An assemblage of lost spirits

Panya Vijinthanasarn is probably more known for his large scale Buddhist iconography paintings. They are usually composed with a dominant image surrounded by smaller details, focusing on capturing the spiritual message of not succumbing to the material world and losing your humanity.

Even as a student at Silpakorn University, the artist said that he had always been experimenting with both found object sculptures and painting. His interest in adapting the purpose of an object or concept into becoming a vehicle for his intentions have had a hold on him for a long time.

The only difference is how the artist has chosen to express it.

Expanding on his interest in found object art, Panya considers each object to have representation beyond its design purpose. Based on a cultural belief of objects having a spirit, the artist studies each item’s historical timeline and meaning. These are details that can be extracted and used to create an art work, said Panya. But once these objects are used again, he also leaves them to live out their new life and to let it figure itself out before adding or adjusting.

This is an effort in trying to conserve the lost spirits in humanity. Considering the world’s politics and weapons of war that are affecting the population, Panya is looking back at objects that were created to satisfy a particular need for that era and compiling its left over ‘energy’ to create a new cycle. Thus recycling history and spirits for a new purpose and act as reminder of past mistakes.

Take “Bless My World” for example. A 2016 creation where the old Chinese medicine cabinet or a healing box as Panya read it to be, supports a lotus shaped steel sculpture made out of discarded VW car parts. Its name was created based on the acronym BMW, referencing material value. 

A Renaissance-style painting of Jesus Christ is draped over the cabinet with the front showing Jesus hung upside down and at the back, his legs hang down without support. In the far right bottom corner, modern day political icons look on. Is Jesus being sacrificed again for his teachings? Can the lotus flower at least help lift him up?

To make art, you can find anything to have meaning, said Panya. With some things, we simply need to take the time and a bit of imagination to understand.