THE NEO-TRADITIONAL BUDDHIST ART BY PHANTONG SAENCHUN

Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun
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Phantong Saenchun Phantong Saenchun

Phantong Saenchun

Phantong Saenchun

Comparable to Songdej Thipthong, Phantong Saenchun is a traditional Thai Buddhist artist who seeks to reinvent the language of the iconography that typically represents Thai Buddhism. Phantong’s paintings of statues of Buddha and related imagery employ chiaroscuro with a heightened sense of artificial color; acid greens, austere blues, and vibrant reds highlight his crisply delineated religious forms. Though sometimes Phantong has a softness of touch that suggests his images of Buddha are transient, or impermanent, and this fits well with Buddhist themes.

To look at Phantong’s paintings is to be faced with a seemingly spot-lit subterranean world. We are in the world of traditionally dark, Thai temples where sculptures of Buddha are lit in such a way as to suggest they are not mass and floating. Buddhism teaches transcendence as the ultimate goal of meditation. Phantong illustrates this goal; his statues are simultaneously present and absent in terms of the intangible. His use of color, however, suggests another dimension; that of the surreal. In other words, our sense of reality has been altered and we are prompted to see and think differently. In this respect, Phantong expertly links traditional understandings with contemporary sensibilities.

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