Martha Atienza, Anito, 2015. Single-channel HD video, 9 minute loop, audio. Courtesy of the artist and Silverlens Galleries.
Opening: December 7, 2017
Edouard Malingue Gallery
Sixth floor, 33 Des Voeux Road Central
T +852 2810 0317
Weaving notions of repetition and musicality, Choruses is a group exhibition presented by Silverlens, Manila at Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong as part of the two galleries’ ongoing collaborative exchange. Bringing together the work of Genevieve Chua (b. 1984, Singapore), Martha Atienza (b. 1981, Philippines), Maria Taniguchi (b. 1981, Philippines) and João Vasco Paiva (b. 1979, Portugal), the show moves between sculpture, video, painting and mixed media works, pointing to a melodic sense of cyclicality, both literally and more widely as an expression of how things develop and evolve.
Genevieve Chua creates mixed media works on an unfurling narrative informed by natural history and linguistics. Primarily working with abstraction, Chua’s pieces are contingent realities presented as installations, images, and objects. Chua’s “Ultrasound” series, for example, depicts aerial geological compositions on linen, which poetically seem to present a near nostalgic view of fluctuating earth. Referencing music more directly, her “Mnemonic Staccato” series is composed of several shaped canvases that have similar geographic abstractions on them, each jutting from the wall in serial alignment, punctuating space. Also on display are works from Chua’s “Swivel” series that appear as sculptural formations of sinuous and undulating geometric shapes. Resembling musical notes as seen across a score except in inverse monochrome white, there is a playful sense of ease in their contortions, an organic nature to their dance-like twists.
Moving towards the realm of video, Martha Atienza creates installations drawn from her Filipino and Dutch background. Interested in the precept of a “stranger” and how it emanates as a crevice between the operations of understanding and imagining, Atienza’s work is an ongoing series of an almost sociological nature that studies her direct environment. On display is Anito (2012), which documents a festival, the notion of repetition emerging in the fact these collective celebrations occur over and over again, the video being updated each time. Narrowing on the moving bodies, shifting in rhythm to the pulse of the street, a superimposed beat immerses the viewer into a trance-like state, leaving us as observers to this contemporary civilian ritual across ages.
Drawing an additional focus on the notion of alternate repetition are the “brick” paintings by Maria Taniguchi. Delicately rendered in near black monochrome, Taniguchi allows for a faint white outline of each tile, pointing to a composite of parts. Lightly resting on the floor against the gallery wall, they allude to a sense of scaling, individual yet collective realisations of a whole. Deliberate and precise, the surfaces are neither uniform nor static, altering in reflection according to one’s physical presence in relation to the work. A manner of creating an organised structure we may seem them as an analytic response to urban chaos bordering on the minimal and sculptural.
Building on notions of cyclicality, João Vasco Paiva considers via the urban the push and pull between construction and eventual dereliction. This conundrum is emphasised by Paiva’s casting of everyday objects from contemporary sneakers and life-size modular kitchens to the cardboard slabs domestic helpers use as ephemeral structures on Sundays. Using materials ranging from black lava rock to concrete, Paiva extends the ordinary’s temporality whilst highlighting the cycle of human action. Moreover, Paiva points to what we assign value to or more crucially do not, thus reflecting on the aesthetic properties of the ‘non’ and eventual contemporary ruin.
Ultimately, Choruses brings together artists from different disciplines and considerations to mount an aesthetic and conceptual enquiry of that which occurs and reoccurs, and what is to remain and be remembered, in a manner akin to that verse one repeatedly hears and hence recalls.