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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

DYSTOPIA




RANDALF DILLA’S DYSTOPIA

Dystopia – derived from Ancient Greek words- means a”bad place”, or a”bleak landscape.” It is a vision which has degraded into a state of repression and lack of expression under the guise of goodness which is its opposite- Utopia. Dystopias embody the suppression of individual freedoms and self-expressions. It is characterized by a constant state of struggle if not violence. A person in Dystopia lives in a deep dark nightmare which he would rather abandon. It is a forlorn state where man often finds himself imprisoned.

In “Green Eye”, Randalf Dilla transports the viewer to Dystopia. The vision of Dystopia is seen thru the eyes of a person. Dilla’s composition challenges the viewer with its rich images and symbolisms which provoke profound thought. “Green Eye” is surely not the sugary vision of the Emerald City in the famous “Wizard of Oz.” In this work, the viewer is compelled to explore layers of details- contorted human figures, grim expressions in the faces of men showing destitution, pain and fear. A prolonged viewing on this masterpiece creates a vicarious experience of suffering, fear and anxiety. It stirs an urge to escape from such a horrible, complex state.

Dystopia – the repression of individual expression…

In “Brain Failure” Dilla paints a man crawling in agony as though resisting with all his strength strong forces that frames his thinking and his entire being. Only when he surrenders his fight to these forces would he succumb to a sad state of conformity and repressed silence- a state of lack of self-expression and freedom. In “Execution,” his treasured faculty of intellect is purged by fire. A similar theme of “human cleansing” is portrayed in “Melting and Burning.”

Dystopias often explore the theme of man’s genius going too far if not awry, of technology creating quasi-monsters and consequently, man individually and en masse abused by science...

The “Cryonics Patient” is the icon of man in the modern era. The person here is not a cadaver sustained by low temperature and other elements in the hope of being resuscitated by future miracles of technology. The cryonics patient is alive! He is connected and sustained by high technology, powered by gadgets but seemingly dead in his humanity, un-connected with persons and with life itself.

Science seems to have perfected the process of creating one’s alter ego in “Human Surrogation.” The surrogate is such a perfect copy of a person who consequently loses his identity and worst of all, his dignity. In viewing the other four works - “Genes” , “Robot”, “Retransformation” and “Superhuman” – the viewer will find each of these easy to relate with one another because of their common theme- of man and his nature being manipulated and abused by science today. In “Retransformation,” science has confused the sexes. Which is which? Unfortunately, the pursuit of new breakthrough in technology has often created monsters and has been accompanied with a perverse use of persons and their humanity.

Deliverance. One is always tempted to ask- What does the future bring? Is there hope? Will goodness and man triumph over Dystopia? The works masterfully crafted by Dilla leave an uncomfortable feeling and no easy answers. But man will surely not remain in this bleak state without his own choosing. In “Ritual to Modernity” the viewer may find a hint to this future which is expressed in a very subtle manner. Man in the end will reach out for his deliverance!

Dilla’s works show mastery of photo-realism technique and these are blended with profound and obscure themes. The theme of his works does not show common or pretty images of man. These are often textured with details and symbols which suggest subtle if not complex meanings. His compositions draw the viewer to look beyond the visual elements. Through his art, Dilla engages his viewers as in an intellectual dialogue. When asked about his inspiration for his works- he commented that he has a penchant for themes on man who is essayed in a different or complex dimension as in a dream. In this collection of works aptly called “Dystopia” this interest is strongly manifested. All eleven works in oil on canvas are imposing not because of their massive dimensions but due to the complex themes and images they show.

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