bank as a patron of high art.
Joining in the festive mood of the nation in celebration of the glorious 9th Reign, Parinya devotes two essays to the role of the Sovereign as a patron of Thai art.
Parinya covered a variety of exhibitions in 1997. The year opens festively with a show of modern ceramics by 52 Japanese artists.
In June, the critic reviewed a number of works in the 3rd Panasonic Contemporary Art Exhibition. The show was scheduled to travel to 4 upcountry venues. Parinya singles out for mention paintings by Preecha Panklam, Sudjai Chaiphandhu, Sonsiri Sirisingh, Prekamol Chiohwanith and Anand Rachawangintr.
In July, Parinya takes interest in an exhibition by 7 well known, skilled and experienced artists at the Seri Art Center under the title Charming Thai. Perhaps it is the charming title that elicits Parinya’s discussion about the search by artists for something ‘essentially Thai.’ As good examples of authentic expression, pioneered from the heart, the critic points back first, in history, to the immortal works of Khien Yimsiri, Angkarn Kalyanapongse and Fua Haripitak.
On September 4th, the 43rd National Art Exhibition officially opened. Parinya notes that there were no gold medals awarded in any category this year. There was some discussion about this, but Parinya agrees: standards for works in the show have fallen. Many artists nowadays work like clones, lacking any willingness to undertake the necessary sacrifice and search needed to give birth to something deeper, more interesting, more expressive. But the critic is optimistic. ‘If everyone who makes art seriously studies more and gets more experience, doesn’t simply mark time, but grows in knowledge, then one day, and not far from now, we will see something, a way to develop creatively, for each of us.’ He also comments on the continuing confusion among artists about ‘mixed media’ – how to know which works would best be submitted in that category and which still belong in another category. Later in the year, after the national show and before the New Year holidays arrive, a competition of children’s art lightens the atmosphere.
Art History and Aesthetics
Parinya also talks with readers about art history and aesthetics. Two detailed articles early on deal with the European art history and the development of collage and installation as art forms. When the Archaeology Faculty organizes a series of 6 lectures by Wirawan Manee presenting a general history of Western art, particularly sculpture and painting, Parinya announces the schedule for interested readers. Attending the first lecture in the series, he shares the history of the famous Hellenistic sculpture of the Laocoön , a painting by Dali, an abstract sculpture by Harry Hoffman, and a classic work of art from the Ayudthya period, the scripture cabinet of Wat Cherng Wai. His essay introducing traditional Thai painting is a gem.
‘The central support for doing anything well, whether it be one thing or many, is faith in the value of that thing, faith in what is to be done or made. Having faith that it will be worthwhile, faith that it is related to life, or that it is of some importance to ones humanity,’ says Parinya, ‘but I doubt if Thai people have faith in art.’
In this essay he considers how slowly the artworld is growing in Thailand, what an uphill struggle Thai artists face, and how much more support the arts receive in other countries. The critic warmly recalls meeting Prakit (Jitr) Buabutr last year, a pioneer in the arts, still vigorous at 86 years of age. Parinya’s essay seems to echo Pishnu Supanimitr talking with Misiem Yipinsoi some 20 years earlier. Pishnu also appreciated and praised Thailand’s talented artists and scholars. Speaking with the columnist for Silpa Wattanatham, Misiem spoke wistfully of seeing long lines of people queuing up to see art exhibitions in Europe. She wondered when that would happen here.
In his essay on Beauty, Parinya observes how people typically find something beautiful in art or in nature that makes them feel excited and happy. He admires the French, who have made their forests ‘the envy of Europe,’ and the Europeans, for encouraging their people to enjoy art. The critic has a gentle way of leading the reader into art, encouraging the timid to find their way forward, little by little. He makes note of the difference between seeing reproductions and originals, and applauds the universities and companies which are, in one way or another, patrons of the arts. This essay is beautifully written and should not be forgotten.
Other Subjects in 1997
The 13th of March is Thai Elephant Day, for people who love Thai elephants. The new official day of observance is a response to the growing incidence of tragic news in recent years about the fate of elephants in Thailand. To dramatize the profound meaning of elephants in traditional Thai culture, Parinya gives examples of Thai art in which images of elephants figure. He illustrates his essay with a number of artworks in which this lord of all beasts is the central figure.
In July, the art critic is found worrying about the shattered economy and the pressing need for citizens to perform their roles with a strong sense of social responsibility.  But how to make this happen? There is a debate on the national budget going on in the parliament. ‘Everyone is concerned about spending because the economy of the nation has fallen into a terrible state. Earnings do not match spending. It will be necessary for all to be thrifty. We need investments that will succeed. The national budget is not functioning properly. What we produce is more expensive. Exports are not so good. The cost of labor in neighboring countries is cheaper than Thai labor. The quality of their work is comparable and in some cases, they are passing us by.’
Parinya offers his own ideas about what is needed to improve the situation.
On Friday, 25th July, Parinya attended a seminar sponsored by the University Council of Silpakorn University on the subject of Views and Standards of Guaranteeing Quality of Education. The seminar was a search for ways of measuring the quality of education at Silpakorn University. Many policy makers who will be in charge of the measurement came to the meeting. There is a great need to raise standards of quality and to be able to confirm this upgrading. Parinya wonders how the university community will manage to carry out any proposed reforms.
In August, the critic acknowledges Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday, the national Mother’s Day holiday.
In October, the critic seems to be running on a very short fuse, commenting on the confusion engendered by a sort of ‘double-speak’ by the Prime Minister. He also finds some disturbing and depressing developments in the educational world. The school system seems to be geared toward producing graduates who are ‘selfish, manipulative, tricky and cunning, stealing the ideas of others and feeling no guilt, taking shortcuts which mean less quality, showing ability without ethics.’ He closes the article with a story of an art robbery in Boston. The thieves end up in jail. Sometimes, there is a just ending to the story…
“The Way That Was Made,” Yr.47, Vol. 31, Dec 29, 2000 – Jan 4, 2001.
 “Nor Na Paknam-Master Artist,”Yr.47, Vol.35, Jan 26 – Feb 1, 2001.
 “Color and Light Around the Body of Jarng,”Yr.48, Vol.11, Aug 10-16, 2001.
 “The Sweltering Environment,”Yr.48, Vol.28, Dec 7 – 13, 2001.
 “Green in the City,”Yr.47, Vol. 44, Mar 30 – 5 Apr. 2001.
 “The End of Growth?” Yr.47, Vol. 40, Mar. 2 – 8 , 2001.
 “Foundations of Culture,”Yr.47, Vol.39, Feb.23 – 1 Mar, 2001.
 “Footprints and the Ladder to Heaven,”Yr.47, Vol. 43, Mar. 23 – 29, 2001.
 “Real Pictures, Not Clear,”Yr.47, Vol.47, Apr. 20 – 26, 2001.
 “Flee the Tiger, Meet a Crocodile”Yr. 47, Vol. 48, Apr.27 – May 3, 2001.
 “Who is the Self in the Body?”Yr.47, Vol. 52, May 25 – 31, 2001.
 “Challenging Feelings,”Yr.47, Vol. 36, Feb. 2 – 8, 2001.
 “Crazy Consumption, Mad with Craving,”Yr. 48, Vol. 4, June 22 – 28, 2001.
 “The Wishes of Young Girls,”Yr.48, Vol. 3, June 15 – 21, 2001.
 “Bored and Problems Piling Up,”Yr.48, Vol. 7, July 13 – 19, 2001.
 “Old Sayings from the Elders,”Yr. 48, Vol. 8, July 20 -26, 2001.
 “In Faith with Our Land,”Yr. 48, Vol. 21, 19 – 25 Oct., 2001.
 “Art in a Pine Forest,” (1 and 2) Yr. 48, Vols. 15 and 16, Sept. 7 – 13, Sept. 14 – 20, 2001.
 “Traces on the Earth,”Yr. 48, Vol. 23, Nov. 2 – 8, 2001.
 “Social Conscience,”Yr. 48, Vol. 19, Oct. 5 – 11, 2001.
 Photography or photographic images: Yr.47, Vol.33; Yr.47., Vol.34; Yr.47, Vol.37; Yr.47, Vol.38; Yr.47, Vol. 45; Yr.48, Vol. 5; Yr.48, Vol.9; Yr.48, Vol.10; Yr. 48, Vol. 20;Yr.48, Vol. 29 and Yr.48, Vol.30.
 Thai Farmers Bank later changed their name to Kasikorn Bank.
 Religion themes, sensuality and aggrandizement: Yr.47, Vol.41; Yr.47, Vol.46; Yr.47, Vol.50; Yr.48, Vol.1; Yr.48, Vol.6; Yr.48, Vol.22;Yr.48, Vol.25; Yr.48, Vol. 26
 On the BMA Gallery Controversy: Yr.48, Vol.2; Yr.48, Vol.17 and Yr. 48, Vol.18.
On issues of politics and history: Yr.47, Vol.49 and Yr.48, Vols.13. and 14.
 “Images of Nudes-Problematic,”Yr.47, Vol. 42, March 16 – 22, 2001.
 “Have Sex with a Bank,”Yr.47, Vol.33, January 12 – 18, 2001.
 “The Sex of Automobiles,”Yr.47, Vol.46, April 13 – 19, 2001.
 “Cosmic Bank,”Yr.47, Vol.41, March 9 – 15, 2001.
 “Whose Nirvana?”Yr.47, Vol.50, May 11-17, 2001.
 “Chakkai at His Ease,”Yr.48, Vol. 1, June 1 – 7, 2001.
 “Faith and the City,”(Paisarn)Yr.48, Vol.21, 19 – 25 October, 2001
 “Faith and the City,”Yr.48, Vol.22, 26 October – 1 November., 2001
“Molding Dust Into People,” Yr.48, Vol.25, 16 – 22 November, 2001.
“White Sculptures,” Yr.48, Vol.26, 23 – 29 November, 2001.
“Bodies Seen; Land Visited,” Yr.47, Vol.49, 4 – 10 May, 2001.
 “History and Memory,”Yr.48, Vol.13, 24 – 30 Aug, 2001. and Yr.48, Vol.14, 31Aug-6 Sept.,2001.
 Ibid. Yr.48, Vol.13.
 Ibit. Yr. 48, Vol. 14.
 “Images of Nudes - Problematic,”Yr.47, Vol.42, 16 – 22 March, 2001.
 “Have Sex with a Bank,”Yr.47, Vol.33, 12 – 18 January, 2001.
 “Charming Chinese,”Yr.47, Vol.34, 19 – 25 January, 2001.
 “Bangkok – Wide Angle,”Yr.47, Vol.45, 6 – 12 April, 2001.
“Polypolis (Supreme Cities),” Yr.48, Vol.5, 29 June – 5 July, 2001.
“The Freedom of Corpses,” Yr.48, Vol.6, 6 – 16 July, 2001.
 “Ghost Children,” Yr.47, Vol.38, 16 – 22 February, 2001.
 “Naughty Child and Crying Fairy,”Yr.47, Vol.37, 9 – 15 February, 2001.
 “Photo Espana 2001,” Yr.48, Vol. 9, 27 July – 2 August, 2001.
 “American Dreams (South),” Yr.48, Vol.10, 3 – 9 August, 2001.
 “International Photo Festival, Pingyao,” Yr.48, Vol.20, 12 -18 October, 2001.
 “Photography Month,” Yr.48, Vol.29, 14 – 20 December, 2001.
 “Borderline,” Yr.48, Vol.30, 21 – 27 December, 2001.
 “International Photo Festival, Pingyao,” op cit.
 Parinya Tantisuk, Hold them High. Yr.45, Vol.30, 27 Dec ’98 – 2 Jan 1999.
 Parinya Tantisuk, Happy New Year, Yr.45, Vol. 31, 3 – 9 Jan 1999.
 Pinit Ninratana (Living Creatures They Call Human, Yr. 46, Vol. 11, 15 – 21 Aug.’99) wrote one article about the new SEAWrite Award winner and Chalong Pinijsuwan (A Masterpiece of Woodcarving. Yr.46, Vol. 12, 22 – 28 Aug.’99) wrote one column on traditional Thai woodcarving at the viharn of Wat Phra Singh.
 Manit Sriwanichphum, From Gunboat fire to Free trade Mechanisms(1). Yr.45, Vol.34, 24 – 30 Jan.1999. and From Gunboat fire to Free trade Mechanisms(finish). Yr.45, Vol.35, 31 Jan – 6 Feb’99.
 Manit Sriwanichphum, Image vs Reality: the Case of ‘der Beesch’. Yr.45, Vol 38, 21 – 27 Feb.1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum, Bangkok, City of Angels – For Whom?(1), Yr.45, Vol.39, 28 Feb-6 Mar, 1999 and Bangkok, City of Angels – For Whom?(finish),Yr.45, Vol 40, 7 – 13 Mar, 99.
 Golden Paintbrush, Artworks: The Crystal of the Imagination. Yr.45, Vol.32, 10 – 16 January, 1999.
 Golden Paintbrush, Thammasak Booncherd and Creativity…for Tomorrow.Yr.45, V.33, 17-23 Jan 99
 Golden Paintbrush, Breath of Watercolor- 5 Artists. Yr.45, Vol.36, 7 – 13 Feb.1999.
 Golden Paintbrush, Photos from the Mainland, Shadows and Reflections of an Era.
Yr.45, Vol.37, 14-20 February, 1999.
 Golden Paintbrush, Kamol Tasananchali – the Eagle of Siam Returns Home. Yr.45, V41, 14 – 20 Mar. 99
 Golden Paintbrush, Art For Waterways, Yr.45, Vol.42, 21 – 27 March, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum, If You Don’t Believe, Don’t Disrespect: Phra Suphan Kaliya,
Yr.45, Vol.43, 28 March - 3 April, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum, Kamol Tasananchali The Good Boy of the Thai Artworld. Y.45 V.44, 4-10 Ap‘99
 Golden Paintbrush, Kamol Tasananchali – the Eagle of Siam Returns Home. Yr.45, V41, 14 – 20 Mar. 99
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Miracle Day of Observance. Yr.45, Vol 45, 11 – 17 April, 1999.
 Golden Paintbrush. Narrow World View of People in the Artworld – Unchanged in Years.
Yr.45, Vol.46, 18 – 24 April, 1999
 Golden Paintbrush. The Power of Nature in Wacharin Rodnit. Yr.45, Vol.47, 25 April – 1 May, 1999.
 Golden Paintbrush. A Hundred Birds, A Thousand Blossoms, Ten Thousand Insects in Scientific Drawings. Yr.45, Vol. 48, 2 – 8 May, 1999.
 Golden Paintbrush. Somjai Rice: From Watercolor to Thai-ness. Yr.45, Vol.49, 9 – 15 May, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Bored with Dhammakai; Met St.Francis of Assisi. Yr.45, Vol.50, 16-20 May’99.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Perfectionism: A Virtue Lost From the Thai Artworld. Y.45, V.51, 23– 29 My 99.
 Golden Paintbrush. Thai@rtNet http://www.thaiartnet.com/ Art Media on the Internet.
Yr.45, Vol.52, 30 May – 5 June, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. Nude: The Feeling of Nitaya Eua-Ariworakul. Yr.46, Vol.1, 6 – 12 June, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. Two Vision from Bordeaux and the Graphic Art of Toshiya Takahama.
Yr.46, Vol.4, 27 June – 3 July, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. ‘Flaring Emotion,’ the Expressionist Art of Yongyuth Damsri.
Yr.46, Vol.5, 4 – 10 July, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. A Woman Artist from Argentina and Fantasia Latina
Yr.46, Vol. 9, 1 – 7 August, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. Tora Matsuyama – Woodcuts from Japan. Yr.46, V.8, 25-31 July, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. The Faith of the People of Bahn Krut. Yr.46, V.2, 13-19June’99
 Manit Sriwanichphum. A Refreshing Burden. Yr.46, Vol. 3, 20 – 26 June, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Private and Public. Yr.46, Vol. 6, 11 – 17 July, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. The Wisdom of the Snail. Yr.46, Vol. 7, 18 – 24 July, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Industry: Recording Personal History.Yr.46, V.10, 8 -14 Aug’99
 Pen Pakta. From’The Essence of Nature’ to The Core of Abstraction.Yr.46, V.13, 29 Aug – 4 Sept’99
 Niran Ketutad. Life in the View of the New Wave. Yr.46, Vol.14, 5 – 11 Sept.1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. From the Parthenon to Amarin Plaza.Yr.46, Vol.14, 12 – 18 Sept.1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. The Best Got Nothing; the Winners Were Lame. Yr.46, V.16, 19-25 Sept’99
 Niran Ketutad. Thoughts from the National Art Exhibition. Yr.46, Vol.17, 26 Sept – 2 Oct., 1999.
 Pen Pakta. Sompop Butrach: The Picture Declares, ‘Thai Traditional Art, a New Era.
Yr. 46, Vol. 18, 3 – 9 October, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Iron Pussi, Sperm Gun and Satisfaction.
Yr.46, Vol. 19, 10 – 16 October, 1999.
 Pen Pakta. Thinking of Waterways. Yr.46, Vol.20, 17 – 23 October, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. What Counts is ‘Size’. Yr.46, Vol. 21, 24 – 30 October, 1999.
 Worasak Mahatanobol in Matichon Weekender, Vol.995, 14 Sept, 1999.
 Niran Ketutad. ‘Tattoo Creatif’ Contest – Art Contested on Tapering Legs.
Yr. 46, Vol. 22, 31 October – 6 November, 1999.
 Pen Pakta. Destroying the Body is Creative: The Anti-Art Group: Dada –A Relative of Phra Siva?
Yr.46, Vol. 25, 21 – 27 November, 1999.
 Pen Pakta, The LoyKrathong Ceremony. Here! Thai Style Performance Art.
Yr.46, Vol. 26, 28 November – 4 December, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Pad Thai Art. Yr.46, Vol.23, 7 – 13 November, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Between the Lord Buddha, Gauguin and Chatchai.
Yr.46, Vol.24, 14 – 20 November, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. The Confused Life of Wasan Sittiket.
Yr. 46, Vol. 27, 5 – 11 December, 1999.
 Manit Sriwanichphum. Smells like (F)art. Yr.46, Vol.28, 19 – 25 December, 1999.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Happy New Year and Welcome Amazing Thailand.
Yr.44, Vol.32, 11 – 17 January, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Drawings of the Prime Minister. Yr.45, Vol.21, 25 – 31 October, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. National Artist (Visual Arts) Kamol Tasananchali.
Yr.44, Vol.30, 28 December, 1997 – 3 January, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Grand Exhibition of the Leading Thai Artistry.
Yr.45, Vol.23, 8 - 14 November, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Saying Goodbye to the Old Year. Yr.44, Vol.31, 4 – 10 Jan, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Paintings at Wat Phumintr. Yr.44, Vol.36 8– 14 February, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Works Which Give Hope by Yupha Changkul. Yr.44, Vol.34, 25 - 31 Jan ‘98.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Order and Simplicity of Titapol Suwankusolsong
Yr.44, Vol.35, 1 – 7 February, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Bright Sun, Clear Sky . Yr.44, Vol.49, 10 - 16 May, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Pretty Colors and Rhythms of Thaiwijit Yr.45, Vol.4, 28 June – 4 July, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Summer Pictures. Yr.44, Vol.50, 17 - 23 May, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Pig Shit Runs When it Rains. Yr.45, Vol.10, 9 – 15 August, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Fetish. Yr.45, Vol.15, 13 – 19 September, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Life with Waterways Yr.45, Vol.22, 1 – 7 November, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. From Limestone – By Phatayodt Phutcharoen.
Yr.45, Vol.26, 29 November – 5 December, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Rhythm of Color. Yr.45, Vol.27, 6 - 12 December, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. A New Decade –Art Develops the Country. Yr.44, Vol.38, 22 – 28 Feb.98
 Parinya Tantisuk. A New Decade –Art Develops the Country cont. Yr.44, Vol.39, 1 – 7 Mar.98
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art and Humanity. Yr.44, Vol.44, 5 - 11 April, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Buy, Buy, Sell, Sell (1). Yr.44, Vol.45, 12 - 18 April, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Buy, Buy, Sell, Sell (2). Yr.44, Vol.46, 19 - 25 April, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Auction bor-ror-sor (ปรส). Yr.45, Vol.1, 7 - 13 June, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Auction bor-ror-sor (ปรส). Yr.45, Vol.2,14 - 20 June, 1998
 . Parinya Tantisuk. Art QC. Yr.45, Vol.14, 6 - 12 September, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Outsider. Yr.44, Vol.47, 26 April – 2 May, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Northern Artists: Tawatchai Somkong and Alongkorn Lorwattana.
Yr.44, Vol.48, 3 - 9 May, 1998.
25 Parinya Tantisuk. Thai Art Exhibition 2540 - And Don’t / Please Don’t Misunderstand.
Yr.45, Vol.3, 21 - 27 June, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Print from Graphic Art Classes – 2540 Academic Year.
Yr.45, Vol.9, 2 - 8 August, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. 4 Elements Group.Yr.45, Vol.11, 16 - 22 August, 1998.
 See: Parinya Tantisuk, Questions : Career and Work. Yr.44, Vol.37. 15 – 21 Feb,1998 Parinya describes the return of recent highly talented graduate who seeks the advice of former teachers when he faces a difficult choice between staying on the ‘art road’ and pleasing his fiancée’s family.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Painters of the New Generation. Yr.45, Vol.18, 4 – 10 October, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Could You Not Go With The Flow? Yr.44, Vol.42, 22 - 28 March, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Same Group. Yr.44, Vol.43, 29 March – 4 April, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Competition of the Best Art in Thailand, 2541. Yr.45, Vol.12, 23 – 29 Aug, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The 44th National Art Exhibition.Yr.45, Vol.13, 30 August – 5 September, 1998
 Parinya Tanitsuk. The 15th Exhibition of the Members of the Faculty of Painting,
Yr.45, Vol.16, 20 – 26 September, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. 5 Types, 5 Styles. Yr.45, Vol.17, 27 September – 3 October, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Exhibition of the Work of Members of the Faculty of Decorative Arts. Yr.45,
Vol.19, 11 – 17 October, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Soul From the Desert. Yr.44, Vol.51, 24 - 30 May, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Flock of Sheep of Menashe Kadishman.
Yr.45, Vol.6, 12 - 18 July, 1998.
 . Parinya Tantisuk. Senior Thai Artists in Japan. Yr.45, Vol.5, 5 - 11 July, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Discussions among Senior Artists (1). Yr.45, Vol.7, 19 - 25 July, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Discussions among Senior Artists (2). Yr.45, Vol.8, 26 July – 1 August, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Cultural Heritage of Thai and of Countries in the Mekong Basin.
Yr.45, Vol.24, 15 - 21 November, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Mr. Foreign Speculator, Stop Damaging our Country!
Yr.45, Vol.28, 13 - 19 December, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Children’s Day. Yr.44, Vol.33, 18 – 24 January, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Hell Society. Yr.44, Vol.40, 8 – 14 March, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Little Chao Tooei –In the Blue Sky. Yr.44, Vol.41, 15 - 21 March, 1998
 Parinya Tantisuk. Books. Yr.44, Vol.52, 31 May – 6 June, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Activities in the Community. Yr.45, Vol.20, 18 – 24 October, 1998.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Bangkok Art Project. Yr.45, Vol.29, 20 - 26 December, 1998.
 The Faculty of Painting
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Thesis Exhibition. (Yr.43, Vol.40, 2 - 8 March, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Thesis Exhibition- One More Time. (Yr.43, Vol.42, 16 - 22 Mar, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Freshmen Orientation and Taste. (Yr.43, Vol.53, 1 – 7 June, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Traditional Culture (Part 1). (Yr.44, Vol.12, 24 - 30 August, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Art Fundamentals:Culture & Tradition (Part 2). (Y.44, V.13, 31 Aug– 6 Sept, 97)
 Parinya Tantisuk. 55 Years of the Faculty of Painting. (Yr.44, Vol.17, 28 Sept – 4 Oct, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Some Sharp Words to Think About (Yr.44, Vol.21, 26 Oct – 1 Nov, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Thai 4 Group. (Yr.44, Vol.29, 21 - 27 December, 1997)
 The group includes Chalongdech Kupanumard (Bangkok); Surayudt Duangjai (also from Bangkok); Kietipong Jaimun (Surin); Wirasak Kerlhong (Pattalung); Titikorn Boonkiet (Nontaburi); Anand Rachawangintr (Chiengmai); Terdsak Lekdee (Samut Sakorn); Niramol Hoitaku (Bangkok) and Wiranua Duangrat (Bangkok).
 Sawat Tantisuk, Tavi Nandakwang, Wirapongse Pakornsak, Pishnu Supanimitr, Apichai Piromrak, Sumon Srisaeng, Yanwit Kunjaethong, Surasi Kusolwong, Bodin Mahawongse, Surasit Saowkhong, Chatchai Puipia, Kanya Charoensupakul, Siriwan Jenhatakarnkij, Poon Ketchamrat and Kamol Tasananchali.
 Parinya Tantisuk, Acharn Sawat Paints Watercolors. (Yr.43, Vol.37, 9 – 15 February, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk, Going to the Seaside to Pay Respects to the Buddha (Y43, V48, 27 Apr–3 May, 97).
 Parinya Tantisuk. Pishnu Supanimitr. (Yr.43, Vol.52, 25 - 31 May, 1997).
 Parinya Tantisuk. Wirapongse Pakornsak Yr.43, Vol.45, 6 – 12 April, 1997.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Apichai Piromrak. (Yr.44, Vol.10, 10 - 16 Aug, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Sounds of Nature. ( Yr.44, Vol.14, 7 – 13 Sept, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. A Woman in the Work of an Artist. (Yr.43, Vol.39, 23 Feb – 1 March, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Path of Monoprint. (Yr.44, Vol.15, 14 – 20 September, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Artist As a Young Man. (Yr.44, Vol.18, 5 – 11 October, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Bodin Mahawongse. ( Yr.44, Vol.22, 2 – 8 November, 1997)
 Now, Rapipat Diprawat.
 Parinya Tantisuk. The Serenity of Surasit Saowkhong. (Yr.44, Vol.23, 9 – 15 November, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Chatchai Puipia. ( Yr.44, Vol.24, 16 – 22 Nov., 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Chatchai Puipia – One More Time. (Yr.44, Vol.25, 23 – 29 Nov., 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Kanya Charoensupakul. (Yr.44, Vol.27, 7 - 13 December, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Siriwan Jenhatakarnkij. (Yr.44, Vol.28, 14 - 20 December, 1997
 Parinya Tantisuk. National Artist (Visual Arts) Kamol Tasananchali. (Y.44, V.30, 28 Dec, 97 – 3 Jan, 98.)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Olivier Debre. (Yr.44, Vol.2, 15 – 21 June, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Kobayashi Tananobu. (Yr.44, Vol.8, 27 July – 2 August, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Roy Lichtenstein Has Passed Away. ( Yr.44, Vol.19, 12– 18 October, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. An Exhibition in Honor of H.M. the King:
The Art of the 9th Reign. (Yr.43, Vol.34 19- 25 January, 1997)
 Kasikorn Bank
 Parinya Tantisuk. An Exhibition of The Winning Paintings Celebrating
This Special and Blessed Anniversary. (Yr.43, Vol.44, 30 March – 5 April, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. His Majesty and Thai Art. (Part 1) (Yr.43, Vol.50, 11 - 17 May, 1997) and
Parinya Tantisuk. His Majesty and Thai Art (Part 2) ( Yr.43, Vol.51, 18 - 24 May, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Japanese Ceramics Today – 52 Artists. (Yr.43, Vol.32, 5 - 11 January, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. The 3rd Panasonic Contemporary Art Exhibition. (Y.44, V.1, 8 – 14 June, 97)
 Prayudt Pakpol, Chuang Mulpinit, Wasan Harimao, Monchai Kaosumang, Wipawi Boribul,
Sompop Butrach, and Jintana Jaemtim
 Parinya Tantisuk. Thai Art: ‘Thai Charm’. (Yr.44, Vol.7, 20 - 26 July, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. 43rd National Art Exhibition. (Yr.44, Vol.16, 21 – 27 September, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Looking At Children’s Art. (Yr.44, Vol.26, 30 November – 6 Dec, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Collage - Installation (1). (Yr.43, Vol.33, 12 - 18 January, 1997) and Parinya
Tantisuk. Collage – Installation (2). (Yr.43, Vol.36, 2 – 8 February, 1997.)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Subjects in Art. (Yr.44, Vol.4, 29 June – 5 July, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Thai Painting. (Yr.43, Vol.35, 26 January – 1 February, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Faith in the Value of Art. (Yr.43, Vol.38, 16 - 22 February, 1997)
 Pishnu Supanimitr, “Another Chat with a Judge of the National Art Exhibition – Khun Misiem Yipinsoi,” in Siamrath Weekly, Yr.25, Vol. 38 (19 March 1978) p.36 – 38.
 Parinya Tantisuk. Beauty (Yr.43, Vol.47, 20 – 26 April, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Elephants. (Yr.43, Vol.43, 23 - 29 March, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Human Being. (Yr.44, Vol.5, 6 - 12 July, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Quality Assurance. (Yr.44, Vol.9, 3 - 9 August, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Mother’s Day.(Yr.44, Vol.11, 17 - 23 August, 1997)
 Parinya Tantisuk. Misunderstandings and Stolen Art. (Yr.44, Vol.20, 19 – 25 October, 1997)