Four new media artists at Light and Space Contemporary
Light and Space Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening of Charles Darwin, Me, and other Irregularities, a group exhibition of four new media artists: Kuro, Ralph Eya, Julius Redillas, and Andrei Venal, which opens on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
Throughout their production for the exhibition, the group has consistently been deeply involved in fostering a collaborative relationship that has affected the outcome of their work in no small measure. They are easily-recognized for their immersive multimedia works which behave evenly as a group. Incorporating dramatic footages and music into their visually striking installations, the artists create engaging and transcendent multisensory experiences which draw the viewer into ambiguous and unsettling narratives. Their works address grand themes centered on adaptation, hinting on issues of displacement, voyeurism, and desire. Providing only fragments of information, the completion of the storylines, images and thoughts are left to be formed in the minds of the individual viewers.
Kuro’s works range from the ephemeral to the digital. His centerpiece for the exhibition is a three minute single-channel video installation projected on fabric, entitled Chasing Salvation. The artist visited the most rundown carnival in the provinces to take a footage of its carousel—a loaded image about childhood fantasy—in order to speak of individual life struggles mirrored in most social structures. His installation with clay, rice, blue light, rake, entitled Ghost Garden, addresses the difficulties in how people find their places in an ever-changing landscape. His works seek to stimulate contemplation on existence and purpose, and the conflicts that arise as these clash with our selfish and worldly desires. He says, his “ephemeral works refer to the fragility of the human soul,”and that his digital works, “because of their intangible nature, refer to the ideal, the elusive hoped-for and desired.”
The group’s works project an interests in spectacle, narrative, and sculptural motifs. In Kuro, we witness a small children’s carousel grinding slowly up to speed, while lights and music emanate from the structure and moving shadows are cast onto the fabric. The results transform the carnival ride into a layered and evocative encounter.
In marked contrast to this large-scale installation by Kuro and Eya, Venal and Redillas have created a series of works that turn their interest in the subject of adaptation away from the grand spectacle of the carnival to focus instead on the intimacy of the imagination. Their digital explorations further the narrative potential of the technology as extensions of human function.
“Twenty-Seven,” a performance in a box, functions as an interactive piece. To see the piece is to encounter someone’s “private process of dealing with adaptation.” says Ralph Eya, a professor of photography at the Philippine Women’s University. “It is a view of the mental and psychological conditions instead of just the physical aspect of adaptation,” he adds. The audience, assuming the role of a voyeur, may experience the clarity of his message from the raw juxtaposition of the human body to such mediated forms of video, simultaneously as the body is played like an instrument; an accompanying sound from the video is playing. A contrast emerges which is telling of a current tendency to inundate ourselves with excessive information. The virtual image of the artist is projected as the proxy of the physical self that acts as a steward for our mortal being. As an investigation of knowledge, time, and our relationship to objects and environment, Twenty-seven creates an introspective experience.
Coming from an art school but having a career background concentrated on his commercial viability as a photographer, is a practice which Eya says makes his double-life. “I think the most influential component in my discussion of adaptation is my current teaching practice.” It is about making art based on one’s current situation, being able to justify and communicate your context visually. What Eya says is true for the rest of the group who maintain day-jobs in commercial establishments to sustain their practice. But according to them, it is precisely the exchanges in their middle grounds that stirred their objective for art exhibitions.
Julius Redillas who works as a designer for Second-life, an online design platform, presents three Youtube screen-caps mounted on a wooden lightbox along with watercolour images scrapped from Google images. The announcement of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) became incumbent on his part to present the screen-captures, untouched. He says, he “wanted it to serve as replica or even as hard-copy documentation of the image/video in case the online file gets deleted.” Meanwhile, the watercolours echo of the same visceral quality found in illustrations of animals and human figures in anatomy books. His juxtaposition of a contemporary art form with a traditionally recognized one speaks of the contrast and also of parallel cases in which an artist adapted with the shift in the information medium and exponential generation of “knowledge.” This precludes increasing censorship and the resulting paranoia over intellectual property rights that this creates.
Andrei Venal, a two-time Shell National Student’s Art Competion grand-prize winner for digital art has created characters from a dream world in his five-piece series of original digital fine art printed on canvas. These works reflect Venal’s view on the supremacy of change and the various situations wherein he had to adapt in order to survive. He says, “There is both beauty and maleficence (in this instinct).” After printing them on canvas, Venal deleted the digital origin of his works, rendering them orphaned and irreproducible, in order to mimic the experience of adaptation and transfer. He says “After the adaption, one can never go back to the original form except find traces of it in the present state.”
The works unravel personal thoughts on this urban condition and self-realizations were not uncommon during the process. In the series presented, he goes back to the ancient custom of deifying abstract ideas. Change and adaptation become gods who control forces in the lives of people. Although Venal has said that he does not believe in religion and his faith in a monotheistic god is weak, he believes in the idea that a god could be someone or something that could shape one’s life. This is regardless if one allows it. These principles, he says, are the “moulders of one’s destiny.”
The artworks in this exhibition are the result of manifesting change and adaptation as objects and forces that continue to incite the imagination of the artists whether as a grueling meditation on purpose and place in the world or as mere deep-thinking touchstones.
The exhibition Charles Darwin, Me, and other Irregularities runs until the 5th of August 2012.
For further information, please contact Mr. Jason Tecson at +632 4305202 or via email at email@example.com