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Friday, May 7, 2010

PLAY FACULTY


Artis Corpus Gallery and Sining Kamalig: an art gallery will present the second of a series of exhibitions at the Inner Room of Sining Kamalig, located at Level 4 of The Oasis, Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Quezon City. Entitled Play Faculty, the group show features the following artists currently studying at the University of the Philippines: Rinne Abrugena, Francis Commeyne, Raphael David, Paola Germar, Kim Oliveros, Louie Talents, and Leo Velasco. The theme of the show revolves around the idea of creating art through play. It is only the mind at play that can truly be creative. The process relies heavily on experimenting, making the act itself as part of the process of creating art. Artists should be left to move and function freely at their own time and pace. The show will open at 6pm on Tuesday 11 May 2010 and will run till 2 June. For further details, please contact 0920-9537426: Enrico Manlapaz, exhibition curator.





PLAY FACULTY

Exhibition Notes by Enrico J. L. Manlapaz, exhibition curator, 15 April 2010

The Universal Mind (widely known as God) gifted humans with wisdom. Wisdom has two aspects: logic and intuition. Effective decisions are made with wisdom resulting from a balanced mix of logic and intuition. The seat of wisdom is the brain, where most thinking is done and accomplished. The brain itself has two hemispheres, each containing its own faculty: logic and intuition.

Traditional academicians assigned the faculty of logic to the sciences and the faculty of intuition to the arts. That is why we have a separation of the arts from the sciences. They say scientists are lousy in intuition. They say artists are poor in logic. Well, that is what they say.

I have facilitated several organization development sessions for business, the arts, and other endeavors. In these very short engagements with groups of people, I realized that the only way to get them out of their status quo is to make them relax for a short while and begin to think wild. During the visioning exercises, I just tell them to imagine a state which they like, a state completely desirable to them. I ask them to put logic aside and forget about how to achieve their visions. It is the obsession with the how tos that deter the free mind from achieving what it wants.

The same happens with creativity. I remember looking at the works of Lanelle Abueva’s daughter in the early 1990s even before she entered day care center. Boy, they were wild, full of spontaneity, full of joy and enthusiasm. A year later, I visited and saw the usual rainbows, houses, school buildings, teacher, etc. on a “new” album. Creativity lost, mimicking gained.

In January 2010, I received a proposal from a group of UP Fine Arts students stating that they want to show works in my gallery with the concept revolving around the idea of play. With a title Zero Century Play Faculty, I subtly raised an eyebrow. [Uh-oh, another pseudo-intellectual exercise coming from UP, I said to myself.] They continued: “The exhibition aims to generate output from selected artists regarding their interpretation of the word play. We are approaching this concept from the perspective of the experimenting artist as a free thinking individual, incorporating the importance of play in either subject matter or technique.” Brilliant, I said, as Emmanuel Garibay’s words in November 2008 reverberated in my brain when he declaimed: “Students of art have forgotten that art making must, first and foremost, be play.”

There were over thirty artists listed then and I requested to reduce the number to my magic six. I would rather see a body of works by an artist, rather than just one piece. I also requested to truncate the title to the essence of the show: Play Faculty. They obliged.

In her exhibition rationale, Rinne Abrugena, seemingly the force behind this exhibition, quoted A. L. Kroeber: “All the discoveries and innovations of pure science and fine art – those intellectual and aesthetic pursuits which are carried on without reference to technology or utility – may be credited to functioning of the human play impulses. They are adult sublimations, onto a largely super-muscular level, of the sensorily exploratory and kinaesthetic activities that constitute play in children and mammals. They rest on the play impulse, which is connected with growth but is dissociated from preservation, comfort, or utility, and which in science and art is translated into the realm of imagination, abstraction, relations, and sensuous form.” Please forgive the old English, it was written in 1957 and must have been translated from some foreign language.

Let me continue with Rinne: “We live in a highly advanced industrial generation where the product, commercial or otherwise, stands as the ultimate measure of any endeavor. People, specially children, are expected to churn out empirical observations here and there, with an environment that has little effort in instilling in them a sense of playfulness necessary for both emotional and intellectual growth. This is why I chose to reinstate the role of one of the basic human impulses: play. This show is about the painter’s definition of artmaking, manifested in how the artist interprets the idea of play. It includes the process of experimenting, how the said act can also be an end in itself, and why everyone, specially the artist, needs to move and function uninterruptedly albeit the coherence and glamour of academic, commercial, and critical jargon.”

Three months later, the final seven artists emerged: Rinne Abrugena, Francis Commeyne, Raphael David, Paola Germar, Kim Oliveros, Louie Talents, and Leo Velasco… and here is their show. Only the mind at play can be truly creative.

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