[caption id="attachment_42256" align="alignright" width="432"] Photo by Pinggot Zulueta[/caption]
There is a war between consciousness and nature, an epic war between the mind and the body, which has broken more men than any other battle. This is a war in which our minds, our so called rational thinking, lives for
in the past and anticipation for the future, while nature, yearns to experience the present. Our mind plans and remembers, our body eats, drinks and sleeps. This opposition has become the greatest plague in human history, a slow and deadly killer in which two sides of the coin attempt to separate themselves from each other. It is this opposition of the soul that JC Jacinto and Renz Baluyot undertake in “Versus.”
Marking their second two-man show to date, JC Jacinto and Renz Baluyot, in partnership with Art Galileia, present a truly invigorating show, an aesthetic collection that is unforgettable not only for its visual promise but also for being a philosophical, almost spiritual experience. Opened in October 17, 2013, “Versus,” is an observation of the clash between the past and the future. Through their paintings and installation pieces, Jacinto and Baluyot collaborate to present their ideas on the two opposite directions which we are constantly being pulled towards: these two opposing sides in the spectrum of time that defines the very present. Aside from contrasting the opposing ideas, they also compare them to one another, to see the related strengths they hold and their similarities. Their reflections culminate in one single collaborative piece that is representative not only of their partnership but also of the point in which the past and the future come together.
“This is a struggle that’s real for all people,” says JC Jacinto, who tackled the past with his works. “You are always restricted with the idea of the past and the future. Its either you become too contained in your emotions because of the fear and expectations of the future, or in your past there is a trauma because you’re trying to avoid something. Even I control every day and every moment to avoid what happened before.”
Renz Baluyot, designated to explore the future, also adds: “In our everyday life, we always look forward to the future. There are many possibilities in our mind that we want to commit. For example, we always get check-ups because we don’t want to get sick. Possibilities like that are always there. We do what we do because we’re trying to avoid something or attain something. So, our decisions are based on those possibilities.”
To embark upon the artistic, intellectual and emotional journey that such subject requires is difficult enough for one person, but to do so with a partner requires a certain finesse and humility. Two virtues that both artists have practiced for some time now. Their partnership is one forged in friendship. Both Fine Arts alumni of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, they have shared ideas since their college days, questioning, reflecting and refining each other as artists and as brothers. Like minds with unlike work that appreciate oddities and the overlooked. Despite their likeness of mind however, they remain as they are: individual artist on a personal mission.
JC Jacinto’s mission is to bring life through death. His thinking subscribes to the notion that life finds its meaning in death, like how a song is only beautiful because it ends. The finite quality in all things, and beings, is what he explores in his work as an artist, where he consistently studies this tension by being the creator and destroyer of his own works. Consumed as he is by creation, he cannot stop, and opts instead to go further by bringing it as close as he possibly can to the next best thing: destruction. He denies the concept of perfection, and challenges the idea of beauty. He mars his works, stripping, burning, and smearing it beyond recognition, to his satisfaction until it finds new life and new meaning. “In ‘Versus,’ my art-making process, not the subject matter, is a representation of how the mind can tamper with the memories of the past,” says Jacinto. “We take away, alter, and embellish our memories and the outcome is our natural state, influenced by every little thing that has been taken away or applied to our bodies and emotions.”
Renz Baluyot is more concerned with creating new possibilities. In his work and recent explorations with fabrics, through silk-screens, bleaching, and dyeing, he is fascinated by how each and every action creates new potential, akin to creating new steps as he goes up the stairs or opens doors by painting a new frame on an empty wall. His exploratory nature grants him a never-ending desire to see what else can be done, always asking, what new direction could one go? This dynamic characteristic of his works intrigues and captivates his audiences and makes his product an amusing surprise, even to himself. He shuffles his ideas, creating new combinations and fresh permutations that continue to branch out and bear fruits. “Future, for me this is enclosed in our everyday and us in it,” shares Renz. “It is in those simple things that we surround ourselves with. It is a product of the most basic of our decisions, the ones that matter though they may be too small to be considered as relevant puzzle pieces for the tomorrows that we dream of. A product that may seem as an end point but may also be a means to another, bigger end. We dream big and that’s common but our eyes can only grasp so much. This is what my series for ‘Versus’ focuses on: that these small, banal things are involuntary breaths, our vital steps forward.”
JC Jacinto and Renz Baluyot question time. Together, they have gone up against this mysterious giant which others cower in the face of. They have observed the Great Stream of Life, in its fluidity and ever changing nature, and asks you to reflect upon the struggle which we are all a part of: the struggle of the body versus the mind, the search for security versus insecurity, the search for permanence versus the reality of impermanence. Their aim is simple, to make viewers feel. For in feeling, one is most alive. “I just want them to feel something,” says Jacinto, “regardless of whether they like it, or they don’t like it. I want them to bring home something, whatever it may be, whether it is discomfort or sadness.”
“People will always see what they want to see,” adds Baluyot. “The important thing is that they look. That they take the time to experience the work, even for just a few seconds, it was not made to be just glanced through.”
Through their works which tackle the past and the future, and through it begs you and empowers you to define yourself as you are in the context of time.
Don’t miss this truly haunting exhibit. “Versus,” will be on display at Art Galileia, Bonifacio Global City, until November 14, 2013.