Rea de Guzman gave a presentation of her artistic journey on the last day of the exhibition “TL DREAMS” at the 'Tenderloin Museum' in San Francisco. Paola Loomis reflects here on her inspiring story.
'On the Roof: the place where dreams are woven'
During an artist’s lecture, both artists and community have the opportunity to engage in rich, revitalizing and insightful conversation. No matter if there is not a crowd waiting in line outside. Young devoted artists and their art can offer something that can be better savoured calmly. That is why we write about what made this exhibition and lecture so special for us.
The “TL DREAMS” exhibition, by Rea de Guzman, had its closing reception on Feb 23rd at Tenderloin Museum in San Francisco, with the artist’s lecture open to the community. With her warm and gentle voice Rea de Guzman brought us back into her life, telling us about the challenges and experiences of a new life unfolding when she arrived here from the Philippines at age 14. She showed her artistic development and her affectionate bonds to the Tenderloin, the neighbourhood where she lived for her first five years just after her arrival to America. Her teenage years.
Now, 16 years later, Rea recalled some touching memories of the times spent with friends on the roof of her apartment building, viewing the city from above at night, when she was only a teen ager and didn't have any idea that she would become an artist.
Up on the roof. Another perspective. A detached overview - that has many analogies with what we call visual art or imagination, as a different way to see reality - from where we can deal with the confusion of life, and soothe the harsh questions about belonging and identity.
After 16 years, the view is again different, just as it was when looking to the city below. The old dreams, the new perspectives and possibilities, looking back and re-imagining the past, they were all confronting each others in the Rea's exhibition and during her lecture. A complex panorama in which people, stories, and art found a balance and nurtured each others. A third position, a liminal space, where recognition, reciprocity and respect, as well as the acknowledgment of the hard work behind the artistic and personal development, found their place, as it was among friends on the Tenderloin roofs, where the dreams began to be woven.
It is not by chance that the last series of Rea de Guzman's works are using organza, chosen by the artist as the support of image transfers. It is a fabric that perfectly perform the enticing interplay of revealing and veiling of dreams. The veil and the transfer, the layered surfaces and the ephemeral lightness of the support, make us enter in “such stuff as dreams are made of”, elusive narratives that do not spare sufferings and invite to thoughtfulness.
Behind the choice of organza, there is Rea anthropological and historical research on “Maria Clara” mestiza dresses (see 'Fabric Fragments', and also her interview here). Her lecture showed how our structure of dreams and our imaginative tools can be strengthened in re-discovering and re-appropriating ancient techniques of weaving, such as that of using pineapple leaves, after scraping them to reveal the fibers.
The story about the “mestiza” dress is itself interwoven in the complexity of the colonialist impositions on the native people. As Rea de Guzman pointed out, today a more subtle and yet similar imposition is straightway directed to the skin of young Filipino women (only them?) who “want” to look whiter.
In a perspective in which visual art is a third dimension that helps us to see and understand the varieties and complexities of human cultures, art is indeed a vital tool, as well as dreams are. In a time when the strength of our dreams is belittled, the art practices that young artists choose for their projects, such as the processes of copies, replications, transfers, mutations, the rediscovering of old traditional techniques, studying quite forgotten native languages, and rethinking religious rituals and legends (all belonging to Rea's artistic engagement) are true sources of inspiration.
Greek artist Irene Pouliassi is part of an international artists group exhibition in London, opening today at the The Crypt Gallery. Congratulations Irene!
Dates: March 9th - March 12th, 2017
The Kokkalis Project: In the summer of 2016, a group of international contemporary artists worked alongside each other in the remote village of Psarades in North Western Greece. They brought with them their individual sensibilities and cultural backgrounds and, responding to the history and geography, created an eclectic mix of painting, sculpture, installation, photography and film. Set in the beautiful mountains around the Lakes of Prespes, where the borders of Greece, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia meet, this area has witnessed waves of migration, civil war and violence, leaving deep scars on the landscape and memory.
Congratulations to Indian artist Harsha Durugadda for winning the Rio Tinto Sculpture Award in West Australia!
Rio Tinto Sculpture Award 2017
Harsha Durugadda, a young artist who participated in the exhibition 'Translations - Kolkata' in February 2016, with his sculpture 'DYNAMO', has just won the prestigious Rio Tinto Sculpture Award of $50,000 and the permanent outdoor installation in the city of Busselton of his huge sculpture 'COLUMN OF SOUND', here photographed at Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Australia.
The AGRIshelter team and the students of Earth Service are going to present to the public their project of temporary, biodegradable housing for refugees, at the Urban Center in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan, Italy.
An evening of sonic and visual installations from underground artists, in Cape Town, South Africa. Many of the performances and installations are new collaborations between artists, as well as individual installation work that will be revealed for the first time.
Opening: Sunday, January 29th, 2017
Time: 7:30pm - 10:30pm
A window I. A partition. A voyeuristic interface between spaces. A civilizing constraint. Gazing. At the window, through the window, beyond the window. The voyeuristic gaze: preconditioned values, assumptions, desire. The civilizing gaze: conditioning values, assumptions, desire. Gazing. An act of memorializing (it suggests spectatorship, a fetishistic surveying; it suggests participation: in memory, in meaning-making).
A window II. A framing device. Commonly used in art and cinema. To exaggerate part or parts of a figure (forms, tones, shapes, shadows). To recompose an image. To slice up the world into smaller, more wieldy frames. To elicit metaphorical interpretation. (The audience is prompted to step into a world of windows.)
A window III. The window. A composing stratagem. (A perspectival arrangement.) A voyeuristic interface between artist and audience. An invitation to interact with the unknown, the unknowable, the known known. It is not a linear perspective of space, but a cutting up of, slicing into, carving through. (It suggests the existence of another, entirely otherworldly, place.)
"A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window."
Albanian artist Eros Dibra is participating in a group exhibition of artists from the city of Rozafa Castle – Shkoder, Albania, which will run until February 3rd in the Palace of Europe, Strasbourg, France.
'The Legend of a Castle'
Dates: January 10th – February 3rd, 2017
Opening: Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Legends and ballads exist everywhere. Sometimes they are very similar in many countries.
Castles play a big part in the whole heritage of legends. One can hardly find a country without a castle, a fortress, fortified walls or bunkers. All because of wars that organized the lives of cities and citizens for centuries. Now we look at the walls of castles and try to understand their history.
Legends help us to encounter these histories, and art symbolizes these encounters.
FONDACIONI KALO, an Albanian foundation that promotes art, exhibits artworks from the collection of GALERIAKALO to explore the existence of relationship between legends and art. The exhibition displays around 30 artworks, by artists from Shkoder, about the city of the castle about which this legend is told.
Greek artist Irene Pouliassi will be having a solo exhibition presenting the complexity of the mind and its corporal limits.
Dates: January 7th - Fenbruary 2nd, 2017
Opening: January 7th, 2017
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Η ανθρώπινη ψυχική κατάσταση περιορίζεται από την μορφή και την ύλη της σάρκας. Η φύση μας προβάλλεται σε ένα παράλληλο σύμπαν όπου το σώμα εξαϋλώνεται και μένει το ον. Το ότι γνωρίζουμε την ύπαρξη αυτού του παράλληλου σύμπαντος, δεν σημαίνει ότι ξέρουμε και τι είναι. Συνεπώς δημιουργούμε μια μυθοπλασία και ένα ανθρώπινο καθρέφτισμα του μυαλού μας.
Αρνούμαστε το γεγονός ότι η ύπαρξη μας βρίσκεται χαμένη και ορισμένη σε ένα σημείο “μέσα στην αδιάφορη απεραντοσύνη του σύμπαντος όπου βρέθηκε κατά τύχη”** και προβάλουμε την σάρκα μας ως ένα μορφικό όριο.
Από τη μονάδα στην ολότητα και από εκεί στο τοπίο, τα έργα παρουσιάζουν την ύλη να μπαίνει σε έναν φαύλο κύκλο τον οποίο η εγωκεντρική μας φύση αρνείται να δεχτεί. Λεπτές μορφές μεταμορφώνονται μέσα από τα όρια του ανθρώπινου νου και ο θεατής μένει με μια επιτάφιο, για την πραγματική υλική μας ουσία.
Ένα κομμάτι του πρότζεκτ Osteotopia ,ενός προσωπικού οπτικού αφηγηματικού μέσου με σκοπό να προτείνει καλλιτεχνικά την αποσύνθεση και την αφήγηση του χρόνου στο ανθρώπινο σώμα και την υλικότητα αυτού ως σύμβολα μιας υπαρξιακής ταυτότητας.
A solo exhibition stating that the human mental state is limited by the form and matter of our flesh. Our nature projected on a parallel universe where the body is being dematerialized and remains “the being”. Being aware of the existence of this parallel universe, does not imply that we know exactly what it really is. Thus creating a myth and a human reflection of our mind. We deny the fact that our own existence is lost and bound into a single point “ alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which one emerged only by chance”** and we project our flesh as a material limit. From unit to entirety and from this point to the landscape, Sarkothymia presents the matter entering a vicious circle in which our egocentric nature refuses to accept. Subtle forms are transformed within the limits of the human mind and the viewer is left with an epitaph of our actual physical substance. A narrative derived from Osteotopia, Irene’s Pouliassi personal visual narrative medium of expression that presents an artistic view to decay and the narration of time of the human body, as well as a symbol of an existential identity.
**”Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below; it is for him to choose" Davies, Paul (2010). The Eerie Silence. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.