Eastern pop art

2013 is shaping up to be a good year for the perennial favourite art movement, pop art.

Everybody Says Thank You Very Much (White III)
Everybody Says Thank You Very Much (White III)

There’s the much-anticipated Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern , we’ve already seen Richard Hamilton’s late works at the National Gallery, and proving that pop art is not only still alive, but certainly not confined to the west, Thai artist Pakpoom Silaphan is showing a selection of brilliant new works in a new London exhibition opening next month, Empire State.

The artist’s previous endeavours have seen him rework masters such as Francis Bacon, Peter Blake, Keith Haring, Gilbert and George and Mark Rothko in his own distinctive style.

Taking the central tropes of pop art – art as a big, bold branding statement – Silaphan’s work explores ideas of mass consumerism and the universal reach of cultural icons.

Crate I
Warhol Sprays on Soda Crate

Much of the work in his new exhibition takes found objects such as metal advertising signs collected during his time in Thailand, using them as canvases or sculpture materials.

In a fresh take on the east-meets-west idea, Pakpoom reworks these inherently eastern objects into westernised statements of consumption and the power of advertising, covering them with western imagery and art-world iconography.

Warhol Sits on Coke Button
Warhol Sits on Coke Sign

The hoardings are frequently adorned with images of artists such as Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Picasso, brazenly underlining not only Silaphan’s own influences, but the idea of personal branding within the art world.

Yayoi Kusama on Sprite
Yayoi Kusama on Sprite. Photography by G. Schwendinger

A new sculptural piece, The Identified Flying Object, re-appropriates Lichtenstein’s 1963 Whaam! Painting, creating a 2m tall aluminium aeroplane, designed to look like a paper-plane casually crafted from one of Lichtenstein’s most iconic pieces.

The Identified Flying Object
The Identified Flying Object

Empire State runs from 22 February – 6 April at Scream 27 – 28 Eastcastle Street, London W1W

Everybody Is Multiplied (Black III)
Everybody Is Multiplied (Black III)
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