Who ships a boat from Kyoto to Manila? Gary Ross Pastrana.
You'd think he could just easily bring home a parasol or a waving gold cat for a souvenir but no, he wanted a boat. Well, not the Willie Revillame type of boat, because GRP (we'd like to see if calling an artist by his initials will catch on) is not the Willie Revillame type of guy. He's shy and quiet and as the works in his recent show Indivisibilis hint, he knows how to cut through the heart with a little more—no, with a ton more—sensitivity. Okay, that's it for the nonsense Willie comparison.
The thing is you walk into the sLab space from now up to the 9th of January and you could get your heart broken. It's a lot of things, really. First, it's THAT boat. Its being swept out of its cradling home and now lying on an unsympathetic cement floor. Its the artist transporting that boat. Its the journey its been through and what it meant: from Kyoto where it was cut into parts, put in boxes and then shipped to Korea for the Busan Biennale—to be dismantled again, put in boxes and sent here where the artist reunites with it, in pieces, so he could painstakingly reassemble the boat himself.
And its not just that boat.
Its those two gold rings. Borrowed from the artist's mother and brought to a goldsmith who was told to melt them and make a miniature sword. The sword was then used to cut a small incision on the artist's arm. The sword then returns to the goldsmith who is instructed to melt the gold again and attempt to recreate the two original rings.
Its the whole silliness of it--the sawing and the splitting into pieces only to be put back together. The sadness of that silliness. And also the loving dedication, the unstinting humility to each object's rebuilding. No matter that in every cutting and splitting, it sheds its flesh a little, possibly getting lighter each time, smaller even, never quite the same.
A waving cat would have been the easy Kyoto memento. But aren't souvenirs supposed to break your heart just a little?