Clouds and Wings, Alwin and Juliet

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mutya ng Pasig", one of the restored pianos

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mutya ng Pasig", one of his restored pianos

A friend of mine described it as an art lover’s show.   And with good reason.  Alwin Reamillo continues to channel his family’s involvement in local piano-making into art pieces, producing large and small wall-bound assemblages and three restored pianos.  Clouds and Wings is a two-person exhibit with Juliet Lea, and aside from both artists’ individual works, they also show collaborative pieces.

Installation of four large-scale wings

It’s the first time that I’ve seen Manila Contemporary mount an exhibit without a cast of thousands.  What a difference it makes when the space allows us viewers to enjoy an artist’s work in-depth.  Although I am familiar with Alwin’s piano projects, and I know that the Singapore Art Museum acquired one of his pianos for its collection, I have not actually seen any of them before.  Here he shows one grand piano inspired by Nicanor Abelardo, embellished with image transfers and found objects.  He treats  his wings in a similar vein, finishing these off with the gloss that you use on actual pianos.  The wings take their name from the shape of the grand piano’s awning.  He names four of the bigger ones after seasonal wind directions:  Amianan, Katimugan, Kanluran, Sirangan.

Alwin Reamillo, "Katimugan (Southern Wing)"

I suppose I can safely say that both artists work a lot with image transfers.  Although Juliet also exhibits a series of paintings on wood of mainly polka dot patterns.  These remind me a bit too much of Yayoi Kusama’s work.  I prefer her Cloud Books, charcoal cloud drawings on book paper.  And I thought she did really beautiful work for Garden Of Delights, where she put her image transfers on printed fabric.   Two other pieces on printed fabric  were done in collaboration with Alwin.  All these works on fabric spilled over with rich details that you won’t ever get tired of.  Well, I wouldn’t.

Juliet Lea, " Nevada Enewotok Atoll Bikini Atoll Johnston Island" and "Maralinga Malden Isand Christmas Island"

I missed the piano performance on opening night, but I did catch the random playing that ensued the rest of the evening. The tinkling of the keys, the free-flowing wine, and hors d’oeuvres from Cibo’s adjacent commissary—not a bad way to spend the early part of a Saturday evening.

Clouds and Wings runs from 19 June to 11 July 2010 at Manila Contemporary, Whitespace, 2314 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.  Phone (632) 844-7328 or visit

Alwin Reamillo, "Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano"

Portrait of Nicanor Abelardo on the grand piano's soundboard

Another detail, grand piano

Alwin Reamillo, "Cloud Piano"

Juliet Lea, "Cloud Painting"

Juliet Lea, "Garden of Delights"

Juliet Lea and Alwin Reamillo, "Humayo Ka Satanas, sapagkat ito ay nakasulat, Wala kang ibang sasambahin kundi ang Panginoon Mong Diyos at tanging Siya lamang ang iyong paglilinkuran"

Alwin Remillo and Juliet Lea, detail of "Humayo Kayo at Magparami"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mayon"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "R+J (Havana)"

Alwin Reamillo, "Palipad Padapo"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Palipad Padapo"

Alwin Reamillo, "Strung Back"

Alwin Reamillo, "Tutubi/Helicopter"

Taking a turn on the piano

A view of the exhibit


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