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Renz Baluyot, Alexander Lim, Jason Montinola, Nix Puno, Kaloy Sanchez 

2664km - 5 Filipino Contemporary Artists –

September 3rd (Sat) - 15th (Thu) 2016

Hours: 12:00-19:00, closed Sunday, Monday

Receprion:  September 3rd (Sat) 18:00-

YOD Gallery is pleased to present "2664km - 5 Filipino Contemporary Artists -," a group exhibition by 5 Filipino Artists for the first time. 

Each country has its own set of histories that have molded and continuously shape its current beliefs, value systems, and general identity as a society. How does a nation portray its collective identity when placed within the confines of another? When we traverse the distance to be in a destination all foreign and unfamiliar to us, what responses and environmental stimuli can we encounter, and how does it translate to our perception of the world around us?

2664km is a group exhibition in Japan consisting of works by five young Filipino contemporary artists. The title derives itself from the actual distance between the cities of Manila and Osaka. This exhibition attempts to investigate how the concept of distance and its relativity reveals the similarities and differences of two nations’ cultures, tradition, and art practices. This aims to serve as a platform for observation and interaction between two neighboring countries in hopes of linking the culture and traditions of both in a harmonious and creative way.

Albeit being both located in the Eastern Asia region, the Philippines and Japan do have a couple of well-defined differences. For one, the Philippines has always been strongly influenced by its past colonizers and other Asian neighbors, while Japan was left to its own devices sharing limited similarities with China, particularly their old language. The Filipinos built their identity by combining their own with their influencers’ and merging different cultures into a beautiful one that they can call their own. They celebrate feasts that were once unknown in their pre-colonial days, they were able to capture and imbibe new cultures and ways of living, started new traditions, and mixed all of these into a hodgepodge uniquely Pinoy. This act of owning another’s ethos and transforming them to be more apt to their customs became a common practice including in their art-making ever since the early 19th century.

This strong western influence in creating art is apparent with the works of Jason Montinola and Alexander Lim. The imageries and techniques these artists use have a strong resemblance with famous Italian paintings from the past but with a contemporary touch. This fascination to that certain kind of drama and figuration delivered through surreal and dream-like compositions bridges the distance between the familiar and the strange inviting the viewers to a constant state of curiosity. Using the classic medium of oil paint applied on canvas, they both offer us a representation of the anonymous that introduces its bare self to the viewers. Some of their works may be light and honest retelling of an old piece but at times they tend to bring the audience to a dim and grotesque sublime.

Representing the seemingly dark side of one’s subconscious and provoking them to enter our reality –this is an attribute shared by Kaloy Sanchez’s works but his employs a more specific approach. His works focuses on profound desires and unease we are so accustomed to when faced with haunting memories. The feelings emitted seemingly creeps to our consciousness as a slow and deep drone that may even generate more recollection of memories.

There is always a feeling of nostalgia when we look back at places we’ve been to and places we love. This longing and the melancholic familiarity that it brings are subjectively triggered by countless things around us, even in places and environments unknown. However, despite the gloom of remembering good old times in these places, we can also look at a fresh perspective that exposing oneself to a much different environment also lead to enriching encounters. Japan is an hour ahead of the Philippines. It may be small and unnoticeable a detail to some but to romantics such as artists, they mean so much more than a quick escape of breath. Time is always hand in hand with space –this is what science tells us. As with this show and the works of the artists in it, time plays a role of utmost importance. Time as a related concept of distance is where the works of Nix Puno and Renz Baluyot revolve around.

Besides being a visual artist, Nix Puno also is a practicing musician. He is at most times immersed in the world of the art and music scenes in the Philippines. With this exposure, a first-hand experience on the contemporary media and pop culture is natural and not surprisingly is evident in his works. These paintings are silent and still, a snapshot, a documentation of the constantly changing pop culture and media and how they relate to their earlier forms. His works also aim to be inquisitive with how moments can be transformed to portable forms in digital media, or pixels, “likes” and “shares” on internet, and how people respond to such changes.

Renz Baluyot, with his own visual language, tackle these changes brought by time. His works attempt to portray and inquire on how the environment reflects the intentions of people, their ways and conditions of living, and how the elements of contemporary urban society turns to rust and eventually returns to dust. The imagery and presence of urban decay, as common to all modernized cities, mirrors the cycle of living and death with that of its inhabitants. Decay is a marker of distances, of cultures and histories, of time and places. Decay, like its cousin death, is present and familiar with all of us.

Art in its own way is a creation brought to us by different entities. Artworks echo the culture and identity of the one who made them. It forms an interesting dialogue when works invite diverse perceptions to convene and examine similarities and differences between two nations. With this exhibition, art bridges the distance–like how it has always done since its history began. Please take this opportunity to view the works in person at YOD Gallery. 

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