Anupong Chantorn


Bangkok, Thailand
'My job was over when I put down the paintbrush, the rest is about the artwork and its viewers.' (Anupong Chantorn)

Anupong Chantorn is considered one of the most controversial artists in Thailand. His paintings and drawings examine Buddhist beliefs in Thai society while unearthing, what he believes are, misconceptions of Buddhist traditions and principles of honesty. Chantorn's work questions the ethics of Buddhist beliefs that result from the good deeds and wrong doings of all human beings.

In 2007, public outrage broke out when Chantorn's 'Bhikku Sandarn Kar', a painting of monks with crows' beaks, was awarded the gold prize at the National Artist Awards. While there is a long tradition of pictorial representations of Buddha throughout Southeast Asia, representations of monks in visual art are relatively new. The artist raises questions about ideas concerning what defines a monk as good, deserving of respect or as an evil spirit resulting from bad karma. Monks with less than perfect behavior regularly make headline news in Thailand. Reports of them involved in vices like gambling, drinking, smoking and even rape, have begun to damage their pristine reputations. Monks have also made the news for their controversial selling of amulets. Thais believe that wearing such amulets protect them from evil and bring good luck. The monks are expected to bless them, not sell them. As a consequence of recent news more Thai artists have begun to address the role of Buddhist monks in their work.

Visually the paintings by Chantorn are influenced by murals in temples in Ayuttaya, in the north of Bangkok. Based on parts of the ''Tipitaka,'' the earliest collection of Buddhist writings in which Buddha describes the characteristic of sham monks, he is not depicting the monks as demons but demons disguising themselves as monks. The artist wants to make people aware that criminals are exploiting ‘religion’ in order to hide the evil under the pretext of the robe: 'Ultimately, it's the good intent that keeps me focused. If I had created the painting with bad intentions, I would have been shaken by now. My artwork doesn't necessarily dictate to others to think the same way I do, but at least it does its job by prompting viewers to react and respond to it. This is what art should be about.'*

* Artist Anupong Chantorn explains why his controversial artwork should be considered descriptive rather than offensive, STORY BY SAMILA SUTTISILTUM, http://www.bangkokpost.com, November 24, 2007

place & year of birth
Thailand, 1980

featured galleries


education
2007
M.F.A (Thai Art), Graduate School, Silpakorn University, Bangkok

2004
B.F.A. (2nd class honor, Thai Art), Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University, Bangkok

solo exhibitions
2010
Hope in the Dark, Ardel Gallery of Moder Art, Bangkok

group exhibitions
2010
Contemporary art exhibition “I Silp Klin Talay, PSU Craft House Museum & Art Gallery, Songkhla
An exhibition to recollect to the good, the beauty and the love of Karuna and Ruang-urai Kusalasai
3rd exhibition of small sculptures

2009
An exhibition Satree Kue Sati, Sathira Dhammasathan, Bangkok
“Artitude” by 56 Degrees Group, Hof Art, Bangkok
The 2nd Bangkok Triennale International Print and Drawing Exhibition to commemorate 65 years of Silpakorn University, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok, and The Art and Cultural Center Commemorating the 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the King, Silpakorn University (Sanamchandra campus), Nakhon Pathom
G.S. Exhibition Seminar 2009, Tour Painting Exhibition of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Silpakorn University, Bangkok
Portraits of the King : The Art of Iconography, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok

2008
54th National Exhibition of Art, The National Gallery, Bangkok
Traces of Siamese Smile, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok
1st Contemporary Art Exhibition, Thailand Cultural Center, Bangkok
The exchange exhibition by 3 art institutes: Department of Fine Art, Faculty of Architecture, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Burapha University; and Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Mahasarakham University
Inside Out… Outside In, ARDEL’s Third Place Gallery, Bangkok
Fusing International Biennale 2008, Taiwan
Shanghai Art Fair 2008, Shanghai Mart, China

2007
53rd National Exhibition of Art, The Art and Cultural Center Commemorating the 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the King, Silpakorn University (Sanamchandra campus), Nakhon Pathom

2006
52nd National Exhibition of Art, The Art and Cultural Center Commemorating the 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the King, Silpakorn University (Sanamchandra campus), Nakhon Pathom
An Art Exhibition by the Graduate Students (Thai Art), PSG Art Gallery, Silpakorn University, Bangkok
28th Bua Luang Art Exhibition, The Queen’s Gallery, Bangkok
Lightness Darkness An Exhibition By Thai Emerging Artist, Teo + Namfah Gallery, Bangkok
Art Singapore 2007 The Contemporary Asian Art Fair, Singapore

2005
51st National Exhibition of Art, The Art and Cultural Center Commemorating the 6th Cycle Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the King, Silpakorn University (Sanamchandra campus), Nakhon Pathom
27th Bua Luang Art Exhibition, The Queen’s Gallery, Bangkok
22nd Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Young Artists, The National Gallery, Bangkok

2004
Exhibition of Art Thesis by the students of Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, PSG Art Gallery, Silpakorn University, Bangkok
26th Bua Luang Art Exhibition, The Queen’s Gallery, Bangkok
The 16th Toshiba 'Brings Good Things to Life' Art Exhibition, The National Gallery, Bangkok
The Art Exhibition for 1st Amata Art Genius Award
The 15th Toshiba 'Brings Good Things to Life' Art Exhibition, The National Gallery, Bangkok

2002
19th Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Young Artists, Silom Galleria, Bangkok

Duo Exhibition:
2007
2 Views Distinct Outlooks by Weerasak Sutsadee – Anupong Chantorn , Ardel Gallery of Moder Art, Bangkok

awards
2009
Triennale Prize : Drawing The 2nd Bangkok Triennale International Print & Drawing Exhibition

2008
Artist of Distinction (Painting) from National Exhibition of Art
2nd Prize (Silver Medal) 54th National Exhibition of Art

2007
1st Prize (Gold Medal) 53rd National Exhibition of Art

2006
1st Prize, Gold Medal, 52nd National Exhibition of Art
3rd Prize, Bronze Medal (Traditional Thai Art), 28th Bua Luang Art Competition by Bangkok Bank Foundation

2005
2nd Prize (Silver Medal) 51st National Exhibition of Art
Silpa Bhirasri Gold Medal Award, 22nd Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Young Artists

2004
1st Prize, Gold Medal (Traditional Thai Art), 26th Bua Luang Art Competition by Bangkok Bank Foundation
First Prize, 16th Toshiba 'Brings Good Things to Life' Art Exhibition
3rd Prize (Painting), 1st Amata Art Genius Award

2003
Second Prize, 15th Toshiba 'Brings Good Things to Life' Art Exhibition
Second Prize, 5th Panasonic Art Contest

Scholarships:
2006
A Scholarship for Art Thesis awarded by the Statesman General Prem Tinasulanonda Foundation

2005
DUC Scholarship granted by Office of the Higher Education Commission

2003
A scholarship granted by Thawan Duchanee Fund