Renato Ong’s TUMBA-TUMBA opens on Feb 25 at Artinformal
It is not surprising that the terms we use to denote elements of play are the same words we use for aesthetics. Balance, poise, tension, contrast, and variation come into mind. In this exhibition, the archaic imagery of the bul’ol, the cultural icon of our primeval past is used to recreate a feeling of spontaneity- another shared attribute of play and art. The post-modern bul’ol figure now detached from its role as a ritual accessory- is relieved of its soot-black serenity. Playful poses supplant the rigidity of the venerated icon, rendered in colors associated with fun and the contemporary.
Using Huizinga’s treatise on the play elements of culture, the artist threads the fine line between creating playthings and creating play elements. A collection of mobile inter-active sculptures scattered on the floor, iconic figureheads and a hagabi make up an installation that is distinct in its playfulness without losing the aura of an aesthetic space. Play is depicted as fun and agonistic at the same time: a “tight-rope” performance, a balancing act, an archaic ritual indispensable for real life. It is with regret that contemporary man has lost most of this ritual and sacred play, worn out with too much sophistication. Art as play, and not play as art, accomplishes itself outside and above the necessities and seriousness of everyday life.
In this sphere of sacred play, the child and the poet are at home with the savage. Subject matter is ordinary life, ordinary people doing ordinary things. Mothers playing with sons, fathers playing with daughters; expectant mother heavy with child, the neighborhood drunk heavy with his beer gut; people in toil, people in leisure. In this play area, the imperfect world and the confusion of life is rendered limited perfection, albeit temporary.
Between ritual and play, we grapple with the problem posed by non-initiates in their quest for what they view as authentic elements of culture. Rituals become performances for non-local audiences; art become mere trinkets for adornment- the finer nuances of play no longer a factor by which the society is civilized. Sacred play is forever lost in reflexivity due to continuous modifications brought about by social experiences with other societies.
Artinformal is at 277 Connecticut St. Greenhills East, Mandaluyong. For inquiries: Telefax 63(2) 7258518 or visit www.artinformal.com.
Please click on the link below to view the exhibition of Salvador Joel Alonday, “MARKERS”, which opened Thursday, September 24 and will be on view at Art Informal until October 24, 2009.
I saw some of his work here
Alonday’s Markers: a sculpture exhibition at Ai
The stages of adult life, its pains and its triumphs, is the collective theme of Markers, an exhibition of stoneware sculptures by Salvador Joel Alonday.
Alonday, who has previously gained critical notice for his figurative works in resin and epoxy, turns to the organic medium of clay for this series, both as material and metaphor. “Within clay is the residue of many things – bones, metals, trees – and fashioning images from it is like a resurrection,” says Alonday. Inspiration and subject matter come from the artist’s own experiences and he distills the essence of his past into poetic single forms whose figurative imagery are taken from diverse sources that include religious art, myth, classical sculptures and folklore.
The sculptures depart from traditional pottery techniques as each were fired with different glazes, torched, assembled and welded onto wrought iron structures. The resulting work consists of highly original textures and forms.
In choice of subject for this series, the artist tended towards the difficult, darker paths of existence, where his spirit was tested and survived. Like his medium of choice, he commemorates hallowed events of darker nights, falls, the ebbing of life forces, follies, and even death – and yet, also by marking these way stations in the earthly pilgrimage, Markers also celebrates the triumph and resurrection of the will-to-live from fire and ashes.
Alonday is a recepient of the Metrobank Prize for Achievement in Sculpture (MPAS) in 2008. He is a co-founder and curator of Art Informal, a gallery and art education center.
The exhibition opens on September 24 and will be on view until October 24, 2009, in cooperation with the Silangan Foundation.
Wood Sculptures by Riel Hilario in Aniwaas opens on September 3, Thursday, 6pm
Sculptor Riel Hilario reinterprets the folk belief in the animating spirit in Aniwaas, an exhibit of his recent sculptures in wood. Aniwaas is an Ilocano term for the earthbound spirit. In ancient Ilocano mythology the aniwaas is one of the four souls believed to comprise the life-force of a living person, which is left behind in the earthly plane in the transition to the afterlife. Being fully attached to its former existence, the aniwaas lingers within its familiar environs and is said to inhabit the bodies of small animals, insects and even statues or pictures.
For the artist, the animating principle of the aniwaas is a creative process in sculpture where the maker’s thoughts, memory and consciousness take residence in forms. The sculptor engages the concept of the aniwaas as a metaphor for the residual consciousness that lingers after the creation of a work, which brings an affective presence or living sense to the form. For Hilario, his aim as a sculptor is to make sculptures that “seem to exist on their own will”. Aniwaas is the second of a series of wood sculptures on the four Ilocano souls, following his show Kadkaduwa in 2005. The exhibit is the artist’s eight solo show.
Hilario studied santo-carving under Jose Lazo Jr. in Ilocos Sur in 1994 and took up painting and art history at the University of the Philippines. His wood sculptures were featured in the national traveling exhibit Sungdu-an 3 in 2003, a project of the national Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Aniwaas runs from September 3 to 20. For inquiries please visit www.artinformal.com or call 7258518. Art Informal, an artist-run center for art education and exhibitions is at 277 Connecticut St., Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City.