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Pakpoom Silaphan "Remastering the Masters" at Scream London
Pakpoom Silaphan, Gilbert & George on Coke, 2011. Photo: Courtesy Scream/ Copyright the artist.
LONDON.- Pakpoom Silaphan opens his second solo exhibition at Scream featuring new work on iconic artists including Francis Bacon, Peter Blake, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Frida Kahlo, Gilbert and George, Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt van Rijn, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol. Pakpoom’s first solo show at Scream last autumn was described by Emma Love in The Independent as “a sign of the times”.

Pop art has a distinctive visual language which Pakpoom Silaphan has ‘remastered’ using his own particular aesthetic. Deploying tin and enamel signs or historic found objects such as old calendars as his sculptural canvas, he weaves an ingenious dialogue between portraits of artists, drink brands, collage and painting.

Old advertising signs have their own history, not just in the products they are promoting and the distribution reach of global brands, but also in the very physical reminders of the passage of time that is embedded in their patina, rust, scratches and discolouration. The Thai signs for the Western soft drinks Coca-Cola, 7Up and Fanta were part of Silaphan’s landscape in the rural Thai village where he grew up. Having originally accumulated the signs in Bangkok to remind him of the childhood environment that he missed, but with no idea that they were emblematic of Pop Art culture, he found they had garnered a new energy when he returned after ten years in England and saw them in a new light. Converging with this was his interest and knowledge of the iconic and pioneering artists that were influencing his practice. Silaphan conflated these two dynamics in his Remastering the Masters (2011) series. His sourcing of newspaper or magazine images of iconic artists such as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock or Duchamp becomes a sequence of overlaid histories and ‘joins’. Silaphan describes his methodology as ‘like a salvation or thank you to the artists for making the way for me: this is not only about their work, but their characters’. Finding a synergy between the signs (he only uses ones from 1972 to 2002 - when he was born to when he left Thailand) and what he feels will best ‘suit’ his chosen artist, he ‘studied them ‘in order see everything as a symbol and symbolize everything’. We are constantly triggered with reminders from the history of art.

Silaphan’s neo-pop is both provocative and evocative From his image of Peter Blake relaxing on a Coke bottle top, poignantly reminding us of Richard Hamilton’s painting Epiphany (1964), to Salvador Dali (an important influence), Mark Rothko and Picasso, Silaphan mines his ‘chain of inspiration’. We have the canon of art history literally repositioned on obsolete advertising signs, provoking the double recognition of brand on brand, the shared global language and currency of art.

A fully illustrated catalogue with the full text by Jean Wainwright will be published to accompany the exhibition.

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