I wish I were into Dadaism with a toilet seat framed on my wall

May 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

The last, serious art gallery visit I had was at the National Museum in Malate at age fourteen. The visit, peppered with rude interruptions of a pimple itch or a not-so-bright boy from class spouting vulgar comments on the nakedness of the Bulul figure at the Anthropology division of the museum, was especially forgetful. The Spolarium did it for me though until I was whisked away by an angry curator for attempting to touch it.

I was a student of art but art galleries were never—strangely—a part of my school life. I would reason surrealism art sends me screaming mid-sleep in the wee hours of the morning and the perfect brush strokes would only make me want to hate on myself for not choosing to paint on canvas again (the linseed oil was such a bother to deal with and yada yada).

So this one particular Tuesday of May was significant: I was reunited again with breathing, screaming and living art mounted on otherwise mute walls.

The first stop was at the Finale Art File gallery where I, along with my co-interns (from the Alexis Tioseco Internship Program [ATIP]), was greeted by hushed workmen dismounting beautiful, huge-as-life paintings. I introduced myself and my peers to the gallery’s exhibition manager, Sylvia Gaston who informed us that a new exhibit is set to launch on Friday. We missed the YOUTubia exhibit which featured paintings, digital prints, video and—according to the art gallery website—even videoke by 12 artists.

However, we were fortunate to still visit Ranelle Dial’s behavioral and personality study-inspired Mind-Mapped exhibit which was staged at the gallery’s video room. It featured portraits of 7 writers—Erwin Romulo, Yason Banal, Yvette Tan, Butch Dalisay, Gou De Jesus, Raymond Lee and Lena Cobangbang with random words and thoughts scribbled on the crown of their bald heads. Personally speaking, the venue of the exhibit is perfect. The room, confined and intimate, can perhaps mimic the confines of a person’s mind. The walls of the video room, which may serve as a cushion from the external distractions, help an observer immerse himself more in the messages behind the words scribbled on the naked heads.

We then walked to Nova Gallery to find pre-occupied Charlie Cojuangco (the gallery director) unpacking massive artworks with a female assistant. In the gallery’s video room, we got treated to a private screening (with animal skin rug to lounge on) of ‘Drawing Zero Degree’, the 2-hour video documentation of Victor Balanon painting the Gen. McArthur’s Lingayen Gulf landing-inspired mural entitled ‘Manifesto Destino Vastardos III’. The installation was pretty interesting, for the lack of better term: the video documentation was projected on the mural mounted on the wall of the video room, creating a 2D impression of Balanon, in phantom-like materialization, daubing his 2D paint brush on the mural. The entire installation is being auctioned—which includes the wall to which the mural is painted on, the projector and the video documentation of the mural production in progress.

Manila Contemporary, located somewhere in the bends and twists of Pasong Tamo, is hosting the Anting-Anting group’s ‘Eternal Damn Nation’ exhibit. Coinciding with the 2010 Elections, ‘Eternal Damn Nation’ is divided into three part exhibition: freedom, land and the condemnation of unfulfilled promises (represented by earth, heaven and hell, respectively). The exhibition is very political with political figures metaphorically presented as creatures of hell and wickedness. Personally speaking, the enormity of the paintings towering over its observer is a figurative representation of the gravity of the country’s current political state in terms of corruption and seeming hopelessness.

Silverlens and Slab is housing Leslie De Chavez’ collection of socio-politically relevant artworks which are collectively entitled ‘Buntong Hininga’. Symbolism heavy, De Chavez’s artworks highlight issues concerning poverty, disorder, religion and politics. The show is entitled ‘Buntong Hininga’ after the Philippine Society’s response to the numerous crisis it is enduring: the collective sigh.

The entire art galleries experience was a breather. The artworks—with themes on issues familiar to us—still somehow shocked me to living. And that is how authentic art is supposed to influence its observer: to realize the many ugly truths of life and in the process, ponder on his existence.

[Thank you to our 2-week mentor, Yason Banal ♥]

♥♥♥

Listening to Pagan Poetry by Bjork ♫ ♪ ♫

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Entry filed under: artnots.

We are all mad here! Idiot!

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