ART ALERT: Contours of Loss opens November 14, 2013 at the VMeme Contemporary Art Gallery, 2C 2nd Floor CK Building 61 Visayas Avenue Quezon City featuring artists such as Alab Pagaringan, Eric Roca, Michelle Hollanes Lua, Crown Dorlot and Lester Almacio.
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Curator’s Note (written by Ricky Francisco):
During the early stages of my relationship, my partner would trace my face in the dark, before we’d fall asleep. He’d explain while doing this, “so that I will always remember your face, even if I lose my sight.” Even in the theoretical possibility of losing his sight, he would commit my face to his body’s memory – a gesture made sweet with the idea of treasuring something in the face of even just the potential of loss. I would remember when we would part for an expected protracted period of time, it would take me days to fix the bed. Missing him would be too much so I would need to be assured of his presence. I would feel comforted by the scent of his clothes and his pillow. The imprint of his head on his pillow, his clothes strewn on the bedside, would be tangible reminders that he was there, and that he would once again be there, the moment he comes back. But there are goodbyes that take longer to deal with. Relationships that gone sour, having to work abroad and leaving loved ones behind, immigrating to new lands to exchange the familiar for financial security amidst the company of strangers and their different ways – all these we deal with at least once in our lives. So we know how it is to practice for the inevitable good bye, that finality we all will have to deal with, eventually. But in the face of these farewells, we hold on to things that remind us, that stave the potential for oblivion for us, even in their frailty – letters we keep hidden, text messages we save and don’t delete, pictures we protect, clothes we look at often, and small objects we cherish for the memories they keep for us. This is the common thread that binds this exhibit- Contours of Loss. It is not the losing that we pay tribute to in this exhibit, but the redeeming power of active memory and transformative imagination – where loss or the potential of loss is molded into precious vessels of hope and redemption.
The featured artists:
Lester Amacio’s works are generally autobiographical. His work take inspiration from his domestic life and the relationships that make it. His imagery often makes use of objects found in his house. Both Nor It Coms to Mind and Resilient deal with the internal struggle and psychodrama that are entailed by missed opportunities and those that just did not push through. Both embody the resolve to move on after licking the wounds. Forgive Me If I’m Late on the other hand is a supplication when the artist is the one causing the hurt.
Crown Dolot’s masterpieces involve combining the powerful gestures of dance with the imagery of the jester and the ubiquitous geotags that appear in social media to pinpoint our location in a map created by GPS technology. Dealing with the macro phenomena of export labor and diaspora, mobility and social positioning in a global age, and the anomie ironically created in this age of digital connectivity, the geotag and the jester (who is often referred to as the fool) become potent symbols rich with layers of meaning that not only pertain to the macro but to the intimately personal as well.
Michelle Hollanes Lua’s Retokada deals with the loss of physical beauty as aging sets in. It shows a woman pulling up her breasts in an attempt to recapture lost youth. Clothed in intricate metal, she appears to be wearing armor that is meant both to bedazzle and intimidate. A broken plate depicting Aphrodite giving Paris a golden apple that signifies the love of the most beautiful woman in the world is worn by her as a crown.
Alab Pagarigan breaks away from his oeuvre of diaphanous wire sculptures to present mixed media drawings on textural teabags. His drawings of a man climbing ladders on disparate asteroids, and at one drawing, meets another person who seems to be in an inverted world, serve to highlight the tangential knowledge we could gain from relationships. The possibility of complete communion seems to be almost nil, but we prod on anyway, climbing our ladders.
Paul Eric Roca’s paintings portray the anguish of going through unwanted transformation adapting to foreign lands and having to go through unwanted circumstances. “Cockroach” has often been used by hateful forum respondents in the country Roca used to work in, to describe the influx of Filipino foreign talent. Using that as a metaphor, Roca purges the residual animosity and transforms it into visuals that inspires both repulsion and compassion at the same time. Titled as mythological characters who have, to some degree, been condemned for their selfless service, Roca’s works also bring to fore the personal plight of the Filipino foreign worker, as well as coming to terms with a traumatic experience that is over.
As the works deal with both holding on and letting go, we feel a palpable tension, a creative spark that both mediates, transforms, memorializes and saves. The works on show trace the contours of loss, and the promise of hope.
To read related Art posts from Flaring Felicity, click here.