A long-time Filipino resident in Paris said that going to a cafe one pays not for the (often ridiculously expensive) coffee but for the privilege of public solitude. The small cup of coffee is the initial ceremony of indulging in one’s reflections without being bothered needlessly by anyone else…for an hour or more. My recent sojourn to France in the autumn and early winter of the last year was comparable to that: an indulgent a series of reflections in solitude, often taking the form of a meditation on being a stranger (peregrinus) and the strangeness of being elsewhere, away from home. These works shown here are traces and conduits – not representations – of such reflections. They were the works I have been working on while feeling charged with the strangeness of leaving home and departure, the strangeness of encounter and the strangeness of souvenirs and recollection. They are not the outcome of my travels, but rather part of the journey, conceived in transit or made on the way. I consider these works were constructed the same way the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Breska carried his tools and materials in his battle jacket, making works from stones found in the war fields during the trench wars of the First World War of 1914-16.
I have intended them to be grouped in three clusters or coordinates, each descriptive or constitutive of the phase of the journey. The first expresses the anxieties and expectations of a departure, which is represented by the installation “What is essential is invisible” (2012-2013). The second is a series of works of paper – a selection of over a hundred works – that I made during the odd hours of the night while in residence in Paris. Also included are small sculptures from the same period, carved with blocks of fragrant pine and molded with locally sourced plaster clay. The third group is a series of wood sculptures began prior to my departure but were finished with knowledge gained from the trip. One work is a recreation of a piece that Ive exhibited in the side chapel of Eglise St. Merry, a 17th century church just behind the Centre Pompidou.
These works collectively are for me, a point of departure for a new way of creative work. The works here are thought of and given context by being concurrently constructed with a life episode: hence they are not end-products but postulates of a life project. It is a project where philosophizing with a mallet and chisel makes sense and is made sensible.