KUM’ is a transliteration of the word ‘word’ in Thai. We are presented with words – paired words or KUMS – on a flat background as paintings and novelty objects.
It may seem counter-intuitive but Michael Shaowanasai’s ‘KUMS’ is the opposite of calligraphy, which is vibrant with controlled expressiveness. Here, the words are printed in clear fonts, bold and static; they do not flow or excite but confront, seemingly driven by the same compulsion that causes sufferers of Tourette Syndrome to spasm into sudden, explosive outbursts of expletives.
But the childishness of the puns in the transliteration reveals the possible source of the artist’s inspiration. Like many of us trapped between Thai silk and pearls propriety and equally Thai anarchistic urges, Michael Shaowanasai, superhero alias ‘Iron Pussy’, gleefully lashes out like a child sticking his muddy finger into pies, just to hear the screams of outrage.