September 14, 2009

AAA 2009: A tumor and an alien

As I promised last month when I posted a photo of the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards event, I visited the Ateneo Art Gallery where the short-listed pieces are on exhibit until September 19. There are three winners and these are what I will show in the next few days. Among the winners, two of the four art residencies were granted to one young artist, Jan Leeroy New (b. 1986), for his installation at the 2008 Singapore Biennale. Titled "Terratoma II: War of the Worlds," the large tumor-like growths and aliens were fastened onto the Singapore City Hall from September 11 to November 16, 2008. For the current exhibit, only one tumor and one alien were installed on an exterior corner of the Rizal Library, where the gallery is located, but it is still quite startling when one first notices it. And for those of you who, like me, are modern art-challenged, the gallery's notes on New's art installation is below. 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SERIES #1 OF 4

Terratoma II: War of the Worlds by Jan Leeroy New

New's Terratoma was exactly that, jutting out like an organic growth on top of Singapore's City Hall during the 2008 Singapore Biennale. To some habitués of this bustling city state, the humongous fiberglass tumor was a stranger sight than the alien figures surrounding it, emanating it seems from the saucer-shaped dome of the building. A shared language is at work here, an unquestioned memory shaped by science fiction and extra-terrestrial fascinations.

Such a figuration of aliens serve an expected prototype, but to this artist, aliens are part of his exploration of hybrid forms where deities and supernatural beings from various cultures meld into curious creatures that nonetheless retain the iconic pose and placements of their origins. The stance paradoxically reconnects us with its intrinsic narratives, the world of myths made tangible and explored anew through accessible industrial-grade materials.

Subject to the play of Biennale tastes and motives, the installation emitted an appealing universality; but further on, the challenge of fastening the work on top of a state edifice takes on enduring themes of justice, heroism and struggle. Science and fiction is a paradoxical mix, but as New opines, this is part of the human exercise of explaining the unexplainable. It is a mythology that continues to contemporary times, just as there will always be constructs to attain the unattainable.

22 comments:

Olivier said...

surprenante cette statue, j'aime beaucoup. j'attends la suite de la visite avec impatience

Surprisingly this statue, like a lot. I await the result of the visit forward

Vogon Poet said...

It wouldn't be that bad but, as most contemporary art, they seem to take it too much seriously.

Cezar and Léia said...

wow Hilda, you know a lot about how to explain art and your tendencies!Cool post!
Léia

Mo said...

Great art but a little too deep in meaning

hadv said...

Hahaha I have no idea what you just said BUT I like the sculpture. :D

James said...

I thought I'd seen it all. Wow this is one interesting work of art. I would have had a field day with my camera.

Lois said...

Very unusual and interesting!

Halcyon said...

Strange.

Frank said...

Strange, very strange creation, but interesting, too. It makes us stop, examine it and really think about its meaning. I know artists love to have us comment, debate and talk about their work.

Great post Hilda!

Boise Diva said...

I think it's meant to make us smile!

nino said...

i like the playfulness of this artist, especially how he alludes to the mythic figure of mebuyan -- the deity of many breasts who nurses the unborn children in the afterworld.

Ming the Merciless said...

What an interesting sculpture! Yes, the figure does look like an alien. But it has a pleasing feel to it.

Rob said...

Well, what a difference between this statue, and the ones you showed us yesterday!!! Not quite sure which one I like more...

Mirela said...

I thought you were joking when I read the alien and tumor part! :-D I'm not a huge fan of the modern art, but I don't miss exhibitions. I think I'd enjoy this one though :-)))

Don and Krise said...

I have to admit, I'm not too crazy about this one. I don't in any way claim to know much about modern art, I just know what is pleasing to my eye. Your post and explanation goes above and beyond expectations as usual though Hilda. Let's see what the next one brings.

arabesque said...

tee-hee, this can be too weird, too alienated but it can be a cute too in some way! ^-^

Jacob said...

Okay, I read your commentary. Now, I'm going back to college to try to figure it out! ;-)

Seriously, you do have great facility in the realm of words and ideas. But, I'm sorry to say I don't appreciate this example of "art," no matter how it's explained.

Finally, "science fiction" is simply fiction dressed in scientific clothing...it has nothing whatsoever to do with science.

An excellent photo, however, even though the subject boggles the mind.

Floral Friday said...

In the many deity's I have seen of all around the world. This one could only mean so many things. I could just imagine if this was not modern art and it was instead an archaeological dig item. I can only imagine a scientists explanation for this statue. Wonderful share!!!


Floral Friday

AB said...

A weird and fascinating alien.

Hilda said...

Lèia, Agnes, Jacob:
Hey, don't blame me! I didn't write the stuff — I just copied the notes provided by the gallery ;)

Nino:
Wow, thank you for the information about Mebuyan. First time I've heard of her. Sounds like a fascinating myth.

George said...

I must admit that I'm also 'modern art challenged', but I found this sculpture to be fascinating.

susieofarabia said...

It's just creepy looking!