Arts and Culture

Exhibit offers much-needed closure for pre-pandemic life

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Exhibit offers much-needed closure for pre-pandemic life
Azor Pazcoguin's "Noon" solo exhibit.
Art Cube Gallery

MANILA, Philippines — It was almost a year ago when the World Health Organization warned that life as we knew it, before COVID-19, is gone.

“People understandably want to get on with their lives, because their lives and livelihoods are at stake...But the world will not and cannot go back to the way things were,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a world still in denial.

Presently, the globe has coped differently with the pandemic. Some countries are nearing new normalcy while others are on the way there.

For places like the Philippines, however, acceptance came first in the absence of any real hope. But even within the country are people oscillating in and out of the different stages of grief.

The storyteller who simplifies, Azor Pazcoguin, touches on this topic in his solo exhibit “Noon,” which runs at the Art Cube Gallery in Makati City until March 20.

Azor, like The Beatles, believes in yesterday, a time when all our troubles seemed so far away.

“My inspiration behind the exhibit is basically this pandemic. This occurrence enabled me to reflect on the things that we often forget and neglect. I wanted to show the learnings from our past stories and experiences whether coming from an object or a person,” he told Philstar.com in an online interview.

The artist employed a monochromatic palette in his collection of still life and portraits to, at once, mourn and send off the distant past.

“Marami na ang nagbago at nawala. Dahil ibang-iba na ang NGAYON. Pero ang NOON ay NOON pa rin. Kahit pa baliktarin,” Azor wrote.

He presents familiar objects — a push-button telephone, a transistor radio, a pair of Chucks, a sewing machine, an analog camera, a typewriter — with minor and major distortions comparable to screen glitches as if to visualize a memory dissolving into a haze.

“I have no definite process when I paint, I just render everything based on what I feel is necessary for my art to communicate with the viewer,” Azor said.

This includes applying texture for accent, providing text for added message, and leaving some negative space to make his works as minimal as possible.

The 13 artworks, all oil on canvas, were produced in the span of five months. These include:

  • “Looking forward to yesterday”
  • “Rebel”
  • “Poker face”
  • “And New”
  • “FYA”
  • “Hulkified”
  • “Rewrite”
  • “All Star”
  • “Playback”
  • “36 Shots”
  • “No. 1”
  • “501”
  • “X Line”

Art Cube Gallery is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted as long as they follow protocols like wearing a mask and filling out the health form upon entry. Only a maximum of 15 persons is allowed in the gallery at once.

For other inquiries, contact Nette Juvida at 0917-329-6273.

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