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The Power of Life
by Mulan Gallery
Location: Mulan Gallery
Artist(s): Kamol TAMSEEWAN
Date: 10 Nov - 31 Dec 2012

Mulan Gallery is proud to present The Power of Life, an exhibition showcasing Kamol Tamseewan’s works. Featuring the latest series of the same name and other works by the talented young Thai expressionist, this exhibition will run from 10 November till 31 December 2012.

Kamol’s latest series offers an expressive study of emotions amassed as a result of everyday human struggle. “The Power of Life” presents a bold and resolute declaration of the emotional life of local, ordinary folk, including farmers, labourers and villagers, who are confronted by concrete as well as intangible conditions and socioeconomic limitations exerted over their day‐to‐day strivings. The works bring us along the artist’s journey and quest to discover how one might live free from such shackles, and unearth the true fountainhead of authentic inner freedom.

Hailing from the rural Mae Wang District, Kamol, as in his earlier works, looks to subjects close to his heart for this body of work. Its subjects are people he has grown up with and among, whose lives, feelings and experiences constitute the material he has undertaken to know and relay through his work. “My inspiration comes from living experience. I paint beings I have seen,” says the artist. Like Affandi, the late Indonesian expressionist master he admires, Kamol’s chosen struggle lies in becoming a human artist, to feel “enough as a human”. Thus, his bold thesis: “Life’s learning lies in expressing the life [lives] of other lives.”

His method of study in this series comprises the work of arriving at and creating riveting portrayals of ordinary individuals, based on a conjecture that each person exhibits different measures of physical expressivity and emotionality in response to their everyday struggles. Like the chosen mode of his work – a semi‐abstract expressionism that tries to find an effective balance between the abstract and the figurative – this quintessentially creative quest for freedom straddles the in‐between: it involves a systematic and, at its core, deeply humanistic creative process (praxis) that, whilst informed by a distinctively high ideal, is nevertheless conducted through pragmatic, realistic means of fieldwork, often in the form of painstakingly in‐depth interviews. Encounters and experiences of others are internalized and sifted through the artist’s cognitive and perceptual instincts, then distilled into their irreducible emotional quotients. What traces of life and emotion that remain are then sublimated and expressed during an emotionally‐charged act of creation or poiēsis, coalescing into a decisive aesthetic image, the emotion of which is channeled through to the viewer.

The central, titular work – and the namesake of both the series and this exhibition – depicts a vibrant and visceral visual testimony of traces, bones and surfaces as unwavering, concrete signs of the power of life of a strong‐minded individual freely guided by his own inner feelings and instincts. Another work, Sitting on Space, expresses the in‐between state and contradictory impulses of challenging the rules on the one hand, and surrendering to reality on the other. A Sleeping (like Frost’s elegiac refrain, “And miles to go before I sleep”) shows the lively, albeit hidden, activity of the mind before sleep and easeful rest sets in while two other pieces titled Standing reveal a simultaneous movement in stillness in an arrested moment, an allusion to individuals caught up in present and ongoing circumstances.

With strong and affecting human structures as their subjects, the works featured in this exhibition demonstrate the vibrancy and power of inner feelings to drive human life. Through the course of his study and search for inner freedom, the artist, following his unwaveringly keen and close observation of so many different characters, arrives at this maxim: everything that comes to pass hinges on one’s mental condition and emotions, the constant fluctuations of which are the only true reminders of life.

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