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Saturday, September 17, 2011

SLICE





Kidlat de Guia: The Accidental Artist

The conception of Kidlat de Guia's one-man show at Silverlens Gallery, "SLICE", was one of those moments when accident became destiny. On a whim, he drove to Scout Hill at Camp John Hay. What he found there was completely unexpected: a childhood haunt in its death throes. Wall to wall cottages covering the grassy field, the eviscerated remains of white clapboard structures in peeling green trim, the ice cream parlor transformed into a garage, debris carelessly strewn on the old tennis courts. Of all the recreational activities the locals and tourists of Baguio used to enjoy there, the only one that remained extant and functional was the mini-golf course. And Kidlat's knee-jerk reaction to the carnage was to start shooting the beloved space that seemed to have found itself caught "in the beginning of the end, and the end of the beginning". Through the lightboxes these photographs have become, Kidlat allows us a look into a slice of time that may well be gone in the blink of an eye.

What started as accident has become destiny.

The journey to becoming an artist has not been as clear-cut a path for Kidlat as some people would believe. The first of three sons to arrive in the lives of stained glass artist Katrin Müller and multi-awarded indie filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik was born with a Bolex in one hand and a still camera in the other, auspicious beginnings for any would-be artist. Instead, he took a long and winding path via Philippine Science High School, where he nurtured dreams of becoming an applied physicist (although he was still the student who always held an SLR camera instead of a point-and-shoot). A detour to a BS Biology course in UP Baguio ended seven-and-a-half years later when he finally earned a degree in Broadcast Communications at the College of Mass Communication at UP Diliman. It was a baby step closer to becoming the creative that he was, baby steps that fed his sleeping artist and allowed him to enter art through the back door.

Instead of espousing classical notions of beauty and balance in his works, Kidlat enjoys playing with and breaking down commonly accepted forms of the mediums he works with. As in a past exhibit, where he printed old black and white photographs on photographic paper that he first ripped into strips and wove into mats, showing the handmade quality of our memories. Or when he paid homage to Goya's "Saturn Devouring His Children" by projecting the demolition of a shanty-town onto a figure made of blocks of concrete, wearing the photographed face of a demon named Capitalist Greed. In his works, Kidlat constantly seeks his own balance, using his crafts of film and photography to perfect his expression.

His photographs and art installations echo his preference for documentary film rather than narrative. Instead of setting up a fictional world, he likes bringing our attention to what is already there. "There is so much life happening all around us. Yet we often don't pay attention because we are too busy or involved in our own lives, or too much in a hurry to look," says Kidlat. And so through his lens he makes us look at the overlooked and overgrown world that we are racing through.

Accident becomes destiny. Life does what it wants to, and we choose what we think of it as it unfolds. In the space between past and future, Kidlat reveals a world falling through the cracks, an endless gaze into a fleeting, forgotten present.

In conjunction with this event, there will be a related gallery event on September 24, Saturday, 3-5 pm at Silverlens. Details to follow.

SLICE by Kidlat de Guia opens September 01, Wednesday, 6-9pm simultaneously with Working in Progress curated by Adeline Ooi featuring Chati Coronel, Corinne De San Jose and Ryan Villamael at SLab and Water Windows by Jeanne Tan at 20SQUARE.

For inquiries, contact Silverlens Gallery at 2/F YMC Bldg. II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati, 816-0044, 0917-5874011, or manage@silverlensphoto.com. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 10am-7pm and Saturdays 1-6pm. www.silverlensphoto.com / slab.silverlensphoto.com
www.facebook.com/slgalleries

Words by Lissa Romero de Guia; Image: Kidlat de Guia, LOOKout, 2011

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