Gian Manik reveals his artistic diversity by creating paintings that traverse genres such as still life, landscape, self-portraiture and history painting. His work also responds to the notion of institutional painting, which has been canonised across western art history. On his canvases, contrasting subjects and styles meet in a complex form of cultural history and self-portraiture, indicating the cyclical nature of painting and its influence on the artist over time.
In Victory and conflict, Gian Manik references the depiction of combat and conflict in historical painting. In place of soldiers, he represents gay men engaged in sexual acts sourced from stock imagery. In this vast painterly arena he creates a ‘theatre’ of battle with staged representations of violence, sex and masculinity. His work poses questions of representation versus reality, which might apply more broadly to the traditions of history painting.