2nd NEAR Artist-in-Residence: Christopher Zamora

Introspection can never exist in a vacuum. The slightest twitching of the senses from outside stimuli is what inspires Christopher Zamora to believe so. His raw manipulation of light and dark on canvas bleeds power by exposing sharp realities that seem banal at first glance. Silip is emphatically shouting of dependence on the hypnosis by technology while Pasang-Krus presents the mirage of a Western “skaterboy” culture and the menial tasks unique to Filipino experiences. With them, the individual now becomes the extension of ideas beyond their explicit actions and opens an internal debate shying away from plain sight.

The contrition of the soul is manifest in the charade of the body in the piece Action and Reaction by demonstrating anguish after a torturous affair. This pain is a common compounding of the personal and social issues in play in every subject of Zamora’s work. Although in chaos, they are perfect images of the symphony of problems and escape harbored within the common individual.

They are indeed two-dimensional yet the depths of every stroke placed on these static contrivances convey a dare. They are challenges to examine and continually reexamine life without the trappings of norms built by stubborn beliefs and acceptances. Some may even have the arrogant conviction that they are staring at the images but the converse may also be true. These colors on textile gaze back like a mirror soaked with our own reflections to ask who we truly are as a people and as sentient persons. http://chzamora108.multiply.com (Art Staring Back by Lloyd Capilit Llaga)

Leslie de Chavez: Banana Republic

The gallery Avanthay Contemporary, Zurich proudly presents the work of the Philippine artist, Leslie de Chavez (*1978, Manila), in his solo exhibition entitled "Banana Republic".

"The state of the nation wasn't to be found in the words, it was to be found in the images." (Conrado de Quiros, columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30th July, 2008)

The Philippines proudly call itself a democratic country. The reality is in fact different. According to recent studies and surveys, the Philippines are one of the most corrupt countries in all of Asia. The World Bank estimates that over two billion US dollars go missing yearly due to corruption. And the corruption is growing incessantly year for year. Political murders, disappearances of people, offences against human rights, fraud, theft and violence are ever increasing. Seldom does the government take action to stop these offences. The president Gloria Macapal Arroyo has withstood two separate impeachment hearings, diverse corruption scandals and accusations of elections result manipulation. Corruption has reached such extraordinary proportions that many Philippines existences have been destroyed due to the continuing decay of the social and political situation there.

With this exhibit, "Banana Republic", artist Leslie de Chavez would like to raise awareness of these abuses that have occurred in his country. For Chavez the symbol of the banana in his title "Banana Republic" is significant. The symbol of the banana re-appears in an aggrandized or inflated state, indicative of the corruption it may represent. The dusk atmosphere in his images is evoked not only through his subject matter, but also through the color of his canvas; Chavez paints on black linen. His style evokes images of the German-American artist, graphic designer und Caricaturist George Grosz (1893-1959) who became known for his critical depiction of society in his paintings and drawings. Similar to Grosz, Chavez provokes and criticizes with and through his work. In his painting titled "The medium is the message", Chavez quotes Media Theorist Marshall McLuhan, author of the famous book with the same title, which Chavez read during his studies. "The medium is the message" stands for the symbols or the elements in his painting, such as for example fish bones, the basket with the bananas or the camera. These symbols represent attributes of a figure or of an image. The message of these symbols is, however, directed not only towards the figure it represents but also and most especially towards the viewer. www.avanthaycontemporary.com (- Simone Toellner, Avanthay Contemporary)

Landscape Architecture: Ji-sun Shin & Jin-suk Che

“ All kinds of buildings talk something in one way or another. Furthermore they talk about themes that can be classified easily. They talk about democracy, aristocracy, opening, haughtiness, illusion or threat, sympathy of the future or longing for the past ”
- The architecture of happiness , Alain de Botton

We are influenced by our circumstances. Thinking reversely, this space in which we are living is the reflection of our culture, thought, and our time. Familiar landscapes composed by the skyscrapers, high buildings, apartments, and roads connecting cities to the other cities are similar to the structure of modern society which is being networked.

Even in the 1990’s, buildings more than 16 floors could be prescribed as ultra high buildings in Korea, but nowadays the buildings over 35 floors can be classified ultra high ones. And what does the landscape of the cities going to the sky incessantly talk to us?

‘The Architecture Landscape’ is going to be held from 6th June to 30 June in ‘Art Space Plastic’ located in Jakjeon-dong, Incheon city. The exposition is going to be sponsored by Incheon Culture Fund and Jinyoung Plastic co. The artists are going to show us the reinterpreted works of the landscapes and histories of the old town and the new town from the point of artist’s view. These two artists are interpreting the same district very differently each other, and they are trying to show paintings, photos, drawings in carious shapes, and by doing so they also try to transform and extend the concepts of existing landscape.

Shin Jisun’s works take a starting point from a trivial observation of existing concrete places, or ordinary things. And the she takes out truly unawared stories by probing into daily life. We can divided spaces into two parts: a visible physical space, and communal or regional space that is invisible but really existing one. The familiar landscapes of modern society expressed in Shin’s works are restored toe the epistemological space from the physical one. The monotonous and deeply individual space of ‘apartment’ is transformed into the dynamic and organic space that is communicating with the universe. The collected brand logos of the apartments from Incheon area are reborned as collage works containing the new history if Kyesan-dong. And the series of drawings ‘the way of applicating roadside trees’ are works by reinterpreting the roadside trees arbitrarily. Also they present various ways of life co-relating with our physical surroundings.

Che Jinsuk is talking consistently the ambition to ‘successes’ by the image of ‘castle’. The European palaces of fables and cartoons of Disney Land are always exist with us as a wedding hall, villas, motels, grand marts as well as kindergarten, toy shop, playing ground. The alien architectures different from spaces of our modern cities are offering awkward landscapes, even though they are taking palaces deeply into our daily life and as a cultural landscape of this era. They are the obscure longing objects from our childhood and maybe the mirages of the ‘utopia’ dreamed by stereotyped and dreary modern society. The artist was seeking for messages of hope from the gorgeous images of the castles, and she is talking about the lust for success incessantly. She is trying to talk about the stories about plain wishes that can come true or not through installation and video, performances, and paintings.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: Ji-sun Shin and Jin-suk Che
June 6 to 30, 2008, Art Space Plastic
Incheon City, South Korea

POINT-BLANK: Carlo Acerden Gabuco

In this exhibit, Carlo Acerden Gabuco vicariously magnified in his paintings commonplace images depicting issues of power, everyday violence, misguided faith, juvenile pains and desires.

Likening his works to larger-than-life advertisements and tarpaulins, Gabuco expresses his view of everyday social ills in a grand scale as a counter propaganda while emulating their ordinariness to those gigantic images installed along highways and malls.

Point-blank is an unsettling and yet uncompromised presentation of what has become a seemingly “normal” realities accepted by many Filipinos. Instead of presenting the ideal, the good and the beautiful, Gabuco disconcertingly challenge the viewers to a “point-blank” questioning of the self and their position to issues surrounding us.

Born in Laguna, Philippines, in 1981, Carlo Gabuco studied fine arts major in painting at the Philippine Women’s University. He has joined a number of notable exhibitions since 2001 and was also a finalist in various art competitions including the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards 2007, the Metrobank Young Painter’s Annual 2002 and Nokia Art Competition in 2000. He was an artist-in-residence and art lecturer at the CASA San Miguel Foundation, Center for the Arts, in San Antonio, Zambales in 2007. At present, Carlo is the first artist-in-residence at the Project Space Pilipinas, an independent art-based project space for young emerging contemporary artists.

POINT-BLANK : Carlo Acerden Gabuco
April 24 to May 25, 2008
Pasilyo Vicente Manansala
Cultural Center of the Philippines