Arts and Culture

We sing the body electric

Theresa Marie Gamboa Romualdez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Silver. Gold. Precious stones. These words alone succeed in sending the best of us into a state of mindless drooling and daydreaming. Have you ever had to stop and stare at the beautiful displays in the mall and say, “Wow!”? Well, that’s how it felt entering the Yuchengco Museum’s exhibit, “ArtWearAble.”

The exhibit features artists like Arturo Luz, Hans Brumann, Eduardo Castrillo, Leeroy New, Ramon Orlina, Ann Pamintuan, Impy Pilapil, and Michelline Syjuco. Set to dazzle and amaze guests, these artists present their pieces, created for the body, and bring a whole new element to the idea of “wearable art.”

Fusing art, sculpture and design with fashion, these artists are able to add beauty to the figure. Gold and silver are displayed in a more complex light when blended with the artistic concepts and inspirations behind them.

Entering the museum, you see the grandiose paintings of well-known Filipino artists like Botong Francisco, classical works that embody our rich history. However, this exhibit is something new, something different. It features the work of local artists — painters, sculptors, architects and graphic artists who all create art for the body, or as Eduardo Castrillo calls his works, “body sculptures.”

The exhibit begins with the works of the older artists, such as Arturo Luz, a painter, sculptor and designer. Renowned for his abstract, geometric art pieces, who would’ve known he could create jewelry, too? His modernist style can be seen in his necklaces and bracelets made of gold-plated brass. Created in the 1990s, the combination of circles and triangles placed together, patterns of gold and blue, create an image of style, reminding me of something fit for Egyptian royalty. 

Another surprise is graphic designer and glass sculptor Impy Pilapil. Her skill in designing jewelry comes through in the finesse of her delicate collection titled “Ocean.” The combination of diamonds, silver and glass etching looks almost too precious to be worn.

A familiar face to most, and known as one of the leading jewelry designers in the Philippines, Swiss-born designer Hans Brumann displayed pieces he had created for artists like Arturo Luz and Impy Pilapil, in addition to his own classical and timeless works. Since launching his company Hans Brumann Inc. in the 1970s, Brumann has been sought after for his collection of ceaselessly elegant bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Across from him, you see Eduardo Castrillo, a sculptor whose career began in the 1960s and 1970s. Flanking his brass sculptures are beautiful jewelry pieces of white gold and silver. Watch straps, belt chains and chokers display the same artistic finesse and skill that can be seen is his larger than life sculptures. Some even look as though they are miniatures of his sculptures, making an artists’ stage of a model.

Amongst the eye-catching glass cases is one display that really sparkles and shines. Ramon Orlina’s chandelier, created especially for the exhibit. Being an architect and glass sculptor, this installation plays with light, enhancing colors and catching the viewer’s eye. 

What interested me the most about this exhibit were the differences between all of these artworks –– and artists. While portraying the same concept of art for the body — wearable art — they are all so different. But each artist was able to manipulate their respective media into whatever they please, creating something accessible to all.

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ArtWearAble is on view at Yuchengco Museum from July 16 to Sept. 7. The museum is at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call (632) 889-1234 or visit www.yuchengcomuseum.org.










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