Recent Works • Paulo Vinluan

Aug 25 to Sep 11, 2020 • Upstairs Gallery

Encountering the Object is an interesting critical essay on viewing strategies by art connoisseurs vis-à-vis art historians written by Karen Lang. It encourages us to evaluate our ways of viewing towards the humanist and reflexive. In her essay, she talked about the concept of “the lure of the object… part of what drives us to know the object, or ourselves, though ultimately we cannot.” She says that there is still a “point of uncertainty that lies at the heart of our endeavor.” The task is to work towards a conversance with the art object by “adopting the viewpoint of the ‘omniscient eye'” compelling “one to be subject and object of thought, to make that thought into an object on one’s reflection, and so on, ad infinitum.”

In experiencing the works created by Paulo Vinluan for this exhibition, the resistance to direct storytelling is his invitation for us to open up the interpretation regardless of attribution and be shaped by emotional resonance. Contemplation regardless of space is now necessary. It is solitude even. “I like to think of (these) objects as vessels of stories, much like bodies that have lives;” the artist wrote in our correspondence describing his interest in material objects and their social lives. Vinluan has a growing interest in how things are given value and how they give value to social relations. But even in his image-driven narration, there is an attempt to slow down the reading of his works by utilizing more layers, varying textures, and color – technical actions yet divulging at the same time.

The artist is instinctive and surrenders to the energy he is in when flowing into an exigent path. This sensitivity to the state of his creative being guides how he archives his interests made tangible by his works. The sequential approach comes from his fascination with animation, comics, folk tales, and mythologies and how these modes of visual chronicles supplement the retelling of his memories and experiences. His distinct bold graphic images come from a habit of collecting ephemera, which are mostly diagrams, vintage food packaging, and illustrations. The objects he then uses as communication tools bring about the meta-level of our viewing experience – there are stories beneath the entities that we see. This complexity in the process pushes art into the realm of being just conceptual or material things. They are our reflections. They are our bodies.

—Con Cabrera