Who's filling up the walls of VOV?
Artist/Type of Exhibit Jan Balquin | Lesley - Anne Cao | Gale Encarnacion | Lou Lim | Veronica Pee | Nicole Tee
Structured within the parameters of a group exercise, this exhibition gathers 6 young artists to contemplate on the idea of piracy weighed against the increasingly encroaching spread of the global franchising machine in business and how certain strategies in looking and dealing with it can be applied to contemporary art practice.
Scanning through any random line-up of recurring international exhibitions, one may be tempted to wonder if there is an unwritten rule, a ‘maximum quota’ of sorts that sees 2-3 regional artists (in our case South East Asia) breaking through per iteration. Museum surveys, whether they be about specialized topics like archiving, structural critique, post-internet and the like, would yield more or less the same results, except when the exhibition itself is predicated as region or continent-specific. While there may be perfect practical and democratic reasons for this, it is apparent that any peripheral artist who wishes to show with his perceived peers and participate at the level of discourse would most likely need to rely on some level of luck or happenstance, to gain access.
Big, international-scale exhibitions are heavily promoted affairs and will likely even maintain their own press offices so there is rarely a shortage of relevant information. Artists’ biographies, artwork proposals, curatorial notes and even the resulting journalistic and critical reviews are conveniently collated and made accessible through various web portals, available for everyone’s use. More often than not, (save for actually being present to see an exhibition in person) this same set of information will be the primary shaper of our opinion about these exhibitions, whether we like a particular one enough to draw out a deep wish to be part of it.
We then ask: Is there a way to collapse this distance, circumvent this lack of access perhaps with an unconventional, slightly more irreverent approach? Does the fact that an artist has been officially invited to produce work for a particular show actually bar him from making something under the exhibition’s contextual framework? While we exercise the utmost care in not infringing on our fellow artists’ intellectual property, should we extend the same courtesy to curatorial themes that for the most part have left us in the periphery?
Artist/Type of Exhibit Teo Esguerra
Visual artist and photographer Teo Esguerra’s second solo exhibition, Migrations, is his ode to an unknown future. It is an introspection of his state as an artist that hasn’t completely overcome self-doubt yet is bravely forging an eloquent path towards baring himself through his art.
Migrations consists of thirteen pieces of artworks that are purely confessional in tone and nature. One of his subjects, the Bird House, is a remnant of his previously successful exhibition, Beach Houses. Along with the migratory birds as his central subjects, Esguerra transforms into both – the fragile avian species that knows its destination; and the structure that is the dwelling place of the latter.
But while the artist relates himself to his subjects, he is still uncertain of his own destination. He hasn’t been completely uprooted from his childhood home and still holds an undeniable fear of failure. He treats the existence of his creations and the act of creating as a temporary resting place and activity before he proceeds to his next endeavor.
As Esguerra digs deeper into his own personal well and exposes himself, viewers are invited to peek into a real birdhouse. The artist intentionally created the birdhouses as an interactive experience of peeking into the future. Each structure contains a resolute image of different migratory birds taken by Esguerra during his trip to Japan. Inside one of the birdhouses is a surprising appearance of personal artifacts that was once a physical part of the artist and his significant other.
Migrations displays a “coming of age” aura as Esguerra continues to refine his form and intentions. He believes that art should always be personal and intends to explore this territory as long as he can. The dark and gritty presentation of his works are only a façade to his deep character and high hopes.
Artist/Type of Exhibit : Tokwa Penaflorida
Date : May 11, 2017
Time : 6PM
Various fauna have been trapped in pools of natural asphalt for millennia, their remains a record of their struggle–exhaustion, starvation, asphyxiation, exposure– and the lead up to their eventual decomposition. In Tar Pits, artist Tokwa Penaflorida utilizes dark, flowing, watercolour washes to re-imagine the weight of helplessness and of being held a prisoner inside your own head. Pins and needles, insomnia, hallucinations, mania, and an overarching sense of resignation keeps this void swirling, with blobs that make stifled popping sounds–miniature implosions and gasps.
As he slowly climbs out of the pit, Penaflorida shifts his focus on the vulnerability, solemnity, and the non-physical pain of his subjects. The series of paintings are fossils of the artist’s ordeal, like markers saying this dark place was never an uncharted territory. It gives comfort to those in the brink of sinking completely or those staying afloat in the viscous blackness.