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Fear suppresses our thoughts and actions. To the body, it evokes agitation and aversion, and to the mind, senselessness and futility. Its hold is uncontrollable--our reaction almost instinctive to the objects and thoughts of terror, accompanied by sweating, trembling, or a loss of control. For the mind and body, fear is the death of sanity.


Bembol dela Cruz (b. 1976) recognizes the universality of death in contemporary reality, amid and beyond the contexts of the pandemic era. By directly depicting images that signify people's fears, their weight becomes a controllable experience: masks as illusions, dry leaves as old age, and mortality as skull become uncovered from their symbolic dormancy. In exploring the concept of mind-body conditioning, body bags are installed meditatively, perhaps evoking an obsessive-compulsive reaction to both conceal and reveal the phobias that kill our saneness. Each shows a characteristic actuality: some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.


When one considers the natural existence of death, one might see fear as a companion that reveals what is dear to us: the fear of deception becomes an appreciation for sincerity, the fear of old age a celebration of youth, and the fear of mortality as determination to live a life well. Given our conditioned mental reactions and bodily sensations to the uncontrollable universal motions of life and death, an equanimous outlook might keep a person stable, sane. One learns to die by learning how to live: observe reality as it is--not the way you want it, but the way it is. (John Alexis Balaguer)



Awash in the language that dissolves the boundary between “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from…” that which is not spoken and is that action that is equivalent to “causing Change in conformity with Will” already approaching the identical by virtue of categorization and in the  haze of floating letters that surrounds the two names that produce these functions will one day be lost and yet will remain resplendent despite the middle being emptied out to affix only their initials with significance and maybe if and only if the association is reinforced by proximity or paradox or paroxysm or parallel lines that cut through dissimilar planes with one above and one below and another as what appears to be a reflection that hovers about without the weight of expectation or the illusion of distance from the source or from the body or from the lights that flash until there is an explosion that ruptures wakefulness and its connection to what is understood as a dream but perhaps all that is solid too will disentangle itself from itself to become steam or smoke only to solidify momentarily before revealing the fluid that runs through the structure and leaks through exit wounds and meet as multitudes elsewhere or as a song with a ceaseless rhythm that stutters and strobes and stops and unravels the territory that moves in accordance to the invisible and the indivisible and the limit of the possible which is no longer worth consideration as it has already happened yet nothing has changed except for the dimensions of what acquires its shape by first losing it down in the archives that have yet to formulate their structure yet already telegraph their own collapse as they conceal or convert or comprise what the outside is outside of.

(Itos Ledesma)


Never-Ending Joy

Davao-based artist Judelyn Villarta is no stranger to festivals in Mindanao. She has been an avid attendee since she was in high school finding joy in the general atmosphere brought about by people coming together to celebrate their culture through performances, costumes, and parades. Sparked by her desire to promote indigenous cultures in Mindanao, her fascination with festivals led to her graduate thesis on Kaamulan Festival in her hometown Bukidnon, her first solo exhibition. “A Glimpse of Bukidnon” in 2018 and now with “Never ending joy”.


A direct translation of the T'boli word helobuno, this exhibition is the artist's portrayal of the T'boli community's Helobung Festival which usually happens in the second week of November. Villarta paints their rich culture as seen in the T'nalak clothing worn by women and their musical instruments such as the two–stringed lute hegelung. She also draws a landscape to represent the joyous spirit of the festivities and to embody the rituals performed to offer gratitude for their bountiful harvest.


There is a great sense of detail sprawled across the canvases in the intricately drawn T'nalak patterns, mixed with scribbles of nature elements such as clouds and water lilies, rendered with a similar precision. The dominant colors echo the meaning imbibed in their textiles: red for courage and love, and black for soil that nurtures life.


From the smallest to the most apparent details, there is a never ending joy manifesting in both the appreciation and celebration of one's culture. (LK Rigor)




Comparable to the concept of a box within a box, Annie Cabigting’s latest exhibition at Finale Art File strips the gallery of its artifice and returns it to its original function as a warehouse, a temporary repository of goods. The installation is composed of a custom-made shipping container with sealed crates arranged in such a way that one is not sure whether they are in the process of being unloaded or loaded into the container. While it is given that they contain paintings, there is an intentional withholding of information on the crates’ labels, which normally would include photographs of their contents. In this case, there are only rough sketches to give a hint of the paintings inside. Furthermore, viewing of the work will be controlled and no photography will be allowed, even for promotional or documentation purposes for the duration of the exhibition. Similar to her previous wrapped paintings, the work proposes the idea of concealment as a form of abstraction and as a possible exhibitionary state. By shrouding them in mystery, she amplifies the viewers’ curiosity and desire to see the works. 


Done at a time when galleries and museums all over the world were mandated to close and exhibitions were canceled or put on hold due to the incessant lockdowns, the work offers a commentary on how art has been practically quarantined for the past two years. It also critiques a longstanding disease that has afflicted the art world even before the pandemic - the unscrupulous dealing of works, which has reduced art into mere commodities. As Annie observed, works are bought only to sit in crates in storage facilities and free ports, and often times traded without ever seeing the light of day. The only thing made visible in this process is how the art market is fundamentally irrational and flawed, entrapping artists who unfortunately have little or no control over how their works are consumed. In this exhibition, there is a clear attempt to resist and even possibly subvert the machinations of this ruthless system but like the paintings entombed in their crates, how it will all play out remains to be seen.  


Ringo Bunoan



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The Filipino word busisi translates to fastidiousness, while its adjective mabusisi means meticulous. In the arts and crafts, being mabusisi connotes attention to minute details. The fastidious task is normally done in the context of a lengthier time frame [in this case, 2 years of lockdowns]. 


Busisi characterizes Patis Pamintuan Tesoro’s approach to graphic arts and textile design. Italso articulates a unique Filipino sensibility that permeates her drawings, embroidered textiles, and fabric collages.



As a textile designer, Tesoro has worked with local weavers.  Much of her efforts have been centered in Kalibo, Aklan where piña is still woven today. She has also worked with the artisans of Lumban, Laguna to embroider piña cloth.  In the 1980s, Tesoro was at the forefront of the production of piña-seda [a textile that combines pineapple and silk threads] and piña-abaca[pineapple and abaca fibers]. She also admonished the use of natural dyes and the farming of plants that produce these pigments.  


After more than 30 years of an extremely demanding pace in the fashion business, Tesoro moved to the more rustic setting of Putol, Laguna. Life slowed down as it seemed. Here she cultivatedan environment, which reflected her philosophy of harmonious co-existence with nature.  Salvaged wood, vintage metalwork, assemblages of tiles, and interjections of folk crafts made up her habitat. “I don’t throw away anything,” Tesoro exclaimed, and she kept creating spaces out of these accumulations. 


This propensity for salvaging bits and pieces was evident in her assemblages from the shop’s precious retazos [remnants of textiles]. Over the last four years she designed tapestries that combined printed cloth, embroidered nipis [a generic term referring to fabrics made from fine fibers of abaca, pineapple, maguey, raw silk or a combination of these in the nineteenth century., as well as hand-dyed materials – Sandra Castro]. Unsatisfied with mere patchwork, she guidedher atelier in the application of various surface decoration. Beadwork and obsessive stitching introduced texture on an otherwise flat surface. They also layered new forms over the existing patterns.


In contrast to the flourishes of traditional embroidery on piña cloth, Tesoro’s compositions of the diaphanous material produced vivid geometric patterns. Pieces of natural, sepia, and black colored piña were combined to create checkerboard, argyle, and bricks – all reminiscent of 20thcentury pattern design. There were also references to the triangular linework of indigenous ikats. Running stitches traced the seam lines of the panels.  While emphasizing the graphic compositions, the needlework also imbued the works with a more personal stamp. 


A hand embroidered flower or fern occasionally emerged to disrupt the repetitive motif. 

The rogue patches certainly belonged to a bolt of embroidered piña. Was it for barong or a traje de mestiza created in Tesoro’s atelier? In any case, the tiny peculiarities contributed micro histories within the larger story of a tapestry. 



Each day, Tesoro get ups at dawn. Her desk is populated by various mugs of colored markers. Her workspace is equally packed with mementos, maritatas, and cuadros on the walls. She draws with discipline, filling in every centimeter with line and color.  She then posts anything of Putol on Instagram [a portion of the house, a blossoming tree, or a harvest] with the greeting “Good Morning Philippines.” 


On handmade paper, images of Philippine life begin to emerge. Costumed rural folk, forest animals, idyllic scenery, and a profusion of domestic flowers seem like fantasies from a distant reality. However, they merely reflect a real life in Putol. Tesoro inhabits this environment, as well as its barrage of color and pattern.  


Tesoro’s discipline as a textile designer is palpable in the articulation of petals and tendrils that bear a striking resemblance to the bordados of her dresses. Renderings of borders, baskets, and weaves also have a strong affinity to batik patterns and the graphic quality of other SoutheastAsian textiles. The elaborate borders may resemble lacework and other patterns found in folk crafts.  


Much like her works on cloth, images on paper teem with palamuti [decoration].  All leaves are variegated with contrasting colors. Faces, which were rendered in puffy clouds of flesh, aredecorated with tattoos. Subjects melt with elaborate, kaleidoscopic backgrounds. 



Tesoro’s textile and graphic arts are unabashed celebrations of ‘Pinoy baroque’ – often dismissed as horror vacui [In visual art, horror vacui, also referred to as kenophobia, is the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail. In physics, horror vacui reflects Aristotle's idea that "nature abhors an empty space.” – Wikipedia].


Layer upon layer of themes and pattern result in dense compositions, which mirror the exuberance of folk crafts. Images from indigenized Catholicism, folklore, horticulture, and domestic life converge in a joyous cacophony. They also offer a perspective that essentially runs contrary to the trends that dominate the contemporary art scene, particularly its affinity for the more tortured expressions, abstraction, and minimalism. They are also slices of a real lifestylethat she has carved out in Putol… unhurried, connected to the land and the Filipino soul. In Tesoro’s kabusisihan, it’s always a ‘good morning’ in the Philippines. 






Leaving a legacy is not about memorializing one’s achievements in stone or statue. There is an indelible force that seeks to be shared when one aspires to impart a story for the next generations. Raffy Napay (b. 1986) takes this principle as an artist and father in Mananahi by grounding in a reflective acknowledgment of the forces that created his artistic inclinations, and his storied thread and textile works.


Growing up with a seamstress mother, sewing not only was a livelihood, but a way of life-- the experience of weaving becoming deeply rooted into the artist’s creative process and values. In “Araw-araw na paghinga” Napay meticulously uses brightly colored threads with an expressionistic gesture, each stitch and pull on the canvas laden with personal, primal force. The effect seemingly forms young blades and grains of rice: the seedling as breath, an evocation of sustenance and new life. The act of weaving thread by thread and installing the murals altogether connote a layering of foundations similar to making home. Napay likewise sews scrap textiles together as floral blooms in “Makina ni Nanay” presenting alongside the works his mother’s sewing machine bestowed to him, as witness to the artist’s history and process.


The word mananahi invokes both mana, inheritance, and tahi, stitching-together. Napay’s works therefore are a continuation of the legacy gifted to him, and a recognition of his role now as father and provider. Thus, working with thread becomes akin to breathing-- with every natural breath preserving and bestowing life. After all, what we leave behind is more than a commemoration, it continues in the gratitude of those whose lives interweave with ours.


(John Alexis Balaguer)


It Takes a Village

It was almost twenty years ago when Elaine Navas first began to show a series of works called ‘grocery paintings.’ These were paintings of chickens—dead, packed, and dressed, or about to be cooked. These were images based on how they would appear in supermarkets and onto the kitchen table. And for poultry or even other livestock ingredients, these frozen images are the images that the new generation and populace have become more accustomed to; and probably their only glimpse to a creature’s previous existence before they would become part of someone’s nourishment.


Navas painted them before they were cooked. No other form of homage could have been more sufficient. And the way she drew and painted them, in bright and painstaking detail—no other showing of reverence could have been more committed to an image’s final form before their transformation, and before they completely disappear in this world. 


It is a way of making contact—to be one with it before finally making it part of oneself. And maybe to honor it, while drawing out the glory from its perceived mundanity as an unexceptional consumer good. And it is only through an artist such as Navas where we are given the chance to meditate on such interconnectedness:


“When you see a painting you made, you remember what was happening in your life at that point in time. When I made (those) grocery paintings, it was when our family was starting out with toddlers, young children, and I was learning how to cook.” 


For Navas, artistic practice is never detached from the personal. In It Takes A Village, she responds to another episode in memory, one that is more recent, one that is tied to the pandemic. She relays her own experience into these new drawings what she saw from good friend Manny De Castro’s farm, who was raising chickens and roosters at that time. When livestock and poultry become vital because of the instability that lockdowns and quarantine brought, the idea of sustenance extends from frozen goods to their actual farms, and in a way also extends the image of the ‘ready-made’ into its more variable and mutable origin—the living source. Whether farmbred or domestically taken care of, it extends also our idea of oneness with these creatures, and in Navas’s portrayal of them, she expands the idea of homage—not only to the creature’s more dignified state but also to the idea of self-sustenance and sustainability, while viewing these works as a continuation of Navas’s ‘grocery paintings.’


These drawn paintings, as Navas would like to refer to them, are made by applying oil bars on canvas. There is something about their achromatic portrayals and polyptych frames that evoke simplicity and purity—a kind of ‘matter-of-factly’ representation, where these creatures instead of being rendered for glorification are presented as modest beings—but not unremarkable. It may have something to do with their sketch-like appearances, which demonstrate an ephemeral quality. And in Navas’s attentive and fervent depiction of their bustling feathers, their resplendent crowns, marked by grittiness and their seemingly resolute gazes—we could sense a certain warmth within the bond that the artist has forged by drawing them. As if she has drawn them to honor their daring. 


And it is along this desire of paying tribute Navas has chosen to call her show and to name her paintings. With their titles corresponding to names of elder family members and mentors, she is an artist who knows that representation can be an implement to address matters beyond what is being represented—whether deeply personal, or deep in memory, or deep in the souls of creatures great and small: the artist knows that the cycle will never be complete without the community.




Zoe Policarpio’s works reflect on the life of memory. Flowing across an even distribution of paintings and drawings are undulating shapes that bend and distort, at times as though they were brawling, poised to break out of containment. Can they compare with a plume of smoke? Do they roil by some outside force, like water?

The paintings were made first. The shapes were inspired by studying snake behavior, how they curl up under duress, the images of which had been deliberately receded into abstraction as part of the artist’s attempt to convey different memories and present ideas coiling in on themselves. The drawings estimate and trace these gestures, trading paint for line. The series, as if in admonition, appears to decry that not all has to change; they can simply vanish over time. But memory, through variation and repetition, is displayed here to persevere. Conveyed in each work is a compressed, almost pressurized psychic landscape; as a series, perhaps more directly a network of synaptic relays, a demonstration of the mind reloading and starting up again — what was first engineered to be an exercise in replication became testaments instead to a life in rehearsal. 

The title Passage connotes a prolonged period of movement. The artist has named this exhibition as such to likewise comprehend fragments of the past, storing them under private classification for future use. As the paintings were made first and the drawings second, the collection also marks a deliberate shift in mediums for the artist’s practice in general, chiefly for the latter’s tactile nature. This marks a state of transit, a disposition toward deviation, encompassing the act of sifting and sorting through and ultimately leaving behind a fixation on the past.

(Elo Dinglasan)


(sometimes) i (get ideas) & (sometimes) they (get me)

they come without ceremony

grab & nag & tug at me

awaiting their turn

on my play & work table

as my candle on both ends burn


we’ve all been given

old medicine in new bottled

rather I dose myself & share

new medicine from an old bottle

what vessel is ever aware

of the potency of what it carries?


& where do these ideas exist?

only somewhere between

what’s abstract & concrete

with instinct & intuition

use elbow grease = completion


sometimes I get ideas &

time comes for their turn

on my work & play table

where sometimes they get me

claiming their individuality

as a light bulb burns brightly


The Fool

I am agitated by history, and my relationship with it is one that is made up of a rather bizarre mass of shame, contempt, pride and fascination. In examining my relationship with History, I could never tell if it is an old friend, the archenemy or the overbearing grandparent. Sometimes, I  find comfort in her and is motherly to me, and after supper we sit by the window while she brushes my hair.


It is in this confused sentiment where one can trace the roots of my preoccupation. In my body of work, History is recurring and reincarnating itself time and time again like a familiar ghost, one who seems to refuse to pass over unto the eternal hereafter. 


In this show I set out to paint panoramas and tondos in the tradition of classical landscape painting wherein scenes of idyllic atmosphere are disrupted by illogical weather, irrational compositions and historical actions.  Historically, in Tang dynasty China,  cultivated men receded into the natural world, seeking meaning and sanctuary in landscapes amidst the failure of human order. In this particular show, I seem to have a deliberate attempt to subtly sabotage the veneer of the picturesque and jolt the eye (and maybe the mind) from comfort and complacency.


As a painter (or artist), I am only one of the many which belong  to this line of work, a strange occupation where we are called upon to make sense of the Universe in the most abstract and impalpable of ways. 


Curiously, the more I ask, the more the question questions itself into a heap of inquiries—entangling  itself into a difficult knot. Untangling it is now tedious and useless. This knot is now perhaps a weave, one with no pattern and whose loom is controlled by an unforeseen, unfathomable almighty. 


Inhabitants of the West Piscary

“Inhabitants of the West Piscary” is a solo exhibition that presents the story of fisherfolks living in a tiny village near the coast. The artist being one of the locals in the fishing community exhibits the present-day rituals of those living with spears, paddles, and vessels.

The artist’s mastery in humoristic, surreal and vintage videogame-inspired rendition showcases barrio-story of resilience, hardwork, and hope as portrayed by the people.

“Inhabitants of the West Piscary” is a series of portraits—a pictorial representation of people enjoying the bountifulness of the sea. Each piece of work depicts and highlights the values of those struggling with survival. Fisherfolks savor the moments of having substantial catches, enjoying few drinks, taking siesta with their league, smoking cigar and staying up late with friend.

Richard Quebral’s Exhibit seeks to tell in an imaginative setting the meaning of life. And that is “to have a full life”.


 (Princess Neptalia R. Quebral)


Collecting Faults

The need to possess “objects of desire” is inherent in our human nature. We are driven to collect things for many reasons— to build something, seek happiness and pleasure, find comfort or learn something from. The things we gather not only add subjective meaning and value to our lives but also give clues to what shapes our identity and who we think we are.

Similarly, we gather and accumulate things within. We are vessels for memories, thoughts and emotions. More often than not, we tend to pile up feelings that consume us over time– fears, frustrations, anxieties and regrets.

In ND’s fourth solo exhibition, the artist brings to light her unhealthy obsession with “Collecting Faults” that she has amassed over the years. She draws on our collective primal fear of insects and its nature to carve intimate spaces in our own homes to mirror the slow infestation of unwanted or unsettling feelings that make their home in us. 

The process of repeatedly replicating the insect images parallels her continuous journey in understanding her experiences. Does this repetition help her make peace with her feelings or does it inflict more pain?

Does the cycle of repeatedly collecting faults alleviate or lead to a further downward spiral? 


(Danna Espinosa)


empty rituals

Empty Rituals is a series of sculptures that I made as a continuation of All You Holy Monks and Hermits from a recently concluded exhibition. These sculptures tackle how we process collective anxiety while we are in isolation during the current pandemic, and how the experience led me to explore my spirituality as a coping mechanism.


The sculpture series are made of concrete cubes with various cavities, originally intended as incense holders. It is an attempt at visualizing the abstract nature of rituals when cleaning spaces, and clearing of minds using smoke, as it goes through the concrete’s spatial cavities, and crevices. I see smoke as an evanescent element gently carving out terrains through time and persistence. 


All Like Hours

Deliberations over disorienting time tell a great deal about what remains consistent amidst constant change. Often, people attribute this to the judgement of the written word: how will history judge? For the moment, let us consider instead the individual’s capacity to let things pass or linger.

The works in ALL LIKE HOURS offer contemplations on the passage of time as a measure that presents itself as an act: remembering, recurring, resisting & being. Informed by research-oriented practices, this dialogue emphasises critical inspection over an acceptance of customs. And where aging time allows for perspective when it previously may have not. Here, arising after numerous conversations in preparation for this exhibition, what reverberates somehow is the artists’ narrative power intercutting through theoretical intersections.

The word “all” holds the burden that things must be absolutely universal. But I wish to dismantle this noun: this sense of “all” may as well be about a commitment to surrender whole energies and interests. It is not too difficult to imagine the vast landscapes offered in ALL LIKE HOURS as portals to be peered through. Providing viewers deep dives into conversations happening individually and an invitation to seeing it all at once.

Lyra Garcellano

Lyra Garcellano presents paintings that belong to her Philippine Carnival Queens series which navigate optics and distortion. Returning to photographs of 1900s Carnival Queens, popular pageantry during the American colonial period to promote relations between the two countries, Garcellano dissolves and dissects the images so only what shapes remain. Meticulously mined to explore ideas of the exotic, the tropics, and the foreign through various lenses of the 'grotesque', and acknowledging that these are representations of othering, Garcellano emphasises that “all contestants were judged according to metrics pre-set by a Western(ised) panel." Such race, gender, and class appraisals only cemented unfavourable forms of standardisations and gatekeeping. Ranging from vibrant to monochromatic, Garcellano references American pop and Spanish casta paintings to offer the twists and tensions of what was once (and still is) romanticised and marvelled.

Dominic Mangila

Posters and paintings that play with text and form from Filipino migrant DJ subculture are explored by Dominic Mangila. Sight and sound thoughtfully rendered through digital illustration and animation softwares visualising movement. The artist’s abstractions zoom in on posters for the San Francisco Bay Area DJ events in the 1990s. Identifying as an immigrant himself, Mangila brings forward a cathartic nostalgia clear and comparably far from contemporary design. And yet, an awareness of the resurgence, a revisitation, of the aesthetic of the early stages of the internet. Mangila depicts how poster design is almost always a response to if not a result of what is accessible and available technology.

Lee Paje

Pieces Lee Paje contributes to this exhibition are informed by a certain camp’s clarion call for citizens to come together and, in return, she asks: What are they asking of the people and for whom do they ask for? Owning the complications of queer, gender, and sexuality studies, the works continue the line of world-building and destabilising stereotypes. In this mode of inquiry, Paje lets the text speak, “I’d often hear off-handed comments targeting women and the LGBTQIA+ which intensified online. This makes clear the changing values that often lead to division, name-calling, sexism, and bigotry.” And so, in discussing the nuances of identities struggling under cultural sexism and misogyny, Paje assembles a space which blurs distinction between vision and visionary. If isolated, Paje seems to dialogue with herself in a suspended space between what is and what could be of a future that remains unforeseen.

Jo Tanierla

Jo Tanierla functions fiction as an anchor in historical activity specifically in the relations between the Philippines and its colonisers. It plots points drawn from extensive research echoing collective sensibilities that have deep implications in the present. A course of urgency, and in equal regard, practicality surfaces in Tanierla’s works: How to depict major mandates vis-a-vis the mundane memories? His practice operates in chapters navigated by a map yet to surface. Pieces here, he notes, are only the beginning, a way to set the scene, motivated by observations into daily necessities and, perhaps, even an acknowledgement of the absurdity that labor and luxury belong in anxieties that result in vastly different outcomes. Tanierla underlines that these are. “mostly isolated narratives for now” and so, perhaps, these works present promises to a nation-in-progress. A romance, if not a desire, that is still at the point of to wait and to be seen.

eyb ---


Hello, World!

“It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to." 

-Jean-Luc Godard


History has granted much favor to the minds behind great works and achievements of our times that often leaves the people behind the creation as mere footnotes.  The world sees the Socrates’s, the Steve Jobs’ or Jeff Koons’ as the great thinker, the innovator, or the creative while those who put the labor in their works as their transcribers, their engineers and their assistants. In the art world, the dawn of ready-mades have greatly underscored creativity as the idea that made the art work possible, demarcating labor from the vision of the work. 


Lec Cruz attempts to navigate this line on what we consider as “work” and “creativity” in his solo exhibition, Hello World!. Using keywords and minimal description, Cruz utilizes an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce and dictate how his works would look like from its color, composition and feel.   The collective sources and information gathered by the AI prompted the creation of random images for Cruz to work on, becoming a surrogate hand for the AI’s vision. This act leaves the a question to his audience on who created these works – is it the collective minds behind the images, or the hands that produced them? Their meaning, intent, or value as art works are yet to be deciphered by the viewers, democratizing the entirety of art making process with no single entity to own it and without a sole artist. 




Compiled Fragments

“No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that have their own associations” - Louis L’Amour

The human mind is often unreliable and full of inconsistencies. Recalling specific moments of significance may be an easy task, but one may think it wouldn’t be a stretch of imagination if I’d call it hard to remember every ordinary happenstance in one’s life. Some events are meant to be remembered, while some are be left to the ravages of time; forgotten and erased. The fickle character of human memory is a fascinating thing, sometimes we can’t help but often think about the truth of it all; to recollect a scene from my past so vividly, and in excruciating detail but forget what they ate at breakfast this morning. Unreliable as it may seem, memories we forget or ignore may be remembered by someone else as part of their own story. 

In fact, people may have a habit of staying quiet and observing events as they unfold, or on the contrary observing the uneventful happenings of life; the dullness of a still field of grass and the bustling, rowdy sounds of a busy road. These are realizations to enjoy the simple things in life where we do not look for it, and that these memories are not only our own but also of others. They are interwoven in the consciousness of other people and with their own interpretation and thoughts. This exhibit is to convey just that, to recollect these fleeting moments that were buried and hold them dear. Memories serve as a reminder for us to be better people, but also to look back on ourselves and how we’ve come so far. To hark back on these stories as simple as they may be. 

This exhibit Compiled Fragments aims to portray scenes of forgettable but serene moments in one’s psyche. It is a journey to the most basic of thoughts that our mind has lapsed upon, an exposure on the side thoughts and exposition to images that can stimulate someone’s mind but for some reason ought to not rile the imagination of another.


Monuments to the Next-to-Nothing

Without monuments, the landscape becomes an un-historical surface, unmarked and undisturbed by events. The articles that we construct become signs of lived times, as reflections and tributes to an exceptional turn in any circumstance or character—like in heroes, victories, and graves. These are the signs, so to speak, of one’s state after transformation.  In Juan Alcazaren’s return to Finale’s Tall Gallery, he revisits the idea of monuments, as a possible foil against the sway of our notions: instead of the fixed, emboldened, and overshadowing structures, he posits the likelihood of the meek, the mutable, and the ordinary. 


As a kind of return that have also undergone transformation—spurred by the precariousness brought by the pandemic, Alcazaren’s aesthetic is one that can be considered as a retelling of his own journey, one that is marked by isolation, introspection, and scarcity. The objects, which serve as monuments, are in themselves transformations that confront the idea of signs and symbols usually engineered to affect meaning like in towering structures. Here, they are instead presented as careful meditations that embrace a kind of organic accumulation.


The materials used are household, kitchen and industrial detritus; salvaged steel off-cuts from previous works or projects; salvaged parts from old disassembled artwork. Some pieces are painted with dripping enamel paint. Some pieces have text painted or etched on them. The resulting forms narrate the change in direction the artist had to take during the first hard days of lockdown, which compelled him to gravitate towards smaller works.

It is this change in disposition—this transformation—that is communicated through the works. One that embraces fate/faith and spiritual renewal where, “big plans went to die and small things made with love started sprouting through the cracks,” in Alcazaren’s own words. And as a bricoleur, he tries to put together things that are already in existence in new ways. Things that held old signs and meanings and that are now used for purposes they were originally not meant for.  

With these small objects situated low on the floor, the project calls for a kind of humility, of ‘taking a knee’ to view the work more closely. And in the context of monuments—of looking at edifices that make us measure their power against common virtues, this is where Alcazaren’s bricolage present a timely reflection: where meaning do not always come from a central, towering figure, eternal and immutable; but is something that can be drawn from the modest, the provisional, and the shifting and new ways in which we put things together. 

(Cocoy Lumbao)


Dear _______,



The whirring of a car.

The noble weight of falling leaves.

Sweet, a sunny day and puffy clouds.

Tempts me to indulge in cotton candy.


Unlocked gateways; abandoned buildings.

However, disheveled hair is empty.

Distortion in shape, but not disturbed.

This area is expected to be used.


The existence of things in a specific location.

Demonstrates your significance.

Never forget; always think back.

The setting and status may change or remain unchanged.


Difficult to communicate in the right way?

To make it known or to give the phrases some air.

On the tip of my tongue, what word? Nothing at all, no. 

Who will be yearning for you if you are accepted but never rejected?


It's normal to overlook and take advantage of its absence.


Its removal was a blessing to know that you existed…



Paulo Vinluan wants to tell two stories: an Aesop fable on one canvas and a Greek myth on three spheres. Fabricated within A Fabled Still Life is “The Crow and the Pitcher, while the Objects for Sisyphus, the titular character. There’s also a hidden narrative weaved within — personal memories — making each artwork a diary in disguise.