Inside a rickety bus, a group of horrified passengers screams for their lives as it barrels down the street. One commuter throws himself on the floor, shielding his head with his arms, while on the other side of the frame, a monk, with only his feet and the bottom of his saffron robe in frame, has thrown himself out the window, trying to escape. The bus driver is the only person oblivious to the imminent disaster. He has both his hands off the steering wheel, and his eyes glued to his smartphone.
Reckless attitudes of the sort are a recurrent theme in Lampu Kansanoh‘s art. In large and colorful paintings, she portrays the idiosyncrasies of life in Thailand, using comical imagery of ordinary people’s misfortunes as a means of denouncing dishonesty, phoniness, and power imbalances.
“My paintings reflect the humorous behavior of Thai people, who are always so laidback, comfy, and make difficult things seem easy,” she says. “But their behavior can also turn out to be reckless and endanger or affect other people’s lives. I want to turn the stress of everyday life into a joke.”
这些人物是 Lampu Kansanoh 笔下常见的角色，鲁莽大意，罔顾一切。在她的大幅彩色绘画作品中，描绘着充满泰国特色的生活场景，既揭示着普通百姓的各种不幸，又以幽默的方式批判着各种狡猾、虚伪和权力失衡的现象。
Kansanoh struggled to find her painting style all the way until her third year in art school. “One day, I looked at a friend’s face and realized I loved his beard and mustache; he didn’t look regular,” she says. From there, she began to use her classmates as subjects, painting them with oversized heads and baby bodies in a way that reflects their unique personalites. “That’s how my caricature style was born.”
Kansanoh grabs people’s attention through the principles of exaggeration. But, unlike most caricaturists, she does not only exaggerate people’s unusual features. Instead, she dials up the intensity of their emotions and reactions, which are often inconsistent with the incidents or situations they face.
There’s a certain level of realism to her characters that gives them relatability. She culls inspiration from across Thailand’s social threads, whether it be a street vendor or a politician, no one escapes her brush strokes. Kansanoh depicts their activities and interpersonal relationships, giving viewers a sense of how diverse and complex Thai society truly is. Her scenes express the harsh tragedies of daily life, but also how people always find a way to cope with the adversities humorously.
她笔下的角色有一定的写实感，令人更易产生共鸣。Lampu 从泰国的各种社交媒体中搜罗灵感，从街头小贩到国家政客，形形色色的人都纳入笔下。Lampu 通过描绘人物的活动和人际关系，让观众一窥真实泰国社会的复杂性和多元化。她所描绘的场景既揭示了人们艰难的日常生活，同时展现了泰国人应对困境时的幽默和乐观。
On various occasions, she depicts selfie-taking characters in unfortunate circumstances, whether it be getting hit by a car, undergoing surgery, or getting busted by the police. It’s her way of lambasting our modern dependency on technology. “Nowadays, we prioritize the world in our smartphones more than the real world,” she says. She also scoffs at the inauthenticity and shallowness of the online world. “We want people to accept what we show online, even if it is bogus. Loneliness has disappeared. But now we can build relationships that last shorter than the life expectancy of a mosquito.”
Her work also resonates politically. Kansanoh often paints the familiar faces of controversial politicians from Thailand and abroad. She refers to them as the “symbols of what’s causing problems in the world.”
When she reflects upon her own country’s history, she notes that corruption today remains the same as in the past, with officials from the top down gathering wealth, power, and privilege, while society’s most vulnerable live in agony. “In Thailand, we have accumulated so many problems over the years. Legal matters, government neglect, corruption. These things never go away. No matter how many years pass, life here remains the same. I’m mocking the suffering of society,” she says.
Her mockery, however, doesn’t take a vicious form. Kansanoh shows strong empathy for people’s suffering. This is perhaps better shown in how she paints their facial expressions, which places emotions like tenderness, contentment, anger, and despair front and center, bringing these human stories to life and making viewers identify with these people’s feelings and plight.
Kansanoh doesn’t believe her paintings can change society or reform politics. With them, she’s merely expressing her discontent with the status quo. Her disillusionment might seem to contradict the surface-level humor of her paintings—some of them are downright hilarious. But if nothing else, she hopes that her paintings can provide her audience with temporary relief. “I hope I can make them relax and forget the suffering for a while,” she says.
Some of Lampu Kansanoh’s paintings are on display as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale, at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until January 31st, 2021.
Lampu Kansanoh 的作品将会参加曼谷双年展于曼谷艺术文化中心隆展出至 2021 年 1 月 31 日，欢迎前往参观。