Sunday, December 20, 2009

SATURDAY FUN MACHINE ] Eleven shows, seven spaces, one Sabado


I did a quick tour of the shows last Saturday and saw 11 shows in one day--with an opening right smack in the middle--can you believe it? Of course, you can. I began at the Drawing Room just to take pictures of Kawayan's show (I had seen it two Saturdays ago), and then made my way to Finale where Liv and M.M. are having their solo exhibitions at the Tall and Upstairs Gallery, respectively, and where there was a group show at the Video Room called Saturday Fun Machine. I took the jeep towards the other side of Pasong Tamo and snuck into Manila Contemporary where there was this Tutok SoENA going on, a group show with perhaps a hundred artists whose works were somehow discussing the state of Philippine education. I'm not a fan of themes, or a fan of "art for social change" but from among the plethora of works (arranged like there was some school art contest), we like Wesley Valenzuela's lightbox above.


Just a few steps away, there was the Silverlens group of galleries. There was a film showing of some Werner Herzog film at Slab in the same space where GRP's boat sits. Luis Lorenzana's googly-eyed people are sleepless at 20square, and over at the main space, Silverlens, is the Singapore International Photography Festival where, apart from the works by Vee Speers, we like the works of Luiz Gonzales Palma, an Argentinian who, through his cinematic photographs, reinterprets the myth of the Anunciation.



At the Saturday Fun Machine show, which I saw very quickly when it opened a few days back, my favorite is this piece by Eugene Jarque.


And my friends' favorite was Mariano Ching's (pyrograph and acrylic on wood).


And the coolest is Louie Cordero's video work of clips from unidentified Pinoy B movies in which he super-imposed Nardong Tae-style animation.

"Saturday Fun Machine was a run of cartoon and cartoon related shows on Saturday during the 80’s. This was the time before Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, Internet and DVD. This was a much awaited day for a generation of children as this was the only time that shows geared for this age group was shown the whole morning. Saturday was also the time to peruse our comics from Archie to Zuma and for a generation of youth that would grow up to be visual artists, it was a time to draw and dream. This exhibit features artists that grew up in that generation and the generations that came after it that were greatly influenced by comics and cartoons in their art making process." Or so says the show's accompanying text.

The night we were at Finale for the opening, somebody has brought up the Green Papaya show that opened the Saturday of the Syquia bloc party. We heard our friend Paul Mondok did quite a stunt. In the group show Serial Killers, his contribution was you might call an art-slash-prank: water leaked from the second floor of Green Papaya creating a puddle on the ground floor exhibit area, and threatening to soak some of the works on display. Paul punched a small hole on the wooden floor and put a pail of water that caused the dripping. Donna so loved the work she wanted to buy it. The idea as piece of art, I guess. But what of its resale value?


The evening I saw the show, there were musical performances. That's the No To Hangover! crowd that night outside Papaya, lit by Chabet's "Plan B," his contribution to the group show.


Clockwise from topmost left: works from Gail and Marija Vicente; MM Yu; Lani Maestro; and Ringo Bonoan. Maestro asks "What is the color of forgetting?;" and Ringgo framed the last pages of five or six novels.


Gary Ross Pastrana's old books; and a sign by the door. I'm not quite sure if that note is part of the show but it seemed like it was when, for awhile, a beautiful, smoky-eyed babe sat below it, slumped on the floor, her back to the wall, a San Miguel Pale in hand. She mostly kept to herself that night, her eyes transfixed at some place other than what was in front of her.


That Saturday we also show Reg Yuson's show at Mos, swung by the new space of Charlie Cojuangco called NOVA at the La Fuerza compound, and was even at the opening of a group show participated in by Popo San Pascual at Le Souffle. This should be the last art post for the year. I don't think there will be shows opening from now until January 1. Although Blanc might still spring a surprise. Hehe. I have no idea how many shows I went to this year. To be sure there was some pretty good work, and lots of the same-old-same-old, and lots of really cute stuff. We've made this observation before, about the popularity of cartoony images in contemporary art, this clearly contagious fascination for cute, and it is being echoed by the Vanity Fair essay on the "tsunami of cute" in its December 2009 issue--although its context is American popular culture. We like cute, with or without the irony. But we like to take our cute with a bit of edge. Just like the Christmas greeting above from Jason Oliveria, a candycane fashioned from a crowbar. 'Happy holidays,' it sweetly greets us, 'and keep your eye out for what just might break your back.'

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