Monday, December 14, 2009

JUKEBOX HIT ] Don't think twice, it's alright

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, mixed media on digital print on canvas, 194x153cm., 2009

KAWAYAN DE GUIA echoes the work he presented earlier this year as one of CCP’s 13 Artists Awardees with Katas ng Jeepney, fusing the iconic homegrown vehicle with the near-extinct beer garden fixture, the jukebox. It’s a pity the show ended last weekend at the Drawing Room because y’all had to be there to feel its trippy energy and ‘70s rock & roll bravado. Unless the works pictured here are enough to turn you on.

Lilindol Muna Bago Puputok, mixed media, 2009; Alaskado, mixed media on digital print on canvas, 194x143cm, 2009

From Padma Perez’s notes on the show, we learn that Kawayan found out about a number of decaying jukeboxes from a group of Baguio woodcarvers. These men, whose first job in the summer capital (they had come from Ifugao) is to collect the coins from these jukeboxes and deliver them to a certain Mr. Takay, the city’s Jukebox Kingpin, led the artist to Takay’s son. In the ‘90s, when karaoke began to take the rarefied spot of jukeboxes among the local joints, the latter joined the sing-along bandwagon and retired his father’s beloved kitschy music machines.

UFO Alien Jeepney, mixed media, 2009; and detail

Having acquired six jukeboxes, the next step for Kawayan now is to find someone who could possibly bring his new babies back to life. Asking around led the artist to one Roger Berdun, a jukebox repairman in Angeles, Pampanga. Berdun made the trip to Baguio, and like a trained surgeon, knew at once what would revive the machines. For days, the guy worked on cleaning, dismantling and rebuilding the machines. Five out of the six were successfully granted their new leases on life, and eventually found their ways to Jun Villalon’s Drawing Room. Not before Kawayan, of course, tinkered with the design, painted on them, layered it with pastiches of Pinoy-born and American-bred nostalgia—and really made them his own.

Lilindol Muna Bago Puputok, mixed media on digital print on canvas, 191x139, 2009; The True Nature of Things, detail, mixed media on digital print on canvas, 194x153cm, 2009

State of the Nation, mixed media on digital print on canvas, 191x139cms, 2009; Rock n Roll, mixed media with neon, 2009.

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