Relaxation is a State of Mind

February 17 – March 16, 2024

Mark Salvatus

Mark Salvatus’s solo exhibition at The Drawing Room asks about ways to relax. Salvatus’s proposition on relaxation is centered around the word ‘state,’ which connotes many things— a condition, a situation, or a mode of being. It also implies boundaries, such as when we use it to refer to territories. Conversely, the state of things can be very well perceived without bounds— erratic, unstable, and even cryptic. This state is the direction that objects take in Salvatus’s artistic practice; they morph and transform into other things, and in some cases, the metamorphosis is due to their translocation between contexts.

The exhibition gathers objects from art projects between 2022 and 2024. I always refer to them as ‘projects’ instead of ‘artworks’ because they signify an undertaking informed by a locus of interest. Salvatus is not bent on making objects that close in on themselves, carrying meanings that are difficult to dislodge. Instead, the artist positions himself as an interlocutor in a dialogue of sensing that attempts to renew our interest in the protracted process of
making and creation.


 He draws our attention to the enchantment of the small, the slow, the amorphous, and the indeterminate: a crucial temporal and positional juxtaposition of our time. He presents paintings called ‘Scratchings,’ combined ceramics and found objects in a series he calls ‘Tools,’ rice sacks filled with cotton for an installation provisionally titled ‘Waiting,’ and collages from his 2022 project. The paintings reference his abiding interest in transience and temporality; they can be read as a manner of way-finding amidst the chaos of urban life. He attached cast ceramic tools to found objects, producing the artifacts of our time and referencing the smartphone, which has become an indispensable bodily appendage. His collages were first presented hanging on wooden scaffolds that appeared rickety to reference the 1955 Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Rotary Club Competition, when conservatives walked out of the competition when they learned that the winners were modernist painters.

Salvatus is, by nature, a bricoleur driven by a deep curiosity about the turns that shape our time. This attitude to the material world is propelled by a disposition towards transformation, an intuition given to play and awe but which is also tempered by ambivalence and uncertainty. The expansive assemblage these works belong to highlights Salvatus’s art practice as experimental and lively, an engaging and necessary, playful yet reflective engagement with the world.

– Tessa Maria Guazon

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