MODERN ART / MYANMAR
AUNG MYINT SAN MINN M.P.P YEI MYINT
In 1996 Aung Myint, San Minn and M.P.P. Yei Myint made their first exhibition in Singapore at The Substation – “New Paintings from Myanmar”. In 2014, if one is to look for connections and histories, then both Aung Myint and San Minn have at the beginning (1979-1980s) been members of either Gangaw Village or of Inya Gallery. These two operatives saw the birth of a modern / contemporary vision for art-making by their members, and have been instrumental in supporting and giving a stage to many major Myanmar artists practicing now. That there was a transitioning of artists between the groups and how this has had any effect on the artists would be the subject of a larger exhibition, such as the ‘Freedom in Blossom’ exhibition currently at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
The subject of abuse is dealt with by San Minn in his continuing work using weapons, particularly guns, as a talking point. In 2009, triggered by the ‘Target’ paintings of James Rosenquist, San Minn began to use the gun icon in various ways – both as a metaphor for violence and abuse, and also as a metaphor for the politics of making personal choices and the consequences these have on others. This series has been continued and expanded, being exhibited at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum’s ‘Freedom in Blossom’ exhibition (2012 – 2013). The works in this series are versatile and imbued with San Minn’s wry cynicism. Startling in appearance, the gun image is re-invented as fruit, as melting ice, as syringes (signifying malpractices in the medical field), water taps, and also wrapped in bandages. Suitably brusque and apparently unsophisticated in his visual language, each work targets actual and continuing cases of abuse in places where care and respect should be meted out. Also included in this selection is a 1986 oil painting “Men on the Road”, from San Minn’s ongoing series of characters with animal heads.
San Minn (b. 1951, Myanmar) majored in Biology at Rangoon Art and Science University, when he started painting under several eminent painters U Nyunt Tin, U Ba Lon Lay, U Lun Gywe, U Thu Kha and U Nann Waii. A founder of Gangaw Village and Inya Gallery, both artist operatives, he has been an important supporter of modern art development in Yangon, organising and exhibiting in more than 100 shows. Internationally he has exhibited at ‘Omnibus’, Gallery Voice, Kyoto (1995), “Oriental Curtain”, Cologne and Helsinki (1999 and 2001), “The End of Growth”, Heinrich Boll Foundation, Bangkok (2001), “Myanmar Contemporary Art”, Chiangmai University, Chiangmai, and “Freedom in Blossom”, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2012). He was artist-in-residence at NIFKA, Helsinki (2006).
Perhaps the most erudite in this selection are the red and black paintings by Aung Myint. Modernist in approach, Aung Myint’s 2013 works exhibited here are stylish and controlled in execution. Each canvas is a face-off of large red and black brushstrokes, sometimes using white as grounding. The effect he has produced is confrontational yet balanced, dramatic yet urbane. Painting spontaneously as he normally would (without planning his canvas), the works are subconscious productions about the deep personal politics of human relationships.
These paintings are closely developed from Aung Myint’s earlier works in which he uses random strokes, derived from Burmese calligraphy. Whilst his earlier 1980s works are loose, expressionistic and reflective of inner turmoil, these new seemingly deliberate works that have appeared are at once insightful and exhibit a new clarity, and even humour. Notions of contention, fear and distrust are common threads in these works and are a dominant theme. Faces, eyes and masks form the discourse on contention, non-acceptance, separation and disunity.
Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon) is a self-taught artist, working in painting, installation and performance. Since 1995 his work has caught the attention of curators at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and Singapore Art Museum. He has been exhibited and collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in their exhibition “No Country”, (2013). He has made numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally including at Royal Tropics Institute, Amsterdam (1998), “Imaging Selves”, a permanent collection exhibition of Singapore Art Museum (1998), ASEAN Masterworks (ASEAN Leaders Summit, Kuala Lumpur, 1997, “Oriental Curtain”, Varcaus Art Museum, Helsinki (2001) and “The End of Growth”, Heinrich Boll Foundation, Bangkok (2001).
M.P.P YEI MYINT
For M.P.P. Yei Myint, using traditional Konbaung era drawings as a starting point, his drawing in “Myanmar Ladies 2” celebrates ‘lost’ Burmese images. The revival and re-invention of these supple, sensual drawings are an act to re-instate what the artist considers a lost heritage (through colonialism, socialism, war and other strife in the country). The 3 to 4 metre length paintings recall ancient murals and the fine arts of a historical Burma, where art was an important cultural investment.
Yei Myint has often used religious and cultural symbology to represent his innermost concerns: ‘Five Nats’, a series of macabre portraits of household idols (‘Imaging Selves’, Singapore Art Museum Permanent Collection Exhibition, 1998), and also ‘Buddha and His Son’, a 10-panel parable utilizing iconic religious footprints and handprints to signify his personal identity and pains (collection of Singapore Art Museum). Another version of the Five Nats is collected by Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, exhibited at the Triennale in 1999.
M. P. P Yei Myint (b. 1953, Myingyan, Myanmar) studied art at Mandalay State School of Fine Art under two eminent artists, both Win Pe, represented by the two ‘P’s in his acronym. He exhibited at “New Paintings from Myanmar”, The Substation, Singapore (1996), ASEAN Masterworks (ASEAN Leaders Summit, Kuala Lumpur (1997), Oriental Curtain in Cologne (1999) and Helsinki (2001), and “Art from Myanmar Today”, Osage Gallery, Singapore (2010).
London Art14 28 Feb – 2 Mar 2014
Booth LF5, London First, Olympia Grand
Modernist in approach, Aung Myint’s 2013 canvases are each a face-off of random red and black brushstrokes, derived from Burmese calligraphy. Faces, eyes and masks form the discourse on contention, non-acceptance, separation and disunity. His works are subconscious productions about the deep personal politics of human relationships.”
Where Min Wae Aung has been watching crowds of people move over Myanmar (Burma), his paintings reflect their resilient energy. Discover a new narrative voice from Min Wae Aung, who has delighted collectors worldwide with his gorgeous depictions of Burmese monks and rural folk.
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