A solo exhibition by Mael de Guzman.
Within the four walls of a box
Mael de Guzman’s seventh solo exhibition titled “Empty Box” takes the everyday and places it into a setting that does more than just provoke thought. Employing the use of empty boxes created from selected materials, De Guzman portrays the ubiquitous and often overlooked image of an empty box as a physical representation of the human psyche.
“Empty Box” is, quite literally, a collection of several empty boxes. Unlike the commonplace cardboard box used to transport goods, produce, and assorted sundries, De Guzman creates a series of hollow wooden boxes, placing them together in various forms and arrangements, and furnishing them with an assortment of embellishments. On its surfaces, the remains of print cutouts of animals, vehicles, and human figures emerge, worn out in quality, and strongly hinting at something that has been weathered with the passage of time. Clumps of sawdust frame the crates, and in certain areas, parts and pieces of their surfaces are scratched off and broken. De Guzman’s boxes aren’t clean and new; they’re gnarled and discoloured, held together by the curious possibilities of the many things they’ve carried, and the stories they’ve told along the way.
However, these objects serve to be more than just mere decoration. In “Empty Box,” they become symbolic of the human experience. Within the four walls of a box lie a plethora of truths, emotions, and unique encounters. And while for De Guzman, the exhibit is an examination of his personal experiences, there also exists an almost serendipitous realisation that these boxes invite us to do the same, and find within its depths the encounters that linger and stay, despite the passage of time.
Words by Elle Lucena