The celebration continues at Tin-Aw with the second installment of their anniversary exhibit. I must say I enjoyed this show more
than the first. Perhaps it had to do with the combination of pieces. Perhaps the smaller number of artists included in this show made me appreciate each artist’s effort more. Perhaps the exhibit’s installation just felt easier to navigate. Perhaps it was all of the above!
Wikipedia defines a sound bite as the most important point of a message, its essence reduced to a few key words. In today’s world where we can follow events instantly as they unfold, we communicate in sound bites: through twitter, through SMS updates, through posts in Facebook. In this exhibit, Soundbyte, nine artists give us their take on media, communicating, or even their own sound bites of current headlines.
Has Pam Yan Santos ever put a foot wrong? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do work that falls below standard! With Sugar Coated, she departs from her usual paintings and puts together a whimsical, appealing installation of a tv set and sofa covered with her signature serigraphs. She fills the television screen with dozens of artificial flowers, majority of them out of sugar and food coloring that commercial bakeries use for birthday cakes. You get a cacophony of color, the same effect you would get from watching a particularly good series or an exciting sports event.
Kawayan de Guia’s mixed media piece, Zero, from his 2009 Beijing exhibit, Ice Cold Happiness, also deals with television. Plaster-cast tv sets feature news programs, cartoons, telenovelas, and sex and violence painted or pasted on their screens. To complete the Kawayan sound bite, he intersperses these with compartments of found objects. Alfredo Esquillo Jr. transforms the painted waves from his current Singapore show, Exodus, to give us a sound bite on the British Petroleum oil spill. Joy Mallari plays on the word hello, now no longer just a
greeting. We use it when we mean “don’t you get it?”
Christina Quisumbing Ramilo does literal depictions of politicians’ promises. With Itaga Mo Sa Bato, she has a machete jutting out menacingly from a boulder. While in Elementary, she embroiders “mark my word” onto fabric that looks surprisingly like lined pad paper. Leo Abaya, on the other hand, turns his viewers into lip readers. Try and make out what his subjects say in his video, Silent Talking Pictures.
As usual, the fun part in a Tin-aw opening comes from the personalities you get to chat with. This time, I had the good fortune to arrive early enough to catch Biboy Delotavo on one of his rare forays out of Antipolo. For those who know Biboy, you can just imagine the level of conversation we had about his art, and especially his take on what art means to the soul of nation.
Soundbyte runs from 16 July to 4 August 2010 at Tin-Aw Art Gallery, Upper GF, Somerset Olympia, Makati Ave. Phone (632) 892-7522 or visit http://www.tin-aw.com