Montien Boonma

Street Scene I and II by Montien Boonma

Montien Boonma, Street scence I, 1969, Drawing on Paper

Montien Boonma (b. 1953, Bangkok) is widely known as a key figure in the contemporary art movement, being among the many pioneering artists who introduced contemporary art to Thailand in the 1990s. His efforts have paved the way for a momentous step in Thai art history, attributing significance to materials through his ideas, alongside his own meticulous techniques in creating art. Montien’s forward-thinking has also attracted contemporary art professionals and institutions into Thailand, all so they can witness and comprehend the waves of “contemporary Thainess” that originate from an artist named Montien Boonma.

Montien’s talents are most prominent when he presents works that deal with Eastern spiritual ideologies, utilizing universal mediums such as paintings or installations. He is cognizant that the limitations in Eastern customs and traditions are crucial tools for expressing these internal contexts to “outsiders”, so that they may understand. Montien achieves this by containing his audiences in a space surrounded by symbols of faith, with the artist deftly working under the context of traditional limitations.

Montien Boonman, Street Scene II, 1969, Drawing on Paper

The works Street Scene I and II are simple sketches first created in 1969, when Montien himself was a mere art student, almost 10 years before he reached the zenith of his artistic career. The chemical marker lines that appear on these works were exactingly drawn, accurate in both skill and perspective. While they are works created mainly for research and learning, Montien is also an artist that often begins his artistic process with paper sketches, with many of his foremost works still preserved in detail upon pieces of paper, awaiting the day they are recreated once more. 

These two simple sketches are thus filled with historical value, being definitive evidence of Montien Boonma’s existence. They are the missing pieces needed for those who wish to study the artist’s life, and a map to his innovative thinking compared to his peers. Montien Boonma, therefore, remains an important figure to be studied, inspiring the next steps in Thailand’s contemporary art movement.