A solo exhibition by Grace Corpuz
Unnatural Acts of an Unreasonable God
Grace Corpuz in her first exhibition “Sa Panahong Walang Hinahon Ang Poon” creates mixed media pieces that serve as literal signs of the times. By utilizing found objects and applying text, she creates new dimensions to the works, tableaus seemingly culled from true to life news stories. Playing on reality with deification, idolatry and patronage, she uses galvanized iron sheets, a known material used by informal dwellers in creating improvised shanties, to shape figures set in the midst of conflict, displacement, hunger and injustice.
Her most commanding piece, Ang AniMahal na Poong Makapangyarihan sa Lahat, features an iconized symbol of power, with both sides commanded by his spirit animals, the dragon and the eagle, which others might say would be his real masters. Emblazoned on the piece is one of his most notable quotes, one that he uses specifically to lord over his dominion and administration.
Same spirit animals are also notable elements on aliPinas, with the map of the Philippines seemingly projected on a marketing poster putting up the whole country and its surrounding territorial waters for sale. Instead of employing the simplistic, touristy slogan It’s more fun in the Philippines, she reworks the word itself, Pilipinas, into something that, in the meantime, translates into something more ominous and may be a bit too realistic for our own comforts.
Corpuz also touches on other pressing issues pervading the national consciousness, with Bigas Hindi Bala portraying a starving family sharing a meal of cold lead bullets. For Oplan Tumba, an EJK victim is shown cordoned off by police lines, scene of the crime markers prevalent with a pair of slippers discarded in the midst of struggle of the life lost. Kalbaryo sa Istrukturang Dayo is a family displaced by conflict, the innocents suffering the burdens of decisions made by the all-powerful.
The artist also references undercurrents of agitation in Ang Mamuhay sa Rebolusyunaryong Kilusan, portraying bombs falling out of the sky as militarization increases death count in the masses in covert maneuvers beyond the reach of mass media’s exposition.
With Corpuz’ deviation from what is expected of her works, she remains faithful and consistent to her established concept and the themes of her flat, vector-bound paintings rife with symbolism and political significance. Her exploration of galvanized iron sheets in creating her pieces not only serve to challenge her own creative process, the material itself—used to construct light shanties congesting urban poor communities—becomes emblematic, as it degrades to rust when exposed to natural elements. In a way, it serves as demonstration of the current weaknesses of the administration, decay and destruction pervading society, the putrefaction of good sense, and a warning of worse things to come as the masses follow an Idol they project their most fearsome rationalizations to as they applaud each gaffe and justify every move. To them, he is a god who can do no wrong, and he lords above us all.
Words by Kaye O’Yek