(Like Mike: And Yet They Live Without Using Their Heads by Albert Sy)


Kilroy Was Here: A Dystopian Threat and Shock Value Meal

Blurring the lines between various subcultures and fine arts that these four upcoming artists wanted to channel their pursuit of what is like to be living in the real world with their street-smart disciplines in a hit or miss creativity to produce works that was bordering on the desolate, unsettling and morbid themes yet witty so as to be comprehensible with their visionary aesthetics assorted with juvenile statements. It’s amazing to note what goes on within these young minds from FEU Fine Arts that some of the most interesting, strange and disturbing images they had produced were contrivances with playful generics of lowbrow content injected with humdrum subjects and other sources aside from collecting kitschy gadgets and spooky toys intended for preliminary studies or as dummies.

The exhibition moniker Major Malfunction was lifted from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket but had nothing to do whatsoever to the intention of bringing to fore any definitive proclamation, but rather argot revelations about knee-jerk rebellion derivatives and attitude toward a dystopian transition. But when I queried about these suppositions, nowhere I can find such premises that will support any details about these excesses of discernment between ethos and death instinct, however not to literally track down spin-off rules of redefining any of the chaotic leftovers pertaining bad manners and Hollywood-stars-misbehaving-lately-demeanor but the idea of dysfunctional bureaucracy that prompted me to immerse myself more to these kids by hanging-out in their studio apartment in Frisco.

Alvin Capistrano is an all-embracing observer who does graffiti and obscured figures with dreadful landscape in unutterable backdrop. His works like “Dogma Eats Dogma” is a quaint yet ambidextrous with undomesticated plot of mating canines with death skulls and other hideous creatures hovering over the picture plane and tinged with subdued mossy green landscape which seems like latex painted graveyard scene. “C.C.C.P. (Crass Cultured Cocksucking People)” is an isolated portrait that was subsequently eliminated the factual identities by overlaying it with impasto gestural strokes with an apparent spray-painted silver acronym of Soviet Cyrillic words that reminds me of punk/techno bands. His works on papers according to him was “to device a metaphor in personification of the picture appearing like a cartoon shows but emerge as my own image-self of horror and hilarity”.

Vladimir Grutas is investigating some persisting religious icons from his hometown and injected satirical twists into his large-scale painting. Staying away from the conformities of social realism genre but he delves on this context with “The Truth of Salvation is Through Stomach” which deplore the traditional Dotok in Bicol. This is a raised, typically flat-topped structure made of anahaw/coconut leaves, bamboos, banana trunks that serve as an altarpiece. Grutas explained further of his detest of this sacrilegious hypocrisy because his townsfolk were much after of socializing, rumor mongering, and hackneyed fiesta ambience and not after the real meaning of the ceremonial act of Queen Elena’s search for the Holy Cross. This was done in almost subtle wine-red hue with grayish undertones that represent some significant details of the retablo itself. Another small triptych called “Transmitter, Receiver, Ginalpong” was laden with irony of auto-portraits with pictograms stemmed from Balinese witchcraft and sorcery and the induction that denotes the buffet which include the native ginalpong, that aside from spoken prayers from the article of faith surmises that we need to sacrifice in order to find perpetual salvation.

Albert Sy considered comics and horror/gore/sleazy films as early influences alongside with punk subculture and describe his new works as grotesque and taboo with a dose of humor. “Like Mike: And Yet They Live Without Using Their Heads” is a bizarre tale of Mike the Headless Chicken, who lived for eighteen months and became popular in sideshows and was, featured in Time and Life magazines. Inspired from the album cover design of Winston Smith lucid view of Dead Kennedy’s Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, the subjugated impish green background and the overlaying bloody thick paint on the texts and the bare slashed neck of the chicken somehow correlates. The message is direct which was interspersing of black humor which is discrepancy of a thinking man and an antithesis of Rodin’s oeuvre that put forth another noncommittal interlude that was entangled by the same concern with another larger panel called “Sit. Fetch. Play. Dead.”, also on the same degree of treatment in dexterity, this oil painting is depicted with a sanctuary or a place of worship in the middle foreground with thirteen craniums with fire atop each that seems to hover around and a Nicene Creed was also adjunct to the stigmata and dog that unfolds the master and servant principle that come forth to certain commune of believers.

Jj Zamoranos was also involved in the graffiti/street art and merged this practice to his recent works on canvas. He was once a crew of some well-known local legal “burners”, but decided to go back again in canvas and attributed his works to Esao Andrews, Mark Ryden, Jeff Sotto and Jeremy Fish. His works curiously titled ”The Feeding Program” and oftentimes his congealed images was done first by outlining these with burnt umber then finalized it with oil over acrylic paints. This repertoire of figures stays afloat in the center and intriguingly there were some tiny-wiggly-flesh-colored swarm of larvae in some of the characters head and the others are wearing headgears he sardonically called the “elites”. Other manifestations in the composition are being subordinated by the media, government and religion was coexisting and trapped in Zamorano’s secluded black book. Not to set aside his succeeding smaller work titled “Hiding in Plain Sight” which finalizes the execution of galloping slimy creatures in undaunted preoccupation about social negations.

Within these notions infused more or less hybridism in their paintings that their desires to learn more about existence that had to do with intonations of mischief, a bit of sinister, pun and parody to confront public criticisms weather in constructive or disapproving opinions that also matter their tools of the trade, painting techniques and thought-process. Articulating out their experiences of cultural and social marginality to address what contemporary living is supposed to be.

Major Malfunction induce the viewers into the border of dichotomies of struggles and obtaining idealism that oftentimes fail to operate as one’s vision consequently became an understatement not even to complement with the cliché of globalization, which dares us to look more into the side of the aborted and misshapen Utopian thinking less considered much of dysfunctional devises as seen on the fake advertisements regarding new world order.

Frederick Sausa


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