PanSuriya Art Post

aung co : catch the colours
21 April 2011, 12:33
Filed under: art conversation | Tags: , , ,

Aung Co is a renaissance man — he is a director of independent short films, a potter, a performance artist, and installation artist. Aung Co’s 2004 solo show made him the most promising artist of his generation. The combination of his pottery and paintings impressed every visitor.

Since that exhibition, serious collectors and some museums have collected his work. Within a few years he grew prolific. He is perhaps the best-travelled of the Myanmar artists.

His recent paintings are pictures of anonymous women pictures, based on old hand-painted photographs. He says, ‘I want to catch the colours of  a moment in history.’

Based on an interview with Nance Cunningham in January 2011, in Yangon. For more art conversations, click on the ‘art conversation’ tag at the top of this post.


1980            Born in Pyay, Myanmar

2001            Exp: 22022001, group show, Lokanat Gallery, Yangon

2002            received BA (Painting), from the University of Culture, Yangon, Myanmar

6th Batch group show, National Theatre, Yangon

2004            Aung Ko’s Art Work Solo Show, AZADA Gallery, Yangon

2006          News is No News, a short film solo show, Nm Gallery, Yangon

Myanmar Ceramic Society group show, Alliance Française de Yangon

Ceramic work group show, Mr Brown Café, Yangon

2007            Wild Eye V, Lokanat Gallery, Yangon

8th Open International Performance Festival, Beijing, China

Performance Art Show, Chaungtha, Myanmar

Performance Art Show, Lokanat Gallery, Yangon

Performance Art Show, Thanlyin, Myanmar

Event of Thuyedan, art show, Pyay

2008            Beyond Pressure, International Performance Art Festival, Yangon

Beyond the Rain, art exhibition, Lokanat Gallery, Yangon

Singapore Bienniale 2008 (collaboration with Chaw Ei Thein and Rich Streitmatter Tran)

Festival of Contemporary Theatre and Performance Art, Alliance Française de Yangon

New Zero Fine Art Show, Beikthano Art Gallery, Yangon

Exposition de Collective, art show, Alliance Française de Yangon

2009            4th Fukuoka Asian Art Trienniale, Fukuoka, Japan

Body Temporary/Corps Temporaire performance, Alliance Française de Yangon

2007–2010   Organiser of Thuyedan Event, a village art project

2013               Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy


myint san myint

In touch with reality,  not realism

Saya Myint San Myint last exhibited in Pansodan in January 2012; before that he was part of the portrait show in January 2011. Typically large, with strong colours and many layers, his portraits are a combination of faithfully rendered faces and words which may reflect on or illustrate the subject.

Myint San Myint came to his original painting style slowly. In fact, he first studied physics, and worked as a teacher for eleven years, drawing and painting as a hobby. Eventually he decided to learn more systematically, and now he calls U Thein Han his most important teacher.

When he began to sell his paintings, he painted in a realistic style, as he had been taught, and looked to the market for his subjects of ‘grandfathers and grandmothers’, the typical fare of wrinkly faces served up in the cheap paintings stalls. The pay was not particularly good, and he grew bored of this, and as his family had a silkscreen business, he began experimenting with silkscreen as a medium. Gradually he moved to different media and styles, but he still enjoys working with silkscreen. ‘The silkscreen paintings come into being quickly, in just a few days. The acrylics take a lot more thought and care.’

In 2010 he began a series of paintings of movie stars, combining their portraits with movie poster text.  Less famous subjects include thanakha-wearing women, and a mute neighbour, who is paired with a stringless guitar.

The overall impression continually shifts the observer’s attention around the painting, from nearly obscured deeper layers to pictures seeming to lay on top of them, and around the angles.

‘It is hard to explain the value of art to those who do not already understand it,’ he says, and points out that young people could benefit from more exposure to art. ‘It improves the mind and concentration.’

He would like people to look at more paintings, and suggests that a way to a greater general interest in art is by working more closely with mass media. Now it is common to spend time watching Korean drama serials, he points out, and so people have become interested in various aspects of them. If documentaries about art and artists were shown on tv, the audience would become more and more interested in art, too.

For his part, he is commenting on the mass media, with his shades of advertisements, headlines, and posters. The touch of these immediate familiar elements, which were created for a temporary use brings a certain unsentimental reality to his works. However, one can already imagine how they will look different in the future, as does a ticket found decades later in grandfather’s old coat pocket.



Based on an interview with Nance Cunningham on 1 Jan 11. For more art conversations, click on the ‘art conversation’ tag at the top of this post.

saw lin aung

Cool and relaxed

As a teenager, Saw Lin Aung used to help out his father, who painted movie posters, without understanding much about painting. Later he went through formal training, but when asked about how much theory there is in his paintings, he says zero percent — theory is like water, he says. When you take a shower, you let the water go, just the coolness remains.

When he started working as a painter, he worked for a Korean company copying oil paintings all day, and painting his own at night. At that time, he painted the conventional scenes: monks, minority woman in costume, village scenes, all in a photorealistic style. His studio was in the garden of a friend’s house, and he and his friends got together to put on exhibitions. He got his break when someone with a large commercial art commission noticed his handiwork. Those earnings gave him enough to buy supplies and the time to paint, and since then he has been able to earn his living as a painter.

Born in the river town of Twante, he started painting boats, but he gradually realised that he was more interested in the reflections. Now, while his paintings often show off his skill at realistic portrayal, he uses realism for effect, rather than as a default. A photo-realistic picture of two cloves of garlic, for example, reproduces the proportions of two friends of his who married.

He painted a portrait of his own sunlit ear after thinking about how the ultimately comes to one through the ears. ‘If you don’t hear anything, you won’t be afraid. Only when you hear a a sound will the fear come.’ All happiness and sadness will arrive in the mind through the ear. So the painter thinks about the sense of hearing.

Although he might paint small paintings, depending on the subject, a large canvas gives him more of a thrill.  And he paints because it makes him happy, after all. He would like people to feel cool and relaxed when they look at his water paintings, ‘That is how I feel when I paint them, too.’

‘Even a great painter might produce a great painting only one time out of ten,’ he says. People should not rely on a famous name to get a great painting, but should develop their art sense, he says. Some famous painters have got stuck going on and on with the same sort of painting which was a good idea at first, but later repeated too often. They get trapped by their success.

Saw Lin Aung’s interests in images are always changing; currently he is trying to capture a freshness through choice of image and manipulation of colour. We get a sense of his good humour and fluid spirit as well.

Interview by Nance Cunningham, Yangon, January 2011.

For more art conversations, click on the ‘art conversation’ tag at the top of this post.

Born in Twante, Myanmar in 1982.

Graduated from State School of Fine Art 2004

Myanmar  Exhibitions

2004 – 1st Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2004 – 2nd Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2005 – 3rd Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2005 – 4th Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2006 – 5th Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2006 – Solids I – Bogyoke Market

2006 – All Myanmar Artists – Mandalay City Hall

2006 – X’s Season – Park Royal Hotel

2007 – 6th Colour Stream –   Bogyoke Market

2007 – Solids II, Lokanat Art Gallery

2007 – Best Paintings of the Year 2007 – Tun Foundation Bank

2008 – 7th Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2008 – Solids III – Bogyoke Market

2008 – Amazing One – Amayadawei Art Gallery

2009 – ” Flow to the Shan State ” 8th Colour Stream – Azada Art Gallery

2009 – 9th Colour Stream – Bogyoke Market

2009 – Best Paintings of the Year 2009 – Tun Foundation Bank

2009 – Myanmar Realist – Myanmar Art Centre

2010 – Second Second — Pansodan Gallery

2010 – Insert Title Here — Pansodan Gallery

Oversea Exhibitions

2009 – “Myanmar Discovered”, Group Show, Hong Kong

2009 – Contemporary Myanmar Art Exhibition, New York, USA


2007            Honorable Prize at Best Paintings of the year 2007 – Tun Foundation Bank

2008            Honorable Prize at “Beauty of Myanmar” – Oasis Art Gallery, Yangon

2009            Honorable Prize at Best Paintings of the year 2009 – Tun Foundation Bank