MANILA ANIMAL, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 152.5 X 125 CM. 2008
Kiko Escora’s subjects stand very near to the surface of each picture – as in a close-up camera shot. Severe-looking, quietly dignified and standoffish, they are all confidently attired in the latest fashion. Brash surfaces of modernity pose as the new iconography. These charcoals on paper, however, cannot really be called exact portraits as they teach us little about their individual personalities and histories. Escora has chosen to paint his subjects as they turn away; their faces are concealed in one way or another. Instead, he has concentrated on their gestures and poses. All together, there is almost a sense of complicity among them, as they idly gaze through or away from the viewer. Charged with an unnerving energy, Escora’s characters suggest remoteness from the viewer. Their stance is so consuming that the viewer could be left with a desire to unlock the mystery of the subject’s identity. What all of them share is precisely this nonchalance, this “I don’t give a flying fuck” attitude.
Escora is attentive to the telling signs of such bearing. What invites his attention is not a particular physical feature but an expression, a vibe, a pose, or a gesture that would give away a subject’s uncompromising claim on his own life. These paintings are depictions of contemporary upbringing, made known by Manila’s iconic urban elite. These savvy hipsters could only be forerunners of contemporary lifestyle only through their dedication to personal vision and taste, thus making their spunk well-founded.
Kiko Escora is a prolific artist, taking on different media and interests. He has done graphic design, fashion, metal sculptures, abstractions and other sorts of installation. A visionary steward of Promethean underground, he derives inspiration from music, history, design and architecture to disasters, dreams, loved ones and lovers.