Month: August 2018

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THUS (THE UNTITLED SHOW)

August 26, 2018 | Archives | No Comments

A group exhibition featuring the works of Mikko Baladjay, Jobert Cruz, Vladimir Bulalacao Grutas, Ikea Rizalon, Geremy Samala, and Elijah Santiago.

thus /thŭs/

adv.

literary, formal

1. As a result or consequence of this; therefore.

2. In the manner now being indicated or exemplified; in this way.

3. To this point; so.

Every action has a reason, and whether that action is logical or not depends entirely on the person responsible for those actions which always have a result. Whatever piques our interests and we start acting on it comes with an outcome. But not all outcome ends abruptly. Sometimes it continues and branch out to another set of options with varying results.

As humans, we have the capacity and the free will to choose for ourselves, good or bad, or, doing bad for the greater good or not doing good because of particular circumstances, remaining neutral, doing things for life and death situations, or, simply just because. In “Thus (The Untitled Show),” the artists present a narration of their own “thus”; scenarios each disparate from one to another. In grammar, “thus” is used to link reasons with results. It is used to introduce conclusions inferred from evidence, to present a general summary of information listed in earlier sentences, and to express the means for accomplishing an action . By adopting an open-ended concept based on this idea, the artists were allowed the freedom to demonstrate situations which are, in all likelihood, personal or speculated, thus creating diversity in the exhibition’s story telling.

The exhibited works interact visually making the audience a part of the exhibition. The works presented by the artists pose scenarios and continues in the viewers’ mental process making a conclusion of their own that could resemble or be contrary to the artist’s intention. This interplay between the viewers and the artworks is the “thus” of the exhibition, a changeable interpretation depending on the audience’s own “thus”.

Words by Shalimar Gonzaga

ALLEGORIES OF NATION BUILDING

August 26, 2018 | Archives | 2 Comments

A solo exhibition by Cian Dayrit.

Insiduous Iconographies

Comprised of new paintings and an assortment of found objects, “Allegories of Nation-Building” touches on the violence behind visual acts of representing the Philippines as both nation and territorial state.

Cian Dayrit essays interrelated roles of artist, curator, collector and critic in this exhibit. Making and gathering archipelagic motifs, he intentionally clusters images and things them in a manner reminiscent of souvenirs or foodstuffs peddled to tourists or everyday things displayed as exotic curiosa and folk psychedelia. Heavily sensate and symbolic, these stories points to how a larger ideological and structural project is at work behind the novel tropicality of it all. Dayrit’s works source their visual cues from symbols and scenes, continuously deployed across the archipelago, to reinforce the notion of nationhood: an imagined community, to appropriate Benedict Anderson’s usage of the term, that has historically shifted from colony to neoliberal enclave. 

The exhibition resulting from this exercise is a satirical accumulation of statist, unstable and mixed up symbols. Each is seen and referenced so often that their character as unnatural representations are taken for granted: embedded in educational materials; enacted through officially-deployed objects such as seals, flags and monuments; and experienced as emblems, crafts and strange artifacts. Through Dayrit’s visual interventions and juxtapositions, we are made to reckon anew with these different insignias of identity and power, visual markers and documents of mapping and planning, and auto-ethnographic artifacts. these are also assertions and articulations of ideology, manifest in the most common of things.

Such iconographic research and exploration yields difficult questions. What, for instance, is a nation, in the face of contemporary conditions of flux and precarity? Should the representation of nation be reduced to a singular (and, occcasionally, unsavory) figure or face, an unsuspecting animal, a solitary plant introduced from foreign lands? How does one capture the complexity of social struggle in seemingly defined and unified ways? What kind of memories do our monuments erect and enable? Can the vision of a collective (or conflicted) community really be captured in shiny blueprints and plans for the future, created by and for the benefit of a few entrenched entities?

The exhibit can also be apprehended as the artist’s own process of taking stock: accounting for questions, trails of thought, and wandering observations in order to develop an informed response to contradictions present across Philippine society and history. In gathering, appropriating, and accumulating icons of national import—whether from the lingering colonial past or looming neoliberal present—Dayrit’s iconographic explorations point to how everyday indoctrination into state ideology is writ large and in ways that touch us all.

Words by Lisa Ito

PERIPHERAL DISTRACTIONS

August 23, 2018 | Archives | 2 Comments

A solo exhibition by Mark Arcamo.

Moving Boundaries Both Spatial and Imagined

With Mark Dawn Arcamo’s recent works in “Peripheral Distractions,” the artist explores the dynamics and interstices between reality and its fringes, composing his paintings and newly-introduced collage pieces on canvas rendered in varying colors. Motion, balance and depths of perception unify Arcamo’s pieces, with his play on spatial aspects and layering visual elements setting the framework of his new iterations and ventures into imagery, stretching the limitations of his chosen form.

The artist’s mastery in splicing the flat grounds of his acrylic on canvas works reinforce the vision of his previous exhibitions. In Asymmetric Relation, a woman’s face is partially exposed, juxtaposed with floral forms with limbs from a central figure and a man hidden in the background. Pyramids float in the sky as a mansion leads to a garden and a pool with its blues and greys. Motion Adaptation boasts of a masculine character dominating the space, yet anonymized by hidden facial features. Layered behind him are multiple imprints of women and what seems to be different flattened layers of canvas while the pyramids are joined by other more imperfect shapes that resemble irregular blocks of concrete. In Perceived Motion, however, Arcamo’s penchant for mysterious figures is infringed with a glimpse of a familiar Hollywood celebrity with flower petals signifying romance and drama, as well as an early version of a movie camera, perhaps as an ode to motion pictures and how its technology changed our sensitivities when it comes to action and the interpretation of manufactured narratives. 

Included in the exhibition are Arcamo’s collages, which, though a bit smaller in size compared to his paintings, nevertheless show accomplished accounts all their own. Fragments of scanned and photocopied images from books and magazines infuse the materials with the artist’s experiences and experimentation with color and composition, creating pieces that are less formally designed and restricted, and more expressive. They do not create a disconnect, rather, they seamlessly relate to and inform the fully painted pieces in line with the artist’s objective with retaining his vision underscored in all artworks while undertaking an important transition in his practice.

The pieces are studies in awareness and distraction, serving as veritable investigations in optical illusion in testing which elements stand out and which ones are camouflaged in the midst of puzzle-like, yet intentionally composed fragments of objects and historical references associated with modernity. In Relative Contrasts, Arcamo coats his collage with layers of paint that serve to cloak details and emphasize the shadows that make up the depth of the varying grounds receding from one’s view. Again, bodies have obscured faces, with no identifiers except for the somberness of their clothing. Mental Imagery posits pieces of machinery and cutouts from commerce, transport and technology surrounding a white-profiled central figure while a bullet whizzes overhead. Aftereffect 1 and 2 seem like acid trips in pale yellows and celadon showing figures with torn-out faces and scenes of destruction seemingly brought on by biological warfare. Visual Perception 1-5 seem to be multilayered landscapes that border on dream stages set up with images of industrialization, factory fragments and large work spaces; a splintered and layered view of a train’s cross section and stations lorded over by a man in white pants; building features spliced on top of each other; and groups of men conversing amongst themselves, seemingly plotting the next business enterprise, or perhaps, even the launch of a nefarious scheme to take over the world.

As Arcamo plots the foundation for his future works, he also teases his audience’s acuity for details that they might just miss. By stressing the importance of the periphery, the artist seems to direct viewers’ perceptions to what are, as yet, unseen, perhaps as portents for what is yet to come.

Words by Kaye O’Yek