The Devil is in the Details
With The Devil is in the Details, the gallery FELDBUSCHWIESNER will present new works from the years 2011-2012, in the second solo exhibition of the conceptual artist from Thailand, Att Poomtangon.
Poomtangon’s installation-based projects question technological accomplishments and economic processes, which have a far-reaching impact on the eco-system, social forms of living together and the identity of the individual. They are above all a reflection on the alienation of humans from their natural resources as a result of economic constraints, viewed from a cultural-artistic perspective. Despite the complex conceptual superstructure of the works, which is based on extensive research in digital and print media, the playful, poetic, wide range of forms fascinate and appeal to the viewer.
In his most recent project, The Devil is in the Details, which he produced during a residency scholarship in New York, Poomtangon deals with the role played by the US in current global economics and the phenomena connected with this role such as the dependence on imports, the reckless handling of natural resources and excessive consumerism.
In the streets of Manhattan, Poomtangon collected the by-products of a globalized economy: he transformed countless cardboard boxes, heedlessly discarded, into rectangular boards, whose striking printed ads, some of which have painted supplements by the artist, have become a central visual motif.
In the series The Garden of the Earth, the artistic manipulation of the promising, ostensibly visible consumer world of ideal mangos and perfect oranges only becomes evident after a closer look: tiny, comic-like fi gures and caricatures of superheroes emerge, who playfully discover their world made up of oversized fruits in the predetermined framework of the cardboard cut-outs. In a reference to the medieval triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, Poomtangon portrays one of the initial development stages of capitalism, in which the innocent individuals, who are neither good nor evil, are not yet aware of the consequences of their actions. In relation to the surrounding environment, these creatures are small and delicate, so that the lure and temptations of the self-absorbed consumer and profi t-seeking behaviour is always overshadowed by something threatening – the devil is in the details.
To what extent each individual is linked to economic processes is shown by the paper-mâché masks that supplement the work and symbolize the diversity of nations living in the US. The newspaper ads used to create them continue to decorate the faces of the masks so that these are no longer merely results of the globalized economy but positively merge with it.
By embedding playful elements in the seductive advertising imagery of industrial farming, for example comic fi gures or masks, Poomtangon highlights their ironic nature. Even without pointing his fi nger, the artist succeeds in eff ectively communicating how even in times of economic recession, one of the most powerful industrial nations still lacks the vision to perceive the long-term impact of economic processes on society and the environment. Last but not least, he contrasts the exploitation of natural resources for economic reasons with the appreciation and recycling of these same resources.
Until 1999, Att Poomtangon (*1973, Bangkok, Thailand) studied art, specialising in sculpture, at the university in Chiangmai in Thailand, before continuing his studies at the Städelschule in Frankfurt in 2004, graduating as a Masters student from the class of Tobias Rehberger.
Following numerous exhibitions in Thailand, he had his fi rst solo exhibition in an institution in Germany in 2008 in the Nassauische Kunstverein Wiesbaden.
This was followed by further solo exhibitions in the Portikus in Frankfurt a.M. (2009) and in the gallery KUNSTAGENTEN (2009), as well as group exhibitions at the Venice Biennale (2009), the Festival des Beaux Arts/Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre/ Goethe-Institute Bangkok, Thailand (2010). Plans for 2012 include the presentation of his works in a group exhibition in the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen. The artist has received various awards and scholarships including the DAAD Prize for Outstanding International Artists (2006), the prize of the Frankfurter Verein für Künstlerhilfe and the studio scholarship NY/ USA awarded by the Hessische Kulturstiftung.