AEP Block Test

Montien Boona, Two Buffaloes

Describe the subject matter by Montien Boonma, highlighting the significance of the materials used

Montien Boonma’s art work comprises of two stools, two rice sacks, a structure shaped like a horn, and a structure that resembles a long, braided rope. The fusion of these respective objects by Montien Boonma has created two figures that seemingly represent a buffalo each. The intended buffalo on the left is most likely to be back facing me, whereas the buffalo on the right seems to be facing the right.

The entire structure is mostly of brown tertiary colours, and the materials are largely biodegradable. There is no introduction of modern man-made materials such as plastics or metal parts.

I believe that the materials used have been carefully selected in order to express Montien Boonma’s intended message. The two buffaloes are both largely made up of rice sacks as their entire body is a rice sack. I do believe that this signifies Montien Boonma’s concern that buffaloes are becoming increasingly burdensome and taxing on the lives of farmers as they consume large amounts of rice.

Another possible interpretation of this installation is that Montien Boonma wished to express that buffaloes are the major source of livelihood for farmers. This would be a logical deduction as buffaloes are used for ploughing fields for farmers in order to harvest crops. Montien Boonma then conveys the idea of harvesting crops by using rice sacks, indicative of a crop harvest, for the buffaloes. This in turn shows that the amount of work a buffalo can do is equivalent to a sack of rice.

Montien Boonma’s structure overall is relatively simple, thus also possibly hinting that Buffaloes are simple creatures, or that their purpose is simple: to aid in harvesting crops for our consumption. This idea is also applicable as humans, or southeast Asians such as Montien Boona , often regard rice as staple food, and consume large amounts of it. By using a rice sack to represent a buffalo, the artist is expressing that we are indirectly consuming the buffalo by simply using it to harvest our crops for us.

Moreover, Montien Boonma’s usage of such ordinary materials (rice sacks, braided rope) also shows that he feels that the rapid modernization of his nation is eroding traditions. The main critique of his work is on the rapid industrialization of Thailand against the traditions and beliefs of the people.

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With Reference to another work by the artist, explain why the subject matter appeals to you as an installation, as opposed to a painting.

Another work by Montien Boonma is “Lotus Sound”, 1992. It consists of many black pots arranged neatly to form a circular wall of pots. Above them is a tubular structure that has yellow droplets descending from it. The entire installation seems to be that of a lotus flower hanging above lily pads.

Overall, the entire installation is considerably appealing, as it allows me to see the used objects from a different perspective. By using objects to form a structure that resembles something else, I am able to see another usage in the arrangement of pots. The subject matter is thus infinitely more appealing, as I am seeing it being represented by other objects.

In comparison to a painting, the installation which shows the same subject matter challenges the perspective of those who view it. For example, compared to an actual painting of two realistic buffaloes, the installation “Two Buffaloes” allows me to learn that even objects such as stools or rice sacks which alone do not resemble the body parts of a buffalo, can be eventually placed together to form two buffaloes. Even though the accuracy of depicting a buffalo by using installation art suffers, it is a much more refreshing experience for viewers. This same understanding extends to the subject matter of many other installations.

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One Response

  1. Cannot wait to see what else you come up with, i really enjoyed it!

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