Phunam Reproduction: Subconscious Dafen


The abstract walls in these photographs by Phunam are taken of artist workstations in a small village called Dafen in China. This village is responsible for producing most of the world’s commodity oil paintings – hand painted replicas of famous paintings exported in the tens-of-thousands annually for decorative use in hotels, restaurants and commercial environments. Through a series of stunning documentary photographs, Phunam is able to capture the subconscious and abstract gestures that are a by-product of the daily production of these commodity paintings.

Interested in transforming these accidental and “subconscious” markings into deliberate gestures, The Propeller Group enlisted the talent of Dafen’s most esteemed replica painters in an attempt to create an exact copy of Phunam’s photographs using oil paint on canvas. The result is an examination of unintentional gestures turned deliberate, and the confusion of which came first, the photograph, or the painting.

Phunam’s Subconscious Dafen project is a continuation of his previous work entitled Pati-nation – a series of photographs that capture the decaying walls of government buildings in Viet Nam. In this work, Phunam carries on his investigation of surface and the continual transformation of surface through time.

Phunam Reproduction
Edition 1 of Subconscious Dafen print by Phunam + Phunam Reproduction painting by The Propeller Group
Archival inkjet print on aluminum mount. Oil on canvas.
180 x 90cm
The work will be shown as a pair.