One could say that one has seen and experienced something for the first time when one will completely loses oneself to place or a moment. Riel Hilario’s “Perro Amoroso” x “It was a paradisical state: The body was allowed to be a body” completely caught me off guard when I saw his installation pieces scattered inside portion of Ateneo de Manila Art Gallery for the Art Awards 2012.
The first installation (Perro Amoroso) consists of a portrayal of a domesticated dog with a face of a woman, with other elements such as dismembered hand, a shoe, and another body which appears to be a headless canine. On his artist’s statement:
“Perro Amoroso is an attempt to portray a pet dog, if she were given a human persona (and a face). In this case, my objective was to explore the relationship of projection that exists between pet and owner, and between canine with its territory, then bring these to a symbolic expression of a portrait. In my presentation, the dog Frida becomes a being, almost human in sentience, who is watchful yet relaxed, assured of her place and her significance in the household.”
The second series of variable sized wooden sculptures entitled “It was a paradisical state: the body was allowed to be a body” coherently features odd looking hybrid creatures, with several bureaus which contain either a ball of dried grass or just left empty. A winged muse stands beside an almost leafless tree perched upon by birds with human faces. Perhaps it was a dream that took the artist to this premise or the snippet of dream molded and pieced together this idea for him to carve wooden sculptures which are both disarming and disorienting.
Getting the artist’s visual cues from the two creatures with written texts on their bellies: Locus Amoenus + Perdido Eden, Riel Hilario might be presenting a visual that expresses to oppose the ideal (place): Eden is the locale where Adam and Eve do not live within process of time and mortality, but here we feel that they are saying goodbye to it –with an urgency, like instant self-expulsion.
These images forwarded a particular position in these ever changing times, where traditional sculpture does not remain as it is. The idea of reality reflects reality is now submerged with subjective truth and personal interpretation. For that, it presents a new dimension of familiarizing of what is real and unreal, what is good and what is evil, bordering towards subconscious that originates from personal experiences, readings and historical exposure – ultimately giving us a different perspective as to how we could participate or react on these altered truths.
This is now a tell tale of three dimensional pieces dug out from our collective memories; hence it surfaces our association with our individual beliefs and values, provoking our own judgment, and calls for evaluation of this enigma. By doing so, this becomes an impetus of a hush hush discourse inside our heads or may well be deliberated with friends around a coffee table. On the whole, the piece itself does not demand a tug of war between opinions but rather urges us to stand and remain within the uncertain, which does not necessarily entail any sort of redemption.