A MAN WHO works in multiple mediums, artist Jinggoy Buensuceso demonstrates in his ongoing exhibition how he marries materials and methods.
In the exhibit called Distortions of Reality, the artist is both the narrator and the architect of his imagined universes, where he challenges our views on the birth of parallel universes and galaxies, our concepts of time, life, and God — all the while keeping his art pieces aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes.
Known to ditch the traditional canvas, Mr. Buensuceso instead uses molten aluminum, powdered black sand, charcoaled century-old mango wood, and handmade paper in his works while incorporating objects like his child’s Lego blocks, Gundam toys, and his own hair to add texture, character, and depth in his stories.
Distortions of Reality is a 17-piece solo exhibit which is on view at Galleria Duemila until Aug. 25.
In Our Time Folds, Unfolds, and Accelerates, the artist creates a black metal two-piece work that is made to resemble crumpled Origami paper. As explained by Johanna Labitoria, Galleria Duemila’s assistant art director during BusinessWorld’s visit to the exhibit, one must imagine God planning the universe — he draws on paper what the galaxies look like, but when he does not like what he’s made, he crumples the paper and throws it away to work on a new one. She explained that the artist feels that the scratch paper already has living organisms in it. Here, the landscapes of the galaxies are the results of the creation of a god whose capricious and finicky character gives birth to a universe that is bent and folded by his divine will.
If God has created multiple galaxies as a result of his unpredictable moods, in Ancient Cities of Children, the children are the master-creators of a bygone civilization. Mr. Buensuceso is fascinated with his son’s Legos, which he uses in the art work, said Ms. Labitoria. He noticed that after his son was done following the instructions on how to build a Lego model, he’d destroy his creation and proceed to create his own design, based from his own whims and imagination. The small art piece — 33 x 26 x 25.80 cm — is made of a century-old mango tree with a Lego sculpture resting beside it.
In two black metal canvases which he calls The Worlds Between Us series, Mr. Buensuceso lays out cloud-like formations. According to Labitoria, the clouds represent our beings: Where are they headed? If we parted the clouds, there are worlds beyond and farther than our eyes can see. What lies ahead? The clouds, and their different shapes and sizes, also resemble the cells in the body and how they evolve and renew. Another interpretation would see the cloud-figures as the cells are human beings drawn to each other, defining what humanity means.
“He has expanded imaginations,” Ms. Labitoria said of the artist.
A Fine Arts graduate from UP with major in Visual Communication, Mr. Buensuceso has held exhibits at Galleria Duemila before, namely Unfamiliar Landscapes in 2016, where he used black sand and powder-coated metal for his works of art, and Rebellion in 2014 where he highlighted burnt charcoal, cement, and graphite. He continues his use of powder-coated metal in his current exhibition. In Dystopian Future Overture, the artist creates a series of black, distorted metal reminiscent of thumbprints. The pieces of metal twist and turn, as if in a maze, and without concrete direction of where to go. The metal’s movements mirror the rise and fall, the destruction, construction, and evolution of our civilizations, said Ms. Labitoria of the artist’s explanation.
Mr. Buensuceso is also a sculptor and furniture designer who won the Mugna award — a recognition given to outstanding furniture designers and makers— three times. He is also a co-founder of Epoch, a group of Filipino furniture designers. He won the Outstanding Designer of the Year award by Wallpaper Magazine in Thailand in 2016, and last year he was hailed as one of the Rising Asian Talents at Maison et Objet Paris.
The centerpiece of his current exhibit is an installation called The Wound That Never Heals, The God That Never Dies. It is a sculpture of a man made of powder-coated molten aluminum, charcoaled century-old mango wood, and black sand. Here, the artist associated himself as a Christlike figure said Ms. Labitoria, but not for worship and of divinity, but one that is at the altar of tribulation. The sculpture looks like Jesus in crucifixion except that he is lying down and not hanging on a cross. The installation includes a little pump that must be plugged in so that water runs through the entire piece. Ms. Labitoria said that according to the artist, the water symbolizes God’s blood that flows from his body. The blood, or the water, gives life to the soil it reaches, nourishing it in return. The installation is about resurrection, catharsis, and the cycle of life.
Mr. Buensuceso, who sports a long hair that reaches below his waist which he keeps up in a bun, incorporated long strands of his hair in some of art works, including Silent Lucidity and Chaotic Dissonance. For the two pieces he afixed Gundam toys and hair onto handmade paper made with salago (a kind of shrub) and abaca fiber pulp. The artist, said Ms. Labitoria, believes that the juxtaposition of the organic and inorganic make up his own version of a universe. The universe is part of us, and vice versa. He believes that long hair is a metaphor for strength, like the Biblical figure of Samson. In indigenous beliefs, warriors also wear their hair long, so long that it touches the ground which is supposesd to help them “feel” if enemies are near.
Distortions of Reality may seem like a disparate showcase of mediums, methods, and materials, but novelty is the element that binds them together. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman