JAYSON OLIVERIA : After This, Everything You Do Is Wrong opens 27 August at Pablo Fort

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PABLO THE FORT 27 Aug – 10 Oct

After This, Everything You Do Is Wrong

The irresistible forces of failure and the fear of bad luck are turned into paintings that are dumb at first glance but brilliant the more we keep looking. For instance, an anime-style painting of a male head with a huge erection for a hand, superimposed with varied patches of color suggesting a variety of vaginas, may demonstrate the difference between figuration (the phallus) and abstraction (the pussies).

Figuration gives us recognizable elements and signs that we can decode, while abstraction turns its back on us and blocks our view to prevent interpretation and resist narrative. Paradoxically, abstraction annihilates illusions and obliterates distractions, while figuration can mystify and delude. We can observe the hostility and intercourse between figuration and abstraction in the painting of a skunk giving a pink flower to a crocodile wearing a red painter’s hat and snacking on a fishbone. The crocodile rolls its eyes and looks jaded and world-weary, while the skunk seems hopeful and giddy, naive and oblivious of the crocodile’s disdain. A yellow butterfly flutters behind the crocodile. Below, a rat in blue shorts and leather shoes, hands in pockets looking bored and burned-out, is turned towards a little chick looking away in dismay, wearing similar leather shoes but is otherwise naked. An awkward tension seems to exist between the two but exactly what is happening cannot be determined since the image is upside down and painted over with various shapes of different colors, almost completely obstructing our view of the scene. What is clear is the text that reads, “Since I gave up hope I feel much better.”

The shallow and the deep are both apparent on the surface of the paintings. The picture of a monkey with hair shaved on parts of its body and pubic area, holding up an impossible triangle constructed out of poo, is evocative of Homo erectus’ discovery of fire – a turning point in human evolution. But the triangular turd is a discovery that we don’t know what to make of, whether it is useless or valuable. Though the act is a great leap in thought and imagination, it leaves us and the monkey none the wiser.

In another, cartoon-like picture, a naked woman holding a giant pair of scissors waiting for the peeper to poke his pecker through the peephole on a fence may be seen as a comment on the act of looking at art, and brings to mind Marcel Duchamp’s final opus, Étant donnés (roughly translated as Given). In this case, the naked female body is on the same side as the onlooker and instead of a gas lamp in her hand illuminating the way, she holds a pair of scissors that threaten to put the light out of the candle shining and towering on the other side, which she does not see.

As we can see, these paintings are devoted to the traditions of modern art and make use of familiar avant-garde elements such as the grid, the maze, and the brick wall. The grid is found in several of the paintings such as one that plays with surrealism where a hand crushes a beer can as if in triumph, muscles flexing and biceps bulging. Pine trees grow on the biceps, which could also be seen as a hill. Hovering above is an eyeball that could also be a full moon. In the center is an owl made of shells and below is a hospital urinal for patients who find it impossible to get out of bed. The images get out of the grid and do not stay behind the lines.

While multiple layers are commonly piled on the surface, the pictures go against complexity. One painting is initially of a classic motivational poster of a small kitten hanging on to a tree branch coupled with the catchphrase, “Hang in there baby.” This popular relic of the 1970s is used as the underpainting, layered over and almost completely obscured by an image of two prisoners hanging in chains wearing only tattered shorts. The prisoner on the right of the kitten seems horny and amused as he inserts his free foot down the pants of his companion, while the other guy is stunned and looks away, yet also somehow pleased to be preoccupied. His legs are splayed and he feels the pleasure yet feels embarrassed that he is pleasured. The naughty one doing the footsie is clean-looking and looks like a newbie prisoner, while the helpless guy being stimulated has overgrown facial hair and a bloated belly, and appears to have been hanging there for a while. This image is further painted over with an enlarged version of a shrunken head, a novelty item inspired by the headhunting Jivaro tribe of South America, famous for their practice of shrinking and preserving human heads taken in battle as a trophy. The hunted heads are shrunk to the size of a large orange and sewn along the lips. The souvenir version is attached to a string to be hung in the home or car. Beneath the shrunken head is a singing fish, a popular kitschy object that turns its head towards the spectator and sings kitschy cover songs when turned on. It is mounted on a plaque and typically hung on the wall like a taxidermy trophy. These layered images, evidently, have something to do with “hanging” and may refer to the hanging of paintings or pictures.

Paintings defy analysis and change meaning or evolve in idiocy at different times and different states. The more we look the more we know, and the more we know the more we don’t know. We know the look of losers and the picture of success. These pictures are successful in displeasing our sense of beauty, and raise philosophical questions that kill the buzz of glamour and glory. How do we solve the circular maze of art making and go beyond the dead ends of imagination? In Jayson Oliveria’s exhibition, After this, everything you do is wrong, the answers are given.

Masi Oliveria, 2015

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Pablo X Part 2 : Instructions (On and About Video Art)

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The 2nd leg in the series of Pablo Galleries’ 10th Anniversary show will showcase video works by Poklong Anading, Martha Atienza, Lena Cobangbang, Ivan & Pauline Despi, Kaloy Olavides, Tad Ermitanio with Mannet Villariba. Curated by Shireen Seno and Merv Espina, the exhibit, entitled Instructions, retakes the 2-part process of video work : the production and conceptualization of the work, and the installation of the work in a given space,” inviting artists to  revisit their past video or time-based media works and break them down to a score or set of instructions—distilling old work into a set of instructions from which to generate something new. ”

Quoting further from their curatorial statement :

“In the context of PABLO’s video exhibition on the occasion of their 10th anniversary,  the artists can choose to present their actual processes and investigations, or work them in as they then re-install, re-imagine or re-work their pieces into a given space—this time with a heightened awareness of the limitations of space, time, technology, finances and other logistical constraints—based on the original incarnation or idea of their works and the act of breaking them down.

We liken this process to a performance. Such as in music or dance, an element of indeterminacy is central to the idea of a work being performed. But indeterminacy is not present in the playback of media. It’s present in the act of installing an installation.

In the process of participating in this exhibition, the artists assess their ideas and intentions of creation, and explore alternative ways of understanding authenticity, change and loss in ways that might help guide the conservation of their works of art. ”

“Many of the works in question only exist as memories, rumors, and text on forgotten catalogs and manuscripts, even those as recent as 5 years ago. Perhaps the moving image can in fact bear witness to the instability/precarity of our times, challenging the very structures and dynamics that constitute these works with its audience, whose various acts of witnessing, participation and remembrance is key—and for some works, could now only be its only form of existence.”

Shireen Seno and Merv Espina continue to work on the Kalampag Tracking Agency, an ongoing initiative and screening program exploring alternative notions/visions in moving image practice from the Philippines.

This will open on August 15 and will run until August 22, 2015.  The opening night will be highlighted by a special Selecter FM Session, curated by Caliph8 with performances by Pow Martinez & Kaloy Olavides (with Pastilan Dong), Malek Lopez & Moon Fear Moon, Roger Lopez & Richard Tuason.

Selecter Pablo X

Pablo X Kick Off Anniversary Show opening (Pablo X Part 1)

 

 

 

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10 Years is 10 years of seeing neighboring shops come and go here at Cubao X, surrounding structures being demolished and replaced with new ones, a procession of fashion and music trends in constant retro procession, and the denizens and hangers-on of this quaint cul-de-sac at the heart of Cubao shopping center getting older and younger, and former party-addicts becoming doting parents to pets and babies.  But as art is forever, those 10 years for Pablo will just be a marker for another chapter, another decade of more challenging and more lustrous art years ahead. So cheers to this night, and to the coming exhibits. There’s still three more to go until September.

This first leg, titled Into One Category or The Other is curated by the collaborative duo of Dina Gadia and Allan Balisi as Saturnino Basilia.  Read more about the show here.

A zine catalog for the show was also released and it sells for just 100 bux. Make sure to get your copy now!

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Setting up the show with a mural by Epjey Pacheco and Eva Yu.

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While outside, the graffiti crew of Drone, Ekis and Exld tagged the 2nd floor facade.

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This was transformed during opening night

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Party music was provided by The Diegos

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and of course there was dancing too

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1st batch of well-wishers and co-partiers

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Mike Crisostomo : Rocky Mountain High opens on April 28 at Post Cubao X

ROCKY MT HIGH MIKE INVITE

Rocky Mountain High was penned by John Denver as a homage to the snowy mountains of Colorado which he had been very fond of. Typically folksy in a jangly strumming, it’s also an ode to a solitary activity of climbing up a mountain and being overwhelmed by the spectacle of a panoramic view of nature, or scaling the heights of the sublime as we tend to associate representations of nature, of vast landscapes, and trekking up heights to take in all this magnificence as the sublime, taking after romanticists in their eternal quest for the total ideal beauty in the boundless magnificence of nature, and to create as spurred from this awe.

When sir George Mallory was asked why climb Mt. Everest, he curtly replied “because it’s there “. To ask a painter why paint, the reply may equally be terse as the question is elementary : “because it has to be painted”. For Mike Crisostomo, the answer veers on the more topical : “because the canvas is blank.” And he proceeds to fill them up with views of shapeless mountain mass, of landscapes, of dirigibles hovering over ranges of flora and swathes of green fields. We see them as these landforms for the patterns that hint at their forms. Nothing much is added to indicate their specificity, as those would only be superfluous in representing them, that a mountain by any other name is but a mountain, or a mountain is a mountain is a mountain just a rose is a rose is a rose, just as a painting of a mountain is a painting of a mountain. To render them in their barest is to get at their purest form, to seek their essence in the immediacy of viewing them.


Most of the time this task though seemingly simple, is one that entails more struggle as to seek this vision is a solitary activity as painting is very much a hermetic exercise in creation, reinforcing the cliché of the tragic-heroics of the painter/artist ever wrestling with the production of a masterpiece. Mike Crisostomo inserts that reference through a small portrait of Ken Watanabe, a Japanese actor known to play tragic-heroic characters in films that have him staring at something so abominably colossal (in Godzilla), or the wabi sabi poesy of a bowl of shoyu ramen (in Tampopo). To merely function as a direct witness to awe and terror was his characters’ sole value, midway through these films, they would be killed off. Or their tragic endings wrought by their own undoing – of merely choosing to gaze, to marvel at such spectacle. John Denver went beyond climbing mountains to fly 2-seater airplanes to see more of the sky and the fields and the mountains. In 1997, on one of his solo flights, he crashed his plane in a bay in California, as Icarus had fallen into the sea of Samos.

“Continue climbing to the top but nobody knows where the top is” (Jiro Dreams of Sushi)

Mike Crisostomo (b.1975, Manila) studied Fine Arts at The University of The Philippines and was into corporate managerial work before doing production design and graphic design which eventually lead to focusing on art with themes that revolve around sublimating Sci-Fi utopian/dystopian visions through painting and photography. He’s also part of the collab project The Weather Bureau which designs propositionary structures and conditions in the idealized state of utopia. They build from seemingly failed plans of defunct totalitarian states and re-adapts and rehabilitates them in their ideal settings or rather in nowherelands in timeless stasis.

He’s been exhibited in various local galleries and has had his first solo exhibit Picture Not So Perfect at Blanc in 2014. Rocky Mountain High is his 2nd solo exhibit