Dr Anne Kirker




Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane



PRAWAT and the renegade print


This presentation explores the work of senior Manhattan-based Thai artist Prawat Laucharoen. Since 1981 his practice has been based in the realm of 'print installation', dispensing with a decade better known as printmaker and master printer to Alex Katz, Larry Rivers, David Hockney, Philip Pearlstein, among others. Regarded highly for his meticulous technique in intaglio printing, learned at Silpakorn University, Bangkok and continued during his studies at Pratt, the urge to break from such attention to finesse drove him towards a decisive breakthrough. This was demonstrated in 1981 by a performance and print installation, Launching Station, where he assailed copper plates mounted to a wall with acid and tools to create action-based prints.
Partly inspired by Prawat's example, innovation by other Thai artists in extending the vernacular of printmaking into performance and installation-based art has occurred. In some cases, these artists are better known to mainstream art audiences than Prawat himself. They include Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Kamin Lerchaiprasert, Phatyos Buddhacharoen and Bundith Phunsombatlert.
The presentation considers how innovation can be more readily achieved when the weight of historical precedents and expectations of the print are not present in a culture (i.e. Thailand). This is despite the ubiquitousness of 'decorative' printmaking in neo-traditional Thai imagery for hotel lobbies and print collectors. It identifies bold cross-disciplinary research inside and outside of Thailand which if more widely known could alter international assumptions and the categorisation of printmaking itself. Prawat regularly exhibits in Thailand and his critical openness and unfettered response to the print inevitably raises tensions where artists break with national traditions while referencing their country of birth through a practice that embraces globalisation. A question addressed is 'How does printmaking transform itself in order to be relevant within, and responsive to, a globalised world and one where principles of postmodernism have been well and truly digested?'


Wednesday 28 September


11:00am - 12.30pm







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