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Sunday, February 21, 2010

TUMBA-TUMBA


It is not surprising that the terms we use to denote elements of play are the same words we use for aesthetics. Balance, poise, tension, contrast, and variation come into mind. In this exhibition, the archaic imagery of the bul’ol, the cultural icon of our primeval past is used to recreate a feeling of spontaneity- another shared attribute of play and art. The post-modern bul’ol figure now detached from its role as a ritual accessory- is relieved of its soot-black serenity. Playful poses supplant the rigidity of the venerated icon, rendered in colors associated with fun and the contemporary.

Using Huizinga’s treatise on the play elements of culture, the artist threads the fine line between creating playthings and creating play elements. A collection of mobile inter-active sculptures scattered on the floor, iconic figureheads and a hagabi make up an installation that is distinct in its playfulness without losing the aura of an aesthetic space. Play is depicted as fun and agonistic at the same time: a “tight-rope” performance, a balancing act, an archaic ritual indispensable for real life. It is with regret that contemporary man has lost most of this ritual and sacred play, worn out with too much sophistication. Art as play, and not play as art, accomplishes itself outside and above the necessities and seriousness of everyday life.

In this sphere of sacred play, the child and the poet are at home with the savage. Subject matter is ordinary life, ordinary people doing ordinary things. Mothers playing with sons, fathers playing with daughters; expectant mother heavy with child, the neighborhood drunk heavy with his beer gut; people in toil, people in leisure. In this play area, the imperfect world and the confusion of life is rendered limited perfection, albeit temporary.

Between ritual and play, we grapple with the problem posed by non-initiates in their quest for what they view as authentic elements of culture. Rituals become performances for non-local audiences; art become mere trinkets for adornment- the finer nuances of play no longer a factor by which the society is civilized. Sacred play is forever lost in reflexivity due to continuous modifications brought about by social experiences with other societies.

Artinformal is at 277 Connecticut St. Greenhills East, Mandaluyong. For inquiries: Telefax 63(2) 7258518 or visit www.artinformal.com.

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SECRET FRESH GALLERY

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