Double Feature • Group Show

May 8 to Jun 3, 2013 • Video Room • Finale Art File 30th Anniversary Show

In Double Feature, two single-channel collaborative videos are presented by two pairs. Brother and sister Paulo Vinluan and Liv Vinluan tandem as San Juan Industria; Robert Langenegger and Redd Nacpil duo for their first joint video together. With their singular artistic identities so far primarily identified with painting and drawing, each double sees the joint project as an opportunity to explore matters and methods other than what they do as individual artists. These collaborative efforts, particularly when done consistently, produce a third identity between them.

The Vinluans have so named theirs San Juan Industria, after the meeting place of their parents. This is not their first exhibition as such, having already exhibited in August last year. Initially, the plan for the first collaboration had been a painting. Paulo noted, “We were curious to see where painting would lead us to given that our works are night and day from each other.” Yet, in the search for visual arrangements, they instead wound up making a video for their first foray, using stop motion animation inspired by the ouroboros snake, a snake which eventually consumes itself in a realization of the cyclic nature of life and death. Their next stop motion short, Fruit of the Doom, featured in this exhibition, likewise explores consumption and the cycle of existence, this time through a brightly colored spiked fruit which meets its match in a parasitic creature, which devours it from within. In these primary projects, San Juan Industria, at least through the moving image, seems intent on exploring the possibilities of storytelling. The narratives are particularly foreshadowed by ominous destinies, imparted paradoxically in a seemingly detached and acquiescent manner.

Robert and Redd, on the other hand, depart from the depraved and uncanny in their imagery to focus on the tricks of a lenticular print. A few snapshots are taken of different angles of the print; the subject in this instance is a waterfall gushing with elephants congregating beneath. The stills are then looped, mimicking the visual movement within the image when the picture is physically shifted to different angles. The video is simple, brusque, and non-narrative, a stop motion animation as well of sorts. In its minimal gesture, it exposes the cheap fascination for optics and the moving image as dispersed through kitsch. Called Ohne Titel (“untitled” in German), the work – in its instant gratification of a found commercial three-dimensional image – leaves out traces of the artists’ hands, a shrug perhaps against the commercial appeal that comes in the two-dimensional form of painting. The resistance to commercialism is unintentionally compounded by the video medium, which locally is still finding its professional footing in its sale and collection.

The videos in the exhibition present playful investigations on the prospects of the moving image in artistic practice, principally through the safety net of a shared authorship which, though needing compromise, allows for more risk, exploration and surprise. These joint ventures may possibly continue, whether in video, painting or other media, even extending and influencing their solo practice in the process. It may also explode or simply dissolve, each party taking what they may when the partnership runs its course. While working as a singular personage is usually the more comfortable route, Double Feature highlights the collaborative aspect of art, with the space for conjecture and discovery that another created artistic identity allows.

—Clarissa Chikiamco