Just as we wondered how many more Kotillion ladies Jose Tence Ruiz can whip up from his imagination, he springs a major
surprise. A majestic, larger-than-life, three-dimensional version stands at the center of Art Informal, dominating Spectaculation: Only The Old Die Young, Bogie’s solo exhibit now on view at the gallery’s space in Greenhills.
Perhaps it was inevitable, given how closely identified these corsetted ladies have been to him. Sooner or later, Bogie, like Pygmalion, was bound to bring one to life— or as close to it as possible. Working with Danilo Ilag-ilag, who has collaborated with him on his sculptures before, Bogie fabricated Dama de Noche from resin. The voluminous skirts of his Kotillion ladies have always been painted as accumulations of objects that signify their personalites: slabs of meat, or cursive letters that form into words, or thickets of overgrown branches. This lady here goes back to the first Kotillion, from the 2008 TutoK show at the Ateneo Art Gallery, the original symbol of reveling in the midst of want, of excessive waste. Dama de Noche’s skirts look like a heap of garbage, a mishmash of industrial waste that Bogie has cast from original objects (a steering wheel, a motorcycle’s side mirrors, drainpipes). She has been constructed in 14 parts that come together like slices of an orange. Like a typical aristocrat, she is accompanied by a pet. She holds a leash that is attached to a fallen tree trunk (“A log instead of a dog”), the same trunk that fell on the Ruiz driveway during a recent typhoon.
A new batch of Kotillion paintings hang on the gallery’s walls. I thought the painted ladies paled in comparison; they faded into the background, seeming more like handmaidens to the lady we can view in the round. Dama de Noche belongs in a museum, to a public space where she can always hold court.
Spectaculation: Only The Old Die Young runs from 28 October to 22 November 2010 at Art Informal, 277 Connecticut St., East Greenhills, Mandaluyong City. Phone (632) 725-8518 or visit http://www.artinformal.com