The gray walls of Art Informal got Christina Quisumbing Ramilo thinking about what she would do for this show. Ling wanted to create pieces that played with her viewers’ perceptions. She takes her exhibit title, Rashomon’s Dream, from the Rashomon Effect, an observation on the subjectivity of our impressions, on how each one of us can remember the same event in different ways.
Ling chose to work with silver and gray, adopting materials that would at first appear to blend with the gallery’s walls. One does not immediately realize that she has fabricated a good number of pieces. The monotony of her palette conveys a sense of sparseness. Or perhaps it’s that each piece does not appear to have a link to any of the other works on view. Like episodes in a dream, they appear disjointed. It took awhile to discern that her pieces came in pairs. Like Rashomon’s Effect, each concept comes in two versions.
My Night Has No Darkness is a chandelier put together from silver flashlights, the kind used by security guards who patrol Manila’s malls. Lightwell, a round mirror, stands directly below it, ready to catch reflections of light. Ling collaborated with artist Art Sanchez for this piece. Nightvision has been set at a nearby corner: four flashlights (similar to the ones in the chandelier) covered in termite dust inside a box full of gravel.
The show has two other notable pairings. Dreamtime and Fairy Tales (Stories My Mother Told Me) are both basketball hoops with nets made from strings of freshwater pearls. While Dreamtime’s ring has been constructed from rusted metal, Ling used chrome for Fairytales’. For this second piece, she extended the nylon strings used to thread the pearls, letting them trail down to the floor like a wizard’s beard, where their tendrils curl to meet a circular mirror.
Ling used two planks of wood to simulate the spines of a staircase. She then painted them gray for Don’t Be Afraid and Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. The first, with steps made of glass, recalls an admonishment given by the artist Pacita Abad several years ago to a group of Ling and her friends. The second is Ling’s tribute to her mother’s stories (the spine of a staircase is also called Madre), tales she did not pay attention to before. Now, these accounts can no longer be recaptured as her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease continues to progress.
In a separate room at the gallery’s upper floor, Ling mounts what she calls her exhibit within the exhibit. Under Your Blue Skies, a daybed put together from three door jambs, is more in keeping with her usual art practice of working with and carving wood. She uses the bed as some sort of altar, a receptacle of rose petals, at the foot of which she has arranged an assortment of white athletic socks stiffened with cement and paint. The socks hearken to footsteps, perhaps of pilgrims who go on their way after a brief respite.
Rashomon’s Dream runs from 26 November to 13 December at Art Informal, 277 Connecticut St., Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City. Phone (632) 725-8518 or visit http://www.artinformal.com