A CONTINUOUS AREA OR EXPANSE WHICH IS FREE, AVAILABLE, OR UNOCCUPIED

A three-person exhibition featuring the works of Mikko Baladjay, Babylyn Fajilagutan, and Elijah Santiago

In between spaces

Set against the backdrop of the gallery’s white space, the works from “A Continuous Area or Expanse Which is Free, Available, or Unoccupied” examine the concept of space within the human setting. In a world that is constantly expanding, the abundance of space, and its subsequent lack thereof, becomes a crucial aspect that inevitably influences the way we move and live. Depicted as almost superimposing structures that manage to shift, change, and morph in appearance, artists Mikko Baladjay, Babylyn Fajilagutan, and Elijah Santiago allow a peek into how they visualise space in an impermanent world.

Baladjay imagines space as larger-than-life. Splashes of bright and attractive colours dot a clean white background, bringing to focus how space is defined by intricate details, pieces of nature and everyday life that adorn vast, open spaces. For Baladjay, each piece is a personal testament to the artist at work, drawn to creating as he perceives himself within an external reality which, while certainly perceptible, is also incomprehensible in breadth and form.

Fajilagutan sees space as fleeting and moving. It is defined by shapes and pieces, parts that are discarded and have travelled numerous places. These remnants are imagined as having existed within a prescribed space, and afterwards carving for itself its own place on the canvas. For the artist, even objects that have fulfilled their purpose and are thrown away possess their own space and unique identity, where every groove and texture is distinct and peculiar.

For Santiago, space can be both daunting and fulfilling. Inspired by Brutalist architecture, monolithic slabs of grey structures pierce the dark background of the canvas. They are imposing and intimidating, their sharp edges and corners carefully depicted as if in motion, recreating space as being bound by walls and borders. However, these divisions eventually fall, and the vast and often incomprehensible terrain that space comprises, ceases to be suffocating; instead, it marks a liberation.

Words by Elle Lucena

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