Over at our house, we love Apartment 1B. We get cravings for their pizzettas and truffle popcorn and Buffalo wings that make us head to Salcedo Village at a moment’s notice. That they make an effort to show good art adds to their appeal. A few months back, over the holidays, they reprised MM Yu’s photos from her show Waste Not Want Not, and I loved that I could enjoy her work again. This time, paired with glasses of wine consumed in the company of family and friends.
For three weeks now, the restaurant has played host to a joint exhibit by photographer At Maculangan and conceptual artist Katya Guerrero. The works are minimal and unobtrusive, just as they should be in a busy neighborhood haunt, but thought-provoking nonetheless. The type of works that slowly creep into your consciousness, get you curious enough to keep looking, eager to learn more.
Four pieces done mostly in shades of black, white, and gray, make up the whole show. I have to admit that I don’t exactly know how—or even if they do – relate to each other. They have been installed in distinct spaces within the restaurant, so it makes sense to think of them as independent from each other. Although I have a feeling that is not what the artists have intended.
Light-colored wooden replicas of handguns, revolvers, and small firearms hang on the ground floor’s main wall. Because they have been reproduced with such accuracy, I thought the guns deliver a sense of unease and menace, despite their obvious construction from wood. Halfway up the stairs to the second floor, At and Katya have installed a photograph printed on cloth of a rather ornate admonition to keep quiet, a sign that reads Silenzio. A video on the comings and goings that surround an airplane at bay plays on a continuous loop on the TV screen.
However, the work that I felt makes this show is the series of photographs that line one side of the second floor space. Each frame holds a pair of black and white Polaroids, just slightly larger than passport photos, of subjects posed in the manner of mug shots. These portraits evoke a sense of intrigue. Each one comes across as intimate and impersonal at the same time, if that makes sense.
Apparently, the exhibit will include related events, one of which is a portrait session scheduled the first week of April. That sounds exciting, a great way to get viewers involved in expanding this terrific piece.
Katya Guerrero and At Maculungan at Apartment 1B runs from 19 February to 10 April 2011 at Apartment 1B, 132 Leviste corner Sedeno Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City. Phone (632) 843-4075 or contact Art Cabinet Philippines at (0917) 872-0463