Mischief and Mayhem at DAGC

My afternoon web meeting in Makati got postponed today. So with time to kill, I went pseudo-bourgeousie and hunted down the Department of Avant-Garde Cliches (DAGC) Gallery along Pasong Tamo. They’re currently showing Mischief and Mayhem, a collection of works by Romeo Lee and Pow Martinez.

And because there’s nothing like a (free) cultural thrill to cancel out Manila heat and illicit inspiration on a dreary afternoon, in I went to spend some quiet time and take photos (of course not before I asked permission!).

DAGC is a gallery devoted to exhibiting prints by local and foreign artists. Rather than capitalize on an art piece’s singularity, they embrace the democratic nature of prints (as it can be reproduced over and over again). The studio has a loft where the prints can be recreated.

The gallery is a sparse space of grey walls and lots of light – perfect for standing in the middle and absorbing all the artworks simultaneously. Actually, I tried to demonstrate that particular idea. But since I was literally the only person on the floor, I… tried to take a timer photo of myself (horrified gasp!). I got my shot but I’m not posting it because I realized how pathetic and desperate that was (and, purpose defeated because I’m writing it out anyway. Hay).

Anyway, on to the actual artwork shots!

The exhibit was a monochrome collection of weird yet strangely familiar forms: beasts and humanoids with lolling tongues and swollen body parts, and dirge-like parties of macabre characters stomping towards church/pyramid/teepee amalgams. Rendered in sinewy, luscious lines (Lee) and quick, furious strokes (Martinez), the exhibit feels to me like a form of commentary about our society’s current indulgent, fanatic state. I did pause for quite a while (especially on the mural) to try to discern the various figures.

… I’ll stop there because I’m not an art critic and this is not a reaction paper ala college! Hehe. I really wish I were making a reaction paper right now, though.

Mischief and Mayhem will be on exhibit until September 17. We should all support spaces like DAGC, who are striving to make all forms of art accessible to the public. It’s worth a visit, with or without a self-timer shot :). If you cannot drop by you can go to the DAGC website for the artist’s notes and more photos.

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