24.11.2010 ˇV 04.01.2011
Curator: David CHAN
Artists: Bea CAMACHO | Maria TANIGUCHI
Osage Soho presents Pyramid, the first collaboration between Philippine artists Bea Camacho and Maria Taniguchi. The two artists, both originally from the Philippines, are now living and working in Boston and London respectively.
Inspired by the late French post-modern theorist Jean Baudrillardˇ¦s theory on simulation central for the 1990ˇ¦s discussion on aesthetics, Pyramid sheds light on how these artists negotiate with the weight of the content [the base of the pyramid] and the weightlessness of dematerialized information [the zenith of the pyramid], and explores whether we can still resurrect something spiritual and eternal with image making.
For Camacho, her works on paper extract actual pages taken from The Imaginary, a book written by the father of existentialism Jean Paul Sartre. This particular text by Sartre was chosen because it describes the nature of human consciousness and imagination. First published in 1940, Sartre argues that our association of an object is based solely on our own intention and has nothing to do with the object itself. Appropriating this logic, Camacho strips selected pages from the book and arranges the letters of each paragraph alphabetically. We see typesets of orderly letters in an orderly manner that have been inhibited from any textual meaning. By improvising this performative act, the text is duly transformed into images, and for our inability to determine whether they are parts or a whole, this leaves us with a sense of void free from any emotional nuances. Camacho claims: ˇ§I am interested in a personal narrative and the idea of memory, absence and loss that come from personal experience, but I try to veer away from an over-sentimental representation towards an analytical and perhaps scientific approach. I see it as rationalization of intangible complexities.ˇ¨
For Untitled Mirrors, Taniguchi uses spray paint to cover the paper that is painted in grey with sections of the paper concealed with predetermined rectangular shapes. This somewhat resembles the posters by Russian suprematist El Lissitzky. Shown as four sets of diptych, the artist upstages a visual tension between muted shapes versus a backdrop with white splashes of paint to draw the association of a universe composed of fragments and bytes. Taniguchi desires the artwork to be seen as an object instead of a two dimensional artwork. If we hold the mirrors towards the world, what we see are no longer objects, like in the film Matrix when Neo touches the mirror only to find out that he arrives at a threshold concealing another world altogether. The uncanny quality is what Taniguchi gets at. By exposing the process of dematerialization where everything is transitory, it leaves the audience at a conduit of total familiarity coupled with utmost strangeness, and meaning is not derived by what it is but by where it is going next.