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The Observatory

  • Start

    20 November 2019
  • End

    05 January 2020
  • Artists

    Ginoe, Ronyel Compra
  • Gallery

    3F, The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 LP Leviste St., Salcedo village, Makati City, 1227, Philippines

In this exhibition, Ginoe and Ronyel Compra survey the gallery space as a place of observation in understanding contemporary contexts of history; and engage in the examination of truths based on collective and individual perception. Working with different series that separately operates to emphasize how images, objects, and materials become the representation of views and pronouncements, the artists meticulously arrange an ensemble that asserts to challenge the way we look at things, and how things placed in an environment such as the location of the exhibition could define activities far from its physical and perhaps, political scope.

Combining the visual language of Heraldry, Botany, and Portraiture, the images found in Ginoe’s “Birds of Paradise” series are commentaries against the predatory nature of colonialism and imperialism. Formidable illustrations of birds appear to overpower the faces of men and women in the mise en scène; scenarios that suggest how hundreds of years of colonial power have effaced our history and heritage. Meanwhile, the “Empire’s Eye” series is a literal depiction of how foreign forces meddle with our sovereignty posing as an observer through “soft imperialism”. Foreign interests from superpowers create economic and political conditions that leave the developing countries in invisible shackles. In “The Observatory”, the artist considers the site of the exhibition—at the center of the country’s elite business district, where the majority of backhand economic suppression happens and affects even the smallest of cities and towns. Here, Ginoe likens the imperial and colonial gaze to voyeurism—diminishing our  autonomy and privacy, from the outside looking in. Perhaps, the conclusion that those who take the time to observe are almost always the ones with the power and influence to destroy societies and people from afar.

Ronyel Compra’s “Loosening Overgrown Ground” re-evaluates the meanings attached to objects based on their characteristics and placements; and how when combined together can create a conflict with the way we see things. Here, heavy hand hoes are attached to soft textiles where markings and imprints made from acrylic rubbings are found. The different parts of the installation are strategically scattered throughout the gallery, which creates an impression that it could either be viewed as an individual or as a whole. “Loosening Overgrown Ground” also examines the context of the objects in relation to its surrounding space. Here, the imagined area that separates the art from the usual ordinary things is influenced mostly by the politics of perception. As with other matters in the world, everything can become valid when viewed from different angles, thus, creating conflicts and it is also when foundations start to lose their ground.

—Gwen Bautista, Curator

***We dedicate this exhibition in memory of Celnor Bucad (1978-2019) and Aloine Compra (1983-2019).