Patrik Proško

Giant Lady

Intervention into a statue of Nang Phisuea Samut, 3 x 3 x 3.5 m, burnt lime

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

2018

Giant Lady

Nang Phisuea Samut is a traditional figure of a human-eating female giant from a Thai national fantasy epos Phra Aphai Mani, written by the poet Sunthorn Phu. It is the longest epos written in the Thai language, consisting of 48 686 couplets, and took Sunthorn Phu 22 years to write, from 1822 to 1844. It was written during the period of Western colonization of Southeast Asia and some critics believe that Sunthorn Phu wrote the poem as an anti-colonial story dressed in a fairy tale fantasy adventure garment. The epos became a part of national folklore and was adapted in theatre, film, comic books, etc. Her statue is positioned in front of the gallery in such a way that people can take pictures of themselves being clutched in her hand. I used the ornamentality of the Czech traditional Christmas gingerbread decoration to turn the human-eating giant into a sweet snack which can be eaten by people, thus connecting the European and Asian traditions – both past ones and, perhaps, contemporary ones. A Thai female-giant with a Christmas star on her forehead. In Asia, there is the so-called digitalization of the bioform going on and people even go to galleries mainly to take selfies. Selfies are the main point of interest here and not the artworks, those are only used as background for the selfies, and there isn’t much interest in learning about the content of the artworks either. It’s a significant phenomenon and so I decided to make an imitation of a cell phone and put it in her free hand, so that the whole situation looks like the she-giant is taking a selfie.

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