Free Phenomenon

October 15 – November 12, 2022

Louie Cordero

Kawayan De Guia

The latest collaboration between Cordero and De Guia revisits the usefulness of dialogue. Formed by distance, circumstance, and need; as well as by their own unique artistic vision, the works are indicative of the values of correspondence and interaction—like messages sent and retrieved.


Messages, which are like news, can either arrive as tragic or uneventful. In the case of Kawayan De Guia and his family, it came in the form of a loved one’s death. In the case of Louie Cordero, it came as an opportunity to repay one’s friendship.  Between two artists—two friends—who have remained undaunted by distance and loss, their artistic processes are put to the test to address a need that is often overlooked within collaboration: the need to respond.


Responding can be a form of healing, as De Guia realized. Grief-stricken and in the throes of desolation, he sought affinity within the surfaces of paper, collage, and painting, to be sent from Baguio to a town in Batangas where Cordero is based, and vice versa—in returning. Meanwhile, interaction, for Cordero, has opened unexpected artistic possibilities. But it is the possibility to find solace in work, in exploration, and in keeping each other alert towards the next ‘conversation’ is what stood out as most significant among the possibilities this dialogue has brought them.


Still emblematic of their own signature styles, a kind of irreverence, playfulness, and pastiche that touch on cultural—-both local and colonial—references, the constant overlays of collage and painting are drawn from two imaginations that ping back and forth. Sending and receiving, adding and subtracting. How can two pinging sources, at times both strange and at times quite different, arrive at a mutual understanding to declare a final image? An image that can find its own life through free association to give birth to a singular phenomenon?


Responding, in this case, is a correspondence via collage, painting, and drawing, where scores of dialogue have taken place and have transformed itself into a need—a requisite—not only to continue and revitalize artistic vision, but to rejuvenate life amid loss and tragic outcomes.


The body of work that is shown here—almost 50 works of collage and paintings on paper, that have gone through almost a hundred journeys back and forth between two conversing minds, invites us to look deep into a process that places art within the vicinity of mutuality and agreements: a contract, where it becomes possible that ‘to make art’ may also mean to be alive in conversation with the other.



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