SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

CANCELLED: Gestural Painting’s Power / The Power of Tang Chang

Chanon (Kenji) Praepipatmongkol, PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

Date: 27 February 2018Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 27 February 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B211

Type of Event: Seminar


A fascination with power characterizes much writing on postwar gestural abstraction: arresting visual impact, symbolic violence, impulsive will, vigorous athleticism, heroic (male) artist. Yet rarely addressed are fundamental questions about the nature of power, for the strange affect of the artwork has no clear source in either objectivity or subjectivity, and cannot be fully accounted for either by aesthetic formalism or historicist culturology. Focusing on works by Tang Chang, this paper addresses the artist’s radical materialist commitments in relation to changing conceptions of power in Thai art of the 1960s and 1970s. It explores how modes of gestural mark-making that imply reciprocity—whether tracing, copying, or imprinting—evince power not as attribute of unified object or subject, but rather emerging through logics of possession and mediumship. It also explores how such logics make available painting as a site for the imaginative determination of one’s subjectivity.

About the Speaker:

Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol is the Brooks International Fellow at Delfina Foundation and Tate Britain, and Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at the University of Michigan. Following two years of fieldwork in Bangkok, Manila, and Madrid, he is now completing a dissertation that advances a comparative history of postwar abstract painting across Hispano-Filipino and Sino-Thai diasporic corridors. His research interests broadly concern the intersection of art, media, and religion in modernity, as well as the theory and historiography of comparativism in art history. An alumnus of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, he has worked on projects for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, and National Gallery Singapore. Kenji publishes regularly on contemporary Asian art, with papers forthcoming on Tang Chang’s self-portraits and on David Medalla’s bubble machines.

Organiser: Pamela Corey

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