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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BLAME THE SAVAGES


It is not hard to disapprove when all around there are bomb threats, corruption, massacres, natural disasters or even sex scandals. The whole world has long been in a dire mess and so we have our advocacies, movements, forums to fuss about it. We humans, as we think ourselves to existence, are naturally critical about all things else.

In this era, wars are constantly waged by service providers, product suppliers and such. Their artilleries boast of glossy packaging, massive billboards, bright television commercials and fully-furnished stores. Everything is pleasing and machine-made at a dizzying pace to please greedy consumers. Failing to be blinded by all the sparkles, Francis Commeyne remembers where all these started. His Takataks are artworks that reject the highly materialistic world today and revive the old ways of simple trades on the streets. With this, he also taps on old traditions that are tarnished by new technology. The artworks remind very well of the Dada period of ready-made objects. Francis assembles them inside the takataks, much like box art, and creates unified meaning with multiple elements. The works rest on the thin line between art and life as he incorporates personal objects and ideas.

Raymond Carlos, on the other hand, dismisses tradition. His realistic paintings force the audiences to zero in on social issues that hamper themselves. His works are highly provocative and graphic, and lean much on real human problems. With his paintings, he decapitates what notion of taboo the society has. What we see here is pure human, no rights or wrongs. It is a self-indulgent approach to life. Upon seeing Raymond’s work, our very initial response is to recoil due to the boldness of his work. What the paintings aim for is to free the audience of that initial response, that moment of self-censorship, and see the world without expectations or limits.

With a pocket full of satire, shaggy-dog stories, puns, parody, mockery, sarcasm and a list of airy jokes, Mark Sanchez creates a series of collages on paper. Humor is seen as shallow and futile. However, taking a second look, we see that jokes are often an attack on social flaws we have as humans. Mark provides you that second look. He gives you a chance to become the analytical you you wanted to be. His paintings allow you to see the alternate paths you can take beyond the mere chortle, to an exploration of arbitrary connotations. Here we can see that language is broken apart.However, the simplicity of Manu Farol’s works let you expand into the complexities of meaning and also their arbitrary experience. In most cases, we are apt to defining artworks in comprehensible language. Manu emphasizes on the recognition of the experience rather than defining a complete understanding. We can contrast this with language’s limitation in defining perceptual experience (understanding is achieved through language). Art can exist out of language.

Catalina Africa plays with ideas like time and space. Out of these banal systems (ethics and rules that have been established way back in time, for example) we are dancing in, Catalina finds away to break away from the austerity of it all. Catalina uses photographs and video installation to capture her mischievous practices. At times, she photographs flowers to juggle the transient quality and the durability of a photo. Her video explores the structure of language. The video loop delineates the divide between irrationality and order.

Cian Dayrit’s figures are grotesque and bold, awkward in linear quality. They debunk all sense of morality that was painstakingly established by philosophers, prophets, rabbis, and scholars. The usage of ancient icons, symbols, signs and myths from Greece, Egypt and even from our local Bukidnon and manipulation of these sacred images, defiling them in their juxtaposition, had given the works their edge. He creates his own world of orgies and massacres.

Media is one of the greatest inventions of the preceding century. Thus rose celebrities, pop icons, and rock stars, all venerated by masses. These people have their lives dictated by the media; we all see them through television, magazines, and tabloids. We trustingly nod to every gossip and rumors there are -- too bad for those who are depreciated by the media. Eunice Lacaste’s defacement of her own paintings attempts to reprimand this kind of gullible acceptance of distorted information. In Eunice’s painting, the linear defacement are well-researched and in accordance to the underlying image as opposed to the misinformed and negative remarks of the tabloids. The artist channels this antagonism into a positive decoration of otherwise adverse portraits.

Blame the Savages is a group exhibition of seven artists questioning everything; our tradition, our lives, our system, ourselves. The artists here refuse to be ignorant and acceptant of the invasion of the media, the government, the big shot imports, the gods, the truth. All these sum up into a mixture of varied contemporary mediums, grounds, approaches, thinking talking back to age old earth.
The exhibit "Blame the Savages" runs from 15 December – 10 January 2010 at the NCCA Gallery located at G/F NCCA Building 633 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros Manila. For details please contact Ethel Buluran at (632) 5272192 or email

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