Kaleidoscopic Landscapes | Surrealistic Paintings by Knakorn Kachacheewa

A gentleman in a charcoal grey suit stands against the sea and the cloudy sky, partly veiled by the rotund green apple. Undoubtedly, we are talking about “The Son of Man” (1964) by René Magritte, one of the most iconic Surrealist paintings. Surrealist paintings are characterised as gripping, irrational landscapes with a realist’s precision, with its illogical nature credited to the strange juxtaposition of regular objects, central around the theme of allowing the subconscious to speak out for itself or an idea.

This essence of surrealism lived through Knakorn Kachacheewa’s fantastical scenes, at the Ode to Art Platform (Raffles City Convention Centre), where Eastern and Western influences came together in a medley that transcended forests, waters and psychedelic lands into ethereality. The Jungle of Form, Colour and Tempo was the first solo exhibition by the Thai artist, winner of the Silpa Bhirasri Gold Medal Award at the 10th Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Young Artists and Honorary Mention at The National Festival of Graphic Arts in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, in 2003. Kachacheewa’s eclectic pieces have graced both national and international art scenes, and this exhibition of 12 new acrylic paintings did not disappoint.

Their titles are delightfully simplistic — in “Pink Woman” (160 x 200cm, Acrylic on Canvas), salmon pink silhouettes of ladies in black heels grace the kaleidoscopic composition of tropical greens, a minuscule swimming pool and a whimsical workhorse. In “Carousel” (230 x 190cm, Acrylic on Canvas), the dreamy young girl in a gold dress is perched quaintly on her zebra ride. When we add an extra pair of eyes and hands, a collaged bird and a pink doll to the equation, “Carousel” hypnotises the viewer with its prismatic hues and erratic elements. With a gaze far beyond the perpetual whirl of the carousel, the little lady appears to think that her zebra will take her somewhere far, far, away….

Perhaps what enraptured me was the static nature of Kachacheewa’s works — the bold, flat planes of paint and stoic positions of the figures beguile the viewer, welcoming him into the artist’s harlequin world. In “Back” (120 x 100cm, Acrylic on Canvas), an androgynous figure’s back is exposed to the audience, while tropical greens invite the viewer into the painting. He seems to face an admiral ocean, where waves are not denoted by the usual undulating lines, but rather a medley of circles.  Kachacheewa suggests movement yet retains the stoic nature of the work, lending it a stable undertone. It is probably this stability that makes his illusory landscapes appear grounded yet ephemeral, and more inclined towards their surrealistic nature.

In evaluating surreal art, one often does not seek a logical meaning in what is presented — Surrealism shares anti-rational sentiments with Dadaism and coaxes the audience to accept this subconscious way of thought. Therefore, Kachacheewa’s surrealistic art cannot be critiqued by Tolstoy’s Expression Theory, that art is to transmit a certain feeling or message successfully. It is interesting to note that to effectively understand and appreciate different forms of art, we need to match our criteria to the works, as there is no ‘one size fits all’ in the diverse world of art.

The Jungle of Form, Colour and Tempo was exhibited at Ode to Art Platform at 4th Floor Raffles City Convention Centre (Foyer Area), 80 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189560, from 5 to 29 March 2015. For more avant-garde works, keep a lookout for Knakorn Kachacheewa’s art shows in the future.

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