until 14.11. | #0239ARTatBerlin | Arndt Berlin is presenting Alfredo Esquillo from October 27 2015, with the exhibition Transfigurations.
Alfredo Esquillo’s Filipino heritage informs much of his creative practice. Continuing a strong artistic tradition of social realism within the Philippines passed down by predecessors such as Andres Delotavo, Neil Doloricon, Jose Tence Ruiz, and Renato Habulan, Esquillo explores the political consciousness of his nation within a post-colonial paradigm.
Recognised for his technical prowess, evident in his masterfully crafted figurative realist paintings, Esquillo appropriates imagery from religious iconography, historical documentation and popular culture, in order to present insights into the lived Filipino experience. Predominantly, Esquillo projects individual perspectives, investigating notions of internal conflict, identity and the impacts of societal discord. Here, universal themes of mortality, existence, and faith are engaged in.
His solo exhibition at ARNDT Berlin is centred around the theme of transfiguration. In a suite of evocative new paintings, Esquillo investigates the transformation of the human body; from the corporeal, to the incarnated. Set upon ambiguous backdrops of clouds, his figures within his paintings inhabit a space between the earthly sphere and beyond, embodying a morphed state of being. A juxtaposition between the fine photorealistic brushwork depicting the human form is set against sinuous expressive gestural lines in the shape of vibrant confetti, streamers, and flames, exemplified in his two triptychs Attack of the killer confetti, (2015) and Man on fire, (2015). The flow if these decorative accessories is accentuated by Esquillo’s working medium—oil on ethylene vinyl acetate panels—that provides a smooth surface for the artist’s visual reveries.
The inclusion of iconography such as the essential element of fire and imagery alluding to the heavens associate notions of the divine and absolute unrestricted by scientific ontology or spatiotemporality. Esquillo’s piece Prey Catching Prey, (2015) further reiterates this “in-between space” through the deployment of a male figure defying gravity, floating, or perhaps tumbling, through space. In this way, Esquillo incites discourse concerning the existential, while conveying dual feelings of torment and euphoria.
The works within the exhibition Transfigurations evoke notions of the surreal and fantastic that are grounded by the inclusion of familiar artefacts from everyday life, thus contrasting the sublime with domestic life in the Philippines. In doing so, Esquillo captures the hybrid nature of Filipino culture while exploring the depths the human condition.
Alfredo Esquillo (b. 1972, Philippines) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines in 1993. His practice was recognized early in his career through his inclusion in the ASEAN Art Awards (Indonesia, 1995 and Thailand, 1996); the Philippine Art Awards (1996); and the national recognition of the Thirteen Artists Awards from the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (2000).
Esquillo’s work has been presented in international exhibitions that include: the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, USA; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan; and National Portrait Gallery Australia, Canberra, Australia. Esquillo has exhibited extensively throughout the Philippines in institutions such as: the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manila; Vargas Museum, Quezon City; and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City.
Vernissage: Saturday, October 24, 2015, 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition period: Tuesday, October 27 to – Saturday, November 14, 2015Zu Arndt Contemporary Art
Image caption: Alfredo Esquillo, Attack of the killer confetti, 2015, oil on ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) panel, 182,88 x 121,92 cm, each panel / 182,88 x 365,76 cm overal
ALFREDO ESQUILLO – ARNDT Berlin – Kunst in Berlin Art@Berlin