What Comes to You
12 October - 09 November
Opening reception: October 12, Saturday 5pm - 10pm
Artists: Ian Cadiong, Jao San Pedro, Koki Lxx, Mark Copino
It comes to you. Like waking up in the middle of the night. Right when you’re having lunch in a busy cafeteria. It comes to you. A friend is telling you about the best thing that has ever happened to them, but it comes to you. Some thought: new, strange, urgent. And you must do something about it.
It is like a dream, a premonition, an unsettling feeling that you must react or solve. The weavers of the T’boli are said to have dreams of T’nalak patterns, and they must weave those patterns as soon as they awaken, lest they be struck with illness. The Romanticism of the 1800s considered “visions” to be the pinnacle of what an artist can apply his talents to - whether they come from the subconscious or alcohol. From literature, the myriad thoughts that overlap and overtake each other in the mind are presented in a stream of consciousness. Even in the age of the smartphone, the sudden thought is complemented by a photo (that looks nice), notepad (let me write that thought down), or Google (what is it? what is that? who is it? how does it work?)
Ian Cadiong manipulates the viewer's perception by appropriating a Snellen chart, from a clear image guiding, leading to a non-apparent, unfamiliar, unknown form. How much will one continue to look, if what they see is less and less observable? How much will they be able to see?
With faint memories of past habitations, Mark Copino paints simplified spaces. Having moved house countless times over and over, having to carry out an insufferable task of defamiliarization and refamiliarization, his paintings ponder upon some kind of deja vu: there is a transferred nostalgia in something new.
Revolving around an “unnatural” scholar’s rock - instead of a naturally occurring rock, it is a composite of gravel, sand, and concrete. Koki Lxx stages various interpretations of the singular, specifically selected object in attempts to discuss relationships between the manmade, the natural, and perception.
Like specimens mounted on glass slides for examination, Jao San Pedro presents an intimate dissertation on the body and identity. Fragile, fleeting, and finite all at the same time, each strand of hair - shed, shaved and cut - is temporary release in a quest to discover and unite complex aspects of the self.
Cadiong, Copino, Lxx, and San Pedro, present a show of such "visions." Save the intellectual pickings for a later time, these works present a reaction to an immediate stimulus. Be it something about perception, or from countless conversations about being; a sense of place or a push and pull, art is the tool by which we achieve a necessary output in expressing what comes to you
For inquiries dm us or contact +639175373436
Arts Above, 112 West Avenue, Quezon City
Tuesday - Saturday, 2pm - 7pm and by Appointment
TRANSDIMENSION: MAPPING TERRITORIES IN EPHEMERAL SPACES
HUNNY BAE AKA JOSE TONG
OPENING: MARCH 23, 2019
EXHIBITION RUN UNTIL: APRIL 21, 2019
Arts Above, West Venue Bldg., West Avenue, Quezon City Philippines
In 2014 a British-American scientist and a pair of Norwegian researchers (John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discov- ering “an inner GPS in the brain” that enables all creatures to navigate their surroundings. The discovery of Grid Cells elucidates the age-old philosophical question of how the brain creates a neu- rological map of the space around us and how we could navigate through complex environments.
In the 21st century, we are entering a new age of hyperreality dominated by a deluge of images, an excess of simulations. While automation and machine learning is becoming ubiquitous we ourselves become a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of biology and machine, of social reality and social fiction. We become a producer of simulations. We become disembodied enti- ties—ephemeral avatars incarnated in social apps or gaming whose virtual realities encroach on our daily lives.
This existential reality has its effects too in the realm of architecture and placemaking. Wheeling through the highways of Manila, an endless array of digital adscreens, billboards cover many of the buildings. Alien architectural styles employed by architects do not reflect the vernacular or local history. Games such as Pokemon Go augments reality with cute collectible creatures scattered across the virtual map of the world. The boundary between the architectural fiction and reality becomes blurred. The simulacra dissolves the specular boundary of hallucinations, the coextensivity between the mental map and the territory.
The subject of Transdimension deals with the artistic investi- gation on the expanding and shifting urban architectural and cultural identities and examines questions on the ephemerality of personae and architectonic spaces. Mapping Territories In Ephemeral Spaces examines the cognitive spatial map “intui- tively” drawn by the Grid Cells whose spikes in neural activity in navigating a space creates a triangular or hexagonal tessel- lation—a geometric mental map. Using both intuitive and gener- ative strategies, Transdimension marks the boundary between the territory and spatial memory while also mediating the con- nection of reality with its avatar in the virtual.
Hunny Bae aka Jose Tong, 2019
Hunny Bae (born Jose Tong) is a transarchitect from Manila, Philippines. She is currently a lecturer in the architecture department of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde and has exhibited in multiple galleries in the Philippines. Her projects involve concepts of postgenderism, transhumanism, architecture, simula- crum and the cyborg questioning and investigating the hybridization of man and machine, virtual and physical, art and architecture in the age of intelli- gent machines. Her works include installations, videos and performances depicting the effects of technology in creating new identities and territories. www.transarkitektura.com
Viewing Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 2pm - 7pm
And by appointment
Contact us: +639175373436
Thorns by Jessica Lopez
February 16 - March 10
Thorns, symbol of hurt, pain and sacrifices where human beings bound to endure and survive. Such thorns gave life the paradox of happiness and love. It is on these thorns where the son of God. Jesus Christ saves the humanity from death and eternal sacrifice. Thorns that made these Obra came to its artful existence to touch the senses and hearts to fathom the meaning of life and existence.
Text by: Thomas Papa
Opening Reception: February 16, Saturday, 6pm
Wednesday - Sunday, 2pm - 7pm
Mobile / Viber: +639175373436 (Globe), +649985950296 (Smart)
January 12 - February 10
Artists: 0270501, 1111, Angelo Padilla, Christina Lopez, Cru Camara, Datu Arellano, Franz Vocalan, Gab Baez, Gerome Soriano, Gio Lebajo, Irish Glori Galon, Isobel Francisco, James Ryan Lustro, Jao San Pedro, Jed Gregorio, Jelly Fish Kisses, Jinon, Josarvida Bourbon, Joyce Cesario, Julius Bagoyo, Junks Kdlt, Kris Abrigo, Kych Minemoto, Lorenzo Luis Hidalgo, Manny Orozco, Manu San Pedro, Mark Salvatus, Melbourn Aquino, Mimi Salibio, Nasser Lubay, Nikko Pelaez, Obet Tiaño, Odoi Villalon, Rhaz Oriente, Rem San Pedro, Roman Padilla, Sam Penaso, Vincent Mayor, Wipo, Yana Ofrasio,
Opening Reception: Jan 12, Saturday 6pm
Wednesday - Sunday ( 2pm - 7pm)
Contact us before coming. Mobile: +639985950296 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 1 - December 23
Celine Lee, Jao San Pedro, Jed Gregorio, Jose Tong, Miguel Lorenzo Uy
To measure one’s abstract reasoning through answering a test suggests the objectivity of abstract thoughts. How can you, in all your subjectivities as an individual, be made to answer a test of shapes and lines put together only to make you choose which should come next in a sequence?
Carl Jung and his concept of the collective unconscious states that humankind has already established a structure and pattern of thinking that evolved through generation after generation. This structure only becomes concrete and observable through manifestations - what Jung would call archetypes. Common manifestations bring forth the totality of these unconscious thoughts and actions.
“No, the collective unconscious is anything but an encapsulated personal system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world. There I am object of every subject, in complete reversal of my ordinary consciousness, where I am always the subject that has an object. There I am utterly one with the world, so much a part of it that I forget easily who I really am. ‘Lost in oneself’ is a good way of describing this state. But this self is the world, if only a consciousness could see it. That is why we must know who we are.” —C. G. Jung
You stand within a space bounded by white walls.
Among the walls of the gallery are images taken from the human body - fragmented, morphed, & juxtaposed.
As you move deeper within the space, an invisible, geometric pattern can be drawn from your mind - activated by the movement of the body and recognized through the sound of a rainstick.
A tower, straddling between the conscious and the unconscious, the imagined and the real, the temporal and atemporal.
Elsewhere: A rug, a table, a chair, a sequence of images, a story, and a figment of memory.
Two sheets of paper are suspended from the ceiling - one has a pattern; the other is composed of a gestalt of pinholes.
How will you complete the sequence?
NASSER LUBAY: Thru,,,,
The concept of an intimate connection between the artist and time has been a traditional one, long embraced even by the masters. In every creation that he starts, he needs more than space and inspiration to create and compose, He needs, we need, the privilege of time.
And the commonality we have with each creator in the various avenues of artistry in every part of the world, goes through a passage, a process, a journey.
He begins. He takes small steps. He proceeds. He pauses. He observes. He takes bigger steps. He flows. He rests. He erases. He continues. He pauses again. He listens. He steps back. He moves forward. He pushes. He breathes. He stops. He starts.
Thru… like everything that came before it also went through the same evolution that started with a spark, a germ, a realization. And as the shapes, the strokes and the colors set in, the unraveling of the narrative commences.
We are all part of the shaping of things through the passage of time.
- Ricky Gallardo
November 10 - November 25
Opening reception: November 10, Saturday 5PM
The aim of this exhibition is defined to what is considered as “human error”. It is very difficult to provide a satisfactory explanation of human errors, as they are often a result of a complicated sequence of events and therefore an elusive phenomenon to analyze.
However, Reason has defined “human error” in the following way: "Error will be taken as a generic term to encompass all those occasions in which a planned sequence of mental or physical activities fails to achieve its intended outcome.” On the other hand, it has been said that errors, or mistakes is human.
Human error is an element that cannot be totally eliminated, but if the typical errors are identified, most of them can also be prevented while some of it can also be a break through that can open a new variety of concept/idea.
NEW OPM MUSICAL “GEE-GEE AT WATERINA ANG MUSIKAL” ALL SET TO OPEN AUGUST 18!
In line with the 4th season of Artist Playground,the stage is all set to open the company’s first Original Pinoy Musical “GEE-GEE AT WATERINA ANG MUSIKAL” on August 18, 2018 – 7 pm at Arts Above, Artist Playground II, 112 West Venue Bldg., West Avenue, Quezon City. GEE-GEE AT WATERINA ANG MUSIKAL will feature an all-new original music composed by Jesse Lucas, based from the story, book and lyrics by J. Dennis C. Teodosio, andand choreography by Lezlie Dailisan. It will be directed by Andrew de Real.
The roles of GEE-GEE AT WATERINA will be portrayed by Roeder Camanag as Waterina, a ‘comfort gay’ during Japanese Occupation in the Philippines andone of Gee-gee’s Golden Gays. Norman Penaflorida will essay the role of Gee-Gee, an entertainment actor, radio host and a councilor of Pasay City. The ensemble of Gee-Gee at Waterina are as follows: Bench Ortiz, Joseph Dela Cruz, Nel Gumalog, Romeo Palma Jr., and Sean Nolasco.
SYNOPSIS: Waterina eagerly waits for his gay politician friend, Gee-Gee. He soon arrives, bearing with him a check – the payment for the film rights to the life story of Waterina, the soon-to-be-famous “comfort gay”. As the two mull over the prospects of their newly acquired wealth, they launch into a comfortable tirade of each other’s flaws and frailties. In the midst of the teasing and mockery, they are faced with a question: how does one measure his worth? Waterina distresses, “Would the people cry or laugh when they watch my movie? Would they feel pity or admiration? Would they think the movie is worth their money? Who would I be to them? An aging homosexual? Just that?” In the final assessment of his life’s worth, Waterina swears that he is what he is: no more, no less. He again contemplates on the check, only to be distracted by the sight of a beautiful young man with a radiant smile.
SYNOPSIS: Dala ni Konsehala ang isang tsek. Super excited namana si Waterina, ang pamosong comfort gay noong Japanese Occupation. Sa rooftop ng isang seven-storey building, pagninilayan nila ni Waterina ang kabayaran sa kuwento ng buhay niya. Sa pagitan ng mga litanya, laitan, at landian, masasalamin natin ang isang katotohanan paano nga ba nasusukat ang naging silbi o kabuluhan ng ating mga buhay. Kung iisipin, may subyang nga sa himutok ni Waterina kay Gee-gee. “Yong mga manonood ng pelikula” ng buhay ko, matatawa kaya sila o maiiyak? Maaawa kaya sila o hahanga? Paglabas kaya nila ng sinehan, pakiramdam kaya nila sulit ang ibinayad nila o hindi? Ano kaya ako sa kanila? Matandang bakla? Gano’n lang? Sa kabuuan, ito ay isang kakatwa at nakakatuwang kwento ng tamis at pait, pagtanggi at pagtanggap, pagpapakumbaba at pagmamalaki, pag-iisa at pagkakaibigan, datung at bagets na may beautiful smile!
GEE-GEE AT WATERINA was first presented at the CCP Virgin Labfest in 2005. A short film version was produced for Cinemalaya in 2006.
J. Dennis C. Teodosio writes for TV, cinema, print, advertising, and the stage.He was a fellow in the UP Likhaan (for poetry in Filipino, 1996, and for one-act play in Filipino, mid-career, 2007) and the Iligan National Writers Workshops (for one-act play in Filipino, 2002). He was one of the scholars of the 1st ABS-CBN2/Ricky Lee Course in Soap Writing and was part of the Star Cinema Concept Development Group. His works were anthologized in “Likhaan Journal 10” (UP Press, 2016), “Transfiksyon” (UP Press, 2014), “Mga Piling Dula mula sa Virgin Lab Fest, 2005-2008: Unang Antolohiya,” (CCP, 2009), “Ladlad 3: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing” (Anvil Publishing, 2007), “Writing to the Future: Poetika at Politika ng Malikhaing Pagsulat”, (UP-ICW & NCCA, 2008), and “Writing to the Music of Pestle-on-Mortar: The 9th Iligan National Writers Workshop,” (MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, 2003). He garnered prizes from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (screenplay, teleplay, one-act play, and essay), NCCA, Gawad Ka Amado, the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize, Gawad Teatro Bulawan, CineManila International Film Festival, Star Cinema, Viva Films, Philippine Pink Film Festival, Film Development Foundation of the Philippines, Film Academy of the Philippines, the Aliw Awards, Migration Advocacy & Media Awards, China-Southeast Asia-South Asia TV Arts Week, and the Asian TV Awards. He has 40 stage plays to his credit. His Virgin Lab Fest portfolio includes 11 works, namely: ‘Gee-Gee At Waterina’ (VLF1, 2005), ‘Baka-Sakali’ (VLF2, 2006), ‘Payb Siks’ (VLF2, 2006), ‘Bagahe’ (VLF3, 2007), ‘Pobreng Alindanaw’ (VLF3, 2007, independently produced), ‘Gumamela’ (VLF4, 2008), ‘Asunto’ (VLF4, 2008, dramatic reading), ‘Salise’ (VLF5, 2009), ‘Carmi Martin’ (VLF6, 2010), ‘Totong Hilot’ (VLF8, 2011, full-length play), and ‘Rosas’ (VLF14, 2018). He was commissioned to write by Gantimpala Theater Foundation, PETA, Tanghalang Pilipino, and Artist Playground. Currently, he is based in Yangon, Myanmar. He develops and writes TV series and programs for Forever Group Co., Ltd. and designs and conducts training programs for Myanmar Media Development Center. In 2014, he founded the Yangon-based independent film group, ‘The Creative Playground’. He was challenged to write, direct, and produce short Myanmar features (narrative and documentary). His short Myanmar features were screened and recognized in film festivals in Yangon, Manila, and New Delhi (Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, Youth Film Festival, Wathann Film Festival, CCP Independent Film & Video Competition, and Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Film Festival). He and his M take care of a cute brown poodle named Jade.
Jesse Lucas is a top-notch composer who writes music for film, television, theater and dance. His works have won awards from different award-giving bodies like URIAN, FAMAS, Star Awards, Young Critics Circle, Metro Manila Filmfest and Aliw Awards. He won the Best Music at the 2005 Screamfest International Film Festival in Los Angeles for the film Sigaw (Scream), 2005. In 2010, he was elevated to the FAMAS Hall of Fame for Best Music Scorer. In 2015, over a decade of prolific output in musical multimedia, Jesse's most outstanding works were showcased at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Triple Threats Concert series, FULL RANGE - The Music of Jesse Lucas - which featured his colleagues in the professional art world of dance, theater and music.
Andrew De Real is a writer, comedy director and entrepreneur. He is also known as “King of Comedy Bars”. He is currently the director of GMA 7’s toprating Sunday noontime show “Sunday Pinasaya”.
Roeder Camanag is a two-time ALIW Best Stage Actor and recognized by the prestigious film critics group with multiple URIAN nominations. A former member of Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company, he has performed in over 100 plays and musicals. He is currently a board member of the Gantimpala Theater Foundation and the artistic director of Artist Playground and the Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts. He has facilitated acting workshops for Tanghalang Pilipino (2003-2010) and Gantimpala Theater Foundation (2004-2012).
Norman Penaflorida is a theater actor, event host, production designer, entrepreneur, event and image stylist of THE CLOSET.
The Artistic Team of GEE-GEE AT WATERINA ANG MUSIKAL is led by Andrew De Real (Director), Roeder Camañag (Artistic Director), Jesse Lucas (Composer/Musical Director), J. Dennis Teodosio (Playwright), Leslie Dailisan (Choreographer), Luis Galang (Lighting Designer) and Reynoso Mercado (Production Designer).
The Production Team of GEE-GEE AT WATERINA ANG MUSIKAL is led by Kimberly Claire Somoza (Production Manager), Joselito “Toots” Tolentino (Publicist), Rowena Jarito (Stage Manager), Jayson Batoto (Deputy Stage Manager), Melanie Lao (Lay-out Designer), Jayson Santos and Kimberly Claire Somoza (Photographer),Christian Silang & Beaulah Mae Saycon (Assistant Stage Managers), Wenzel Kyne Fernandez (Assistant Lighting Designer) and Glenn Caspe (Spinner).
Doktor Karayom: 3RDFLR
July 21 - August 12
Palapag, lugar na walang sariling hapag,
pero busog ang sikmura at kaluluwa kapag
nagkakagawa ng mga likhang hindi tumitigil sa pagdagdag
ng mga ideya at istoryang naiisip sa magdamag
Pumapalag sa hamon ng buhay, alam ang lalim ng hukay,
may sariling mundong pinupuntahan, kala mo nakatalampunay,
husay na natutunan ,sa kinapos na gamit ay nasanay
pinagkasya kung anong meron, na parang biglang sermon ni nanay
kumakalampag na bubungan, pula , puti, parang sabungan,
hindi makatsambang tinayaan, manalo, matalo ayus lang,
sanay namang mapagiwanan, ayaw ko lang makipagunahan,
sa mga nagmamadaling mali na ang pinupuntahan,
kapag akoy nababato, nakakatitig sa semento,
dikit dikit na yero, parang nitso sa sementeryo,
ito ay langit para sa akin, mukha lang syang impyerno,
dito nagsimulang bumuo ng sariling kong imperyo
Pagpag ng alikabok , patay na ipis at mga buhok,
tae ng mga dagang ,nagkukotkot sa sulok-sulok,
basurang di maitapon, may mga saging na bulok-bulok,
tubig ang lunas kapag may sakit at tabletas na lunok- lunok
kasing dami ng insekto ang ideya at konsepto,
sadyang natural ang pagbuo, hindi masyadong perpekto,
umukit at hulma sa maliit na kwarto
may isang pinto at daanang sukat sa isang tao,
binaluktot ang sarili para lang sa basahan ay magkasya,
magagamit ang lahat, dahil bawal ang mag aksaya,
tahanan ng mga inabandunang rebulto ng santo,
lugar na paanakan na umikot sa sintido,,
kwartong may tatlong ilaw na hindi napupundi,
imposibleng luminis ang mga nakatagong dumi,
tahanang pinagtaniman ng mga butil ng pangarap,
espiritu santo,semento at kahoy na sa akin ay yumakap..
About Doktor Karayom
“I am Doktor Karayom. I am the living fear of Russel Trinidad. I’ve taught him how to be brave, alert and inquisitive. I showed him how to be sensitive to things. I used the world of horror as an outlet for him to showcase his feeling. I’ve trained him to use the color red as a more effective tool for his story telling. I’ve instructed him to infuse his feelings in every line and every stroke, base everything on each pulse and emotion. Every new piece has no do over. I’ve taught him to sketch in paper, paint in canvas, and go out the streets and make something out of the walls because I don’t want to limit Russel’s talent and the thing he does. Together we met creative people and friends, ive givent him knowledge on carving and sculpting things. We converse a lot when he gets tired of this reality. I let him enter my domain to talk.
During morning, he is awake for his job as a graphic artist. Me on the other hand I wake at night to draw, to carve, and to sculpt and during these hours I watch over him as he dreams and aspire to reach his wish in life.
I’ve lent him my courage… and he in turn help me live in this reality.”
+639175373436 / +639989911982
Arts Above, 112 West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines 1104
Kristianne Molina's practice is a search for origins—the origins of color, fiber, and culture, their interwoven histories, their roles in the crafting of identity. Her hand dyed, lightweight works on fabric, often featuring red hues derived from cochineal, carry the density of complex narratives tracing the migration of people and goods. There is the story of the insect itself: Used as a fabric dye across Central and South America since Pre-Columbian times, it was then shipped across the world following Spain's colonization of the region. And then there is story of the artist's own migration, from the Philippines to the United States, from a once-colonized territory to the colonizing country. Some of her materials repeat this journey, like the woven abaca that she brings back periodically from across the Pacific.
Molina doesn't just look to the past, she brings it to a boil, into the present. Cooking down the cochineal insects is a slow affair, requiring a careful balance of ingredients and a tolerance for mishaps. To climb that learning curve has been a central part of the artist's process: the difficulties involved mirror the obstacles we face when trying to untangle the past, to find one's roots. After achieving a successful batch, Molina dips her fabrics into the dye, which sometimes includes different additives in order to attain a variety of hues. Many of the resulting works are spare, placing a primary emphasis on texture and color, and encouraging the viewer to ask questions about the objects' material qualities. If revitalizing ancient processes is the artist's way of better understanding history and herself, then the works themselves look to transfer that curiosity to the viewer.
In addition to her hands-on exploration, Molina has undertaken more traditional academic research to chart the journey of the cochineal bug across history. In a talk at the 2010 Textile Society of America titled Symposium Tracing Cochineal Through the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum, conservator and scholar Elena Phipps and research scientist Nobuko Shibayama point out that "cochineal, along with gold and silver, was considered by the Spanish, after their arrival in the 16th century to the Americas, as one of the great treasures of the New World. [...] Heralding the age of global trade in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, cochineal was shipped throughout the world."
One route went from the Americas to Spain, continuing into Northern and Western Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. "Another route left from Acapulco, Mexico and Lima, Peru along the Pacific route with the Manila galleons —the fleets of Spanish ships—that travelled to the Philippines—and from there to Canton with the exchange of American silver and cochineal, for Asian silks and porcelains," explain Phipps and Shibayama.
This connection to the Philippines during the colonial era was an important discovery for Molina; it draws a direct line between the dye and her own heritage. Yet she knows better than to try and oversimplify a complex tale; she is interested in connecting the dots only to show that they are scattered across the map, that we are all caught in a seemingly infinite web. In Our Portrait, a found frame with the geometric patterning characteristic of Islamic art offers a subtle nod to the spread of Islam in the Philippine archipelago in the 1300s, before the Christianization that occurred under Spanish rule. It is yet another dot on the map, another detail in the patchwork that Molina is sewing together. To search for the elemental makeup of something is to break it down to its smallest parts, to turn something that appears whole into a constellation of
ingredients. Molina's work invites this kind of scrutiny—we can follow along the seams that connect different fabrics, notice the weave of the textiles, and differentiate between the various hues that have been absorbed by the fibers. The works, just like the artist behind them, are a multicultural mosaic, and they are here to remind us that no one is from a single place, that we have all traveled.
-- Noémie Jennifer
June 25, 2018
Infinitely Near: A Luca Bray Exhibit
Luca Bray cannot be contained. From his home in Brescia, Italy he travelled to Mexico and stayed there for six years without even a telephone to communicate with the outside world. Well, he survived another four years there, now with a phone. He then decided to move to New York and then to Australia. He is now in the Philippines after spending time in Shanghai and Cambodia.
Bray’s world as a young boy was a small village called Orzinuovi. He has since circled the world and his art has made it small, its nooks and corners “Infinitely Near.”
For his Philippine debut, Bray brought his oil on paper, wood and canvas of gestural abstracts of black and muted blue, orange and gray with calligraphic messages in charcoal and pencil. (I remember how my daughter Maningning has also used gestural strokes for her 44’ x 8’ landmark mural, “Soliloquy.”) His message is one though the forms and contents he presents vary in every country he exhibits – Spanish in Mexico, Chinese characters in Shanghai, and Filipino in the Philippines.
His paintings breathe zest and energy to life. Within him, he says, is an insatiable desire to wrest a universe within every fragment of his art. He tells a different story in every painting that he does. His favorite, a painting all in black, is entitled “I have no more space in the ocean, I will now try the sky.”
Bray found his calling when at age eleven, he painted a chicken using up all the paint in a tube. He decided right there and then that he would be an artist.
Four years of basic art from the B. Bembo Art Liceo in Cremona and another four years from Milan’s Brera Fine Arts Academy did not make him a figurative artist, even when he graduated with highest honors and learned the art of great artists like Klimt, Igor and Mondrian. He gravitated towards non-representational, avant garde painting reminiscent of the works of the irreverent Piero Manzoni who, like Bray, came from Soncino, Cremona, and whom he considers the greatest of artists.
Why abstract? “Because I can dream, I can make stories with my fantasy forever evolving.”
Here comes Bray’s passion, his joie de vivre, his mantra of living every second of his life in the here and now. And his art is a lot like him – whimsical, fragmentary, yet passionate and alive.
BRAY is a recipient of numerous awards. He was a finalist in the International Celeste Prize in New York in 2010 and Aesthetica Award in the United Kingdom in 2014. He was a guest artist at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai and an artist-in-residence at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
He has exhibited worldwide, including the 54th Venice Art Biennale. His works can be found in numerous public collections, including the Jumex Collection in Mexico City and Los Angeles, Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado Museum, the National Palace Museum, Sinaloa Modern Art Museum, Morelia Contemporary Art Museum, Amparo Museum and the Bancomer Cultural Foundation, all in Mexico, as well as Daniela Chappard Foundation in Venezuela, and the Government of Socino in Italy.
He has also works in private collections in France, Italy, Spain, San Salvador, Venezuela, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada as well as the cities of New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago in the United States.
--Alma Cruz Miclat
Author, Soul Searchers and Dreamers: Artists’ Profiles
President, Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc.
In New Refuge, Czar Kristoff unhesitatingly receives the audience with empty walls, and spurs them into treading their way around the space on cardboard boxes laid out flat almost swallowing the floor in its entirety. This is Land, an installation inspired by the photographs taken and collected by the artist through the years of motorcycles in the streets covered with karton. This gesture of covering with the intention to shelter and safeguard one’s belonging is derived from one’s own experience of shelter and safety - having a roof over the head, having a house, having a home.
In Land, Czar Kristoff reinterprets the idea of repurposing familiar and easily available utilitarian materials such as the karton to build makeshift shelters. Instead of mimicking the standard structure of a house, Kristoff plots a space that would allow one to move freely, depicting a place of refuge as more of a state of unrestricted movement and comfort in just being.
A space that enables one to just genuinely be allows definition and re-examination of one’s identity. This space can be anything from a physical to a representational entity that offers one reassurance to exercise selfhood. In New Refuge, a single edition publication, Kristoff archives testing papers he has gathered from a local school and office supply store. The papers contain scribbles, names of people; it holds traces of identity, imprints of people’s existences left hastily. Kristoff initiates a conversation with these imprints by continuously enlarging them, zooming in and focusing on the minute details for a more intimate view of a trace of self one has left behind.
By making a single edition publication, Kristoff limits the number of audience that could view the work at a given time, providing the audience an experience of an intimate interaction, simulating an introduction between two people - a private correspondence of sorts.
This exhibition is predominantly participatory. The artist creates an environment where the audience’s acknowledgement of a situation reinforces the idea being relayed. In Land, by being the ones sheltered, the work achieves its essence of being a shelter; In New Refuge, through contact with and being an eyewitness to one’s evidence of identity, that identity is recognized.
The participation of the audience in completing the true nature of a work is further utilized in Untitled, a five-minute looped track of elevator sounds superimposed with the live noise and chatter of the audience in the exhibition space. In this work, the past and the present coincide.
One of themes that have been recurring in Czar Kristoff’s works is impermanence. In this exhibition, the artist fully accepts this state and humbly submits to the limitations of the self, of being unable to control the past, and consequently takes refuge in the fact that there are innumerable things that can be done about the present.
New Refuge, although initially conceived as a prologue to the artist’s further delving into a personal and sociological exploration of the relationship between memory, identity, and space, have become in itself a very personal account of understanding one’s history, positively reacting to it by gravitating towards empathy, and rediscovering and relearning the personal meaning of shelter, of safety, of refuge, a meaning once obscured by the anxieties brought by being surrounded with ephemerality.
- Marionne Contreras
About the Artist
Czar Kristoff (b.1989) is an artist who works across photography, video, site-specific installation and independent publishing. His current practice is derived from his inquiries on function and memory.
His work has been exhibited locally at Vargas Museum, Ateneo Gallery, Underground Gallery, MO Space, Altro Mondo, Post Gallery, Blanc, West Gallery and Drawing Room Gallery, and internationally at Art Dubai, Danselhallerne Copenhagen, Geffen Contemporary Los Angeles, Riga Photomonth Festival Latvia, The Museum of Photography Seoul, Krakow Photomonth Festival Poland, Atelier de Koekoek Vienna and Fotobok Gothenburg. His series Configurations was a finalist at Riga Dummy Book Award Latvia in 2016 and was shortlisted in Ateneo Art Awards for Visual Art in 2017.
He lives and works in Laguna, Philippines.
The key to art lies in breaking its rules and redefining it. For centuries movements in art have been brought about by a reaction to the current norms of society and the realities of its present: from the painters of the Impressionist era trying to free themselves from the confines of Realism, to the Italian Neorealism’s gritty rebuttal to the films of classical Hollywood.
Annie Concepcion and Leny Leonor explore works that thrive on themes related to the practice of Hunting. Grotesque images of animals are presented: hauntingly beautiful situations where subjects become predators and/or preys. Relentless takes the task of investigating one’s ceaseless obsession to hunt: the need to force one’s strength over another, resulting in submission or death.
When the present address becomes too muddled with white noise and too many conflicting meanings—to the point that it loses all meaning—the best place to retreat to, is nowhere. Not within nor in between definite places, but an entirely new space where all the previous confines are Not Applicable.
If you were to sell your soul, how would you name your price? Would you condone the Devil’s haggling? Or sweeten your deal with a discount? If paid by credit card, are air miles earned? Will it come with a lifetime warranty? Does the government demand VAT on the sale of souls? What’s the policy on returns? And gift-wrapping… will that cost extra?