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Arts & Culture

This Exhibit Shows How Something Bad Can Be Turned Into Something Good

From heartbreak to absent parents, these artists and designers translate their darkest memories into unique objects

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Photography: courtesy of Signum

We’ve all had bad memories. Our kneejerk reaction is to push those memories to the back of our heads and try to forget about them.

But these difficult and uncomfortable experiences are tackled in Signum’s first group exhibit “Memories,” where artists and designers tapped into their deepest, darkest memories and transformed them into highly personal objects.

Signum: Contemporary Objects was founded by interior designer Eric Paras of a11, industrial designer Stanley Ruiz, and arts organizer Stephanie Frondoso, and is an exhibit platform for objects created by artists, designers, architects, and other creatives. Eric and Stanley stress that unlike other galleries that feature the painted image or installations in their exhibits, Signum will focus purely on objects and each participant’s interpretation of a theme.

Their first exhibit features works by artists Juan Alcazaren, Kiko Escora, and Jinggoy Buensuceso, designers Gabriel Lichauco, Lilianna Manahan, and Wataru Sakuma, and architects from Jagnus Design Studio (their double-faced "Janus" can be seen in the main photo above right). Here are some of the other artists’ “memories”:

Heartbreak


Artist Ninel Constantino (whose house could be seen here) crumples an old Barong Tagalog into a soft sculpture of a coffee cup. The Barong Tagalog is rich with meaning, as it is the dress of choice at important occasions like weddings and funerals. “[This] is a contemplation of past relationships and conversations that started and ended over coffee.”

The uncertainty of everything


“Spring Swing” is industrial designer Lilianna Manahan’s take on vessels that illustrate “a record of personal memories with a seemingly hopeless and uncertain pattern, followed by a breakthrough that forms new memories and a renewed mind.”

READ: 5 Fantastic Pinay Designers

Life’s struggles


A whimsical stoneware house by Rita B. Gudiño, complete with gnawing openings and a bronchial tree represents “man’s need to be turned inside out, a reprieve from his struggles, to take in and take out, to release what life can offer back.”

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Fragility


What looks like a torn blouse is LA-based artist Cirilo Domine’s remake of a woman’s yellowing and crumbling camisa china that he handled in his last visit to Manila. “Like excavating a dwelling of memories that revealed an overwhelming fragility in its inevitable disintegration.”

The reminder of a loved one


Ged Merino’s “Memory Pillows” aren’t made out of memory foam, but from the thought of how difficult it is to let go. “Some people save things for a long time and then make them years after, or sometimes they are ready right away and let go within months of someone’s passing.”

A missing father


Noted designer Josef Crisanto had not seen his father since 1992. This father was also absent throughout Josef’s childhood, returning home at night only to take care of his fighting cocks and drink a neat glass of Chivas Regal. For Josef, this whiskey glass became a vessel for storage of memories, and was thus transformed into a marmorcast stool that looks like that upturned glass.

Check out “Memories” at a11, 2460 FB Harrison, Pasay City this weekend until November 11. There will be talks by various artists throughout Saturday (Boots Herrera, Juan Alcazaren, Leeroy New, and Ninel Constantino) and Sunday (Cirilo Domine, Gary-Ross Pastrana, and Rita B. Gudiño) from 3pm to 5pm. Visit Signum’s Facebook page or Instagram for updates.

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