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Saturday, September 5, 2009

KIDLAT DE GUIA : 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SHORT-LISTED


KIDLAT DE GUIA – “Sleeping White Elephants” at Galleria Duemila

The cityscape as genre serves the purpose of a survey or an overview, and pictures for us the vital aspects that make up an urban locality: population density, the establishments and infrastructure for trade and commerce, the sprawl of development and such.

De Guia as photographer is very equipped for this visioning, and with digital enhancements, he gives us clear and vivid images of Metro Manila with its skies and buildings. Here are images that tell us where we are and how we’ve progressed. Except that he turns his eye, and our attention, to what we largely know but would rather relegate to the recesses of forgetting.

The sleeping white elephants of this exhibit are the buildings left unfinished due to the downturns that struck the Asian economy and affected businesses in the Philippines way into the 2000’s. De Guia refers to these dormant structures to bring to light the more tragic condition of the constant dislocation of the urban poor. He devised an unfinished construction site, encasing his photos in concrete light boxes amidst raw hollow blocks and steel rebars. Punctuating this installation is a video of a demolition scene, registering the despair of people who have lost their homes.

Taken as a devise of argumentation, De Guia’s use of a direct juxtaposition raises a dilemma: both are examples of urban blight yet the resolution for one issue does not necessarily raise a direct impact on the other. The work is best appreciated within modes of ramification later on, but for now it remains as visceral constructs of urban commentary.


Notes by Karen Ocampo Flores


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