Wednesday, May 20, 2009

COSTANTINO ZICARELLI ] This mind is a terrible thing to taste

COS-BY-TATONGPhotograph by Tatong Recheta Torres

Nothing in Costantino Zicarelli’s shy, unaffected demeanor would tell you he used to devour a plate of spaghetti with a masking taped mouth during his days as a performance artist. Nothing would hint at the dark, creepy subjects the guy tends to favor in his, uhm, less controversial work. In his last show, for example, held at Art Informal in Connecticut Street, the work most people huddle around in was his installation called “Like Rats, It Returns to Its True Form,” a glass encased image of a couple hundred plastic rats swarming on what looks like an abandoned old building. It was the only installation in a show composed mostly of paintings and framed postcard drawings, and it took the longest to finish. But true to form, the 25-year old artist only remembers that it was a pain in the ass to mount because of the scale, and that he had to run around Manila looking for materials.

cos-like-rats-it-returns-to-its-form"Like Rats, It Returns to Its Form"

Of course the work looks to be more complex than that, howelse to explain the presence of a five-foot long philosophical text in size 12 font by the entrance? The rest of the works continue the subject of death and destruction: postcard size watercolors of distinguished-looking dead men framed in wood and encased in glass, much like those one sees in musty academe hallways; a seemingly innocent portrait of birds by a lake (they are stuffed birds, Art Informal’s Tina Herrera, uhm, informs us); a huge fire scene which seem to almost singlehandedly heat up the airconditioned gallery (it’s that or the inebriated souls going around); and the unsettling coolness of a Hitler portrait with a British flag.

cos-the-great-dictator"The Great Dictator"

CosLIFELESS-ORDINARY-Taxidermies-birds"Lifeless Ordinary"

Most of the images are based on photographs. But while in the past he employed his father’s collection of images taken in Italy (where Cos lived for awhile), he explored the idea of the “still life” this time. “I find that most pictures that I take have subjects that have something really eerie but beautiful in it's own way. Because I mostly deal with destruction, death, personal experience and how most objects have another purpose in life. Like the painting of the taxidermies birds. I took this shot in a museum in Sydney. It was fascinating how this birds look so alive but they where all stuffed and dead to be forever inside a glass case.”

cos-for-the-love-that-we-admire-full"For The Love That We Admire"

Cos seemed like a fish out of water the entire night of the show, pressed to talk to collectors in his blue gingham shirt, welcoming friends, holding a bottle of San Miguel Pale perhaps to calm his hands, when all he wanted to do really was to talk to his girl in New York, the photographer Wawi Navarrozza who was there, virtually, at the opening—on the computer monitor, via Skype, watching her boyfriend’s party.

All images from the show "The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste" held last April at Art Informal, Connecticut Street, Greenhills.

No comments:

Post a Comment