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The gallery founders with Gulu Lalvani and (right) Santi Thongsuk

Naked at the Heart of Art: Gallery Showing

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Gallery Photo Album Above. Tell Your Friends

Exhibition: The Rhythm of the Heart, by Santi Thongsuk, at D GALLERY, Royal Phuket Marina

ARTISTS tend to push the boundaries of awareness and taste, often simultaneously. Santi Thongsuk gently nudges both in his show at the D GALLERY.

The opening last night brought some coy reactions to some of his naked figures, although most are subdued and largely sexless, with bulging muscles alerting viewers to which are male and which are female.

'Awkward Age' is perhaps the most confronting, a work painted earlier this year. It depicts a young girl falling through space, clutching a handbag and wearing a pair of track shoes.

Her shirt and her dress are both blowing up as she falls, revealing that she has no underwear beneath her clothing. She is smiling, apparently enjoying her fall.

How is it that an artist can express a viewpoint that would have an upskirt photographer whacked in jail?

Well, that's just the kind of difference of perspective that was probably debated over a glass of wine or three at last night's gallery opening.

Khun Santi meanwhile turned on a demonstration of his skills with what you could only call ''performance art.'' He painted the portrait of a sitting subject while the party went on around him.

That, and a business card lottery draw, were signs that Thai artists and galleries are going to continue to demand some sanuk in everything they do.

Western gallery openings are largely devoid of fun. Sometimes art can be too, too serious.

D GALLERY is itself a neat body of work, bringing fresh perceptions to an island where ''art'' is often confused with artifact collecting.

Khun Santi's nudes explode off the walls, sending energy and movement in all directions.

Yet one can't help wondering: Why is the girl in 'Awkward Age' smiling?

Has she already lost her innocence to adult pleasure, or is she thinking about the childhood she is leaving behind? Her ponytails stream behind her.

Other athletic figures tumble and turn, without obvious sexuality. There is certainly a Mona Lisa enigma to the girl's smile, but an unconventional one.

That's one up for art, and no gain for upskirt photographers.

Like it or loathe it, the art of Khun Santi and the team at the D GALLERY are doing their darnedest to put heart in Phuket's art.

Freedom of expression, like freedom of speech, is one of the essentials that need to be in place before any nation can legitimately claim to be a democracy.

D GALLERY is the creation of managing director Pornthip ''Dashy'' Raksapiksu and her partner, Rob Collins. Telephone: 076 360867 E:

About the Gallery

Jai D: Art Finds a Phuket Home
D lightful, D licious, D lovely, it's D art. For the first time, Phuket has a gallery with an international flavor that goes beyond copying and wall decoration. Take in some wonderful artwork at Royal Phuket Marina.
Jai D: Art Finds a Phuket Home

Do you have an opening coming up? Tell us via the Comment box below!


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Tuesday October 27, 2020
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