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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

THE VICTORIA


THE VICTORIA

Jet Pascua's The Victoria

“What kind of people would we have become if history were different?”

In Jet Pascua’s latest exhibition at Silverlens SLab 20SQUARE titled The Victoria, the artist proposes that same query by “sinking” the Victoria––the first ship, out of five, to successfully circumnavigate the world with Ferdinand Magellan as its commandeer. Pascua replicates the top of the historical Spanish carrack’s mast based on a detailed replica of the ship found in a museum in Sevilla, keeping as close to the original, and making it look as if it were under water. In doing so, he invites the viewer as well, to contemplate what type of people Filipinos would be if the Spaniards never came.

Evident in his works for the past couple of years, history, both personal and cultural, has played a significant role in the 42-year old’s artistic process, which aims to make sense of why we are what we are. The Victoria is no exception.

The second piece of Pascua’s exhibition presents a performance installation entitled Vanishing Horizon, a video instruction to prompt viewers to do the performance themselves. Inspired by Franz Fanon’s writings on colonization, specifically Fanon’s statement, “Violence is a man re-creating himself,” Vanishing Horizon may be strongly related to the idea of re-inventing oneself. “I see migration as the modern day colonization and this work is about the seemingly calm creation of a new experience and the violent erasure of the past,” Pascua shares.

Known for his masterful and detailed graphite and acrylic on wood pieces, Pascua’s two-piece mixed media installation presents a coherent idea that both deal with disappearances and possibly even reinvention. It would not be wrong to assume that both works strongly tackle the idea of history whether it be factual or metaphorical.

Citing painting, drawing, installation, and video as preferred mediums, Pascua nixes notions he may have about his art, “I don’t think I have any style. I prefer not to be labeled and identified with any particular style. I want to enjoy the freedom of being able to do what I want to do, when I want.” In fact, he would rather leave it up to the viewer to formulate their own interpretation and ideas about his pieces.

Inspired by events, different publications, and artworks by other artists, and appreciative of the works Doris Salcedo, Bill Viola, Francis Alyss, and Robert Rauschenberg to name a few, the Norway based Filipino artist also keeps busy by running a non-profit art space. The Victoria is Pascua’s second show in the Silverlens Galleries.

Words by Monica Barretto; Image: Jet Pascua, The Victoria, 2011 (detail)

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