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Impy Pilapil finds magic and wonder in these pandemic times |

Sunday Lifestyle

Impy Pilapil finds magic and wonder in these pandemic times

ARTMAGEDDON - Igan D’Bayan - The Philippine Star
Impy Pilapil finds magic and wonder in these pandemic times
Artist Impy Pilapil explains, “When I started making works that don’t require me to compromise my beliefs and allowed me to continue working in this manner, nothing could beat that. And I am reminded of this at the conception and the completion of any work that I do.”

Artist Impy Pilapil wanted to own a home in Australia. Something about the continent drew her during the twilight of the Nineties and she was considering a move.

“And I was stopped by Washington SyCip,” she says. SyCip gave Impy what she felt was not just a life-changing compliment, but also a sound piece of philosophy as to how an artist should stand patriotically. Impy recalls asking SyCip, “But aren’t you of dual citizenship as well, Wash?” The man smiled. Impy continues, “He then said something along the lines of, ‘Old businessmen are a dime-a-dozen — everywhere you look. Filipino artists we cannot afford to lose.”

The man was right. Businessmen and politicians multiply like rabbits or those fictional Gremlins when caught under strange, climate-mutated torrential rains. But genuine Filipino artists who continue to astound us with exploratory, uncompromising work — they are a dying breed.

Impy is still at it: tracing infinity and capturing slumbering guardians and terra scintillas. She is mounting a show which opens on April 16 at Level 3, Gallery C of Conrad Manila.

She explains the idea behind her latest exhibition: “My personal quest has always been to find true meaning and purpose through art. Whether the path begins from within the pages of a fantasy novel or the wonders of the natural and higher worlds, wherever it may lead, I will always find traces.”

The works in her current collection were inspired by the impressions left on the surfaces of stone-cutting mills. Impy has had panels repurposed as accents and textures for relief sculptures she made in the past, and she thinks their unique formations seem to tell stories. “These hypothetical narratives or musings bring back many memories I have of films and documentaries on Lost Civilizations or extra-terrestrial landscapes, fantastic worlds in my mind’s eye. Whether these are all real memories or something my imagination has cooked up, it all fell into place as the works neared completion.”

She has been gearing up for this show since April of last year, right after “Circa” opened at the National Museum. Through the years, she has amassed quite an extensive collection of her favorite media, and she doesn’t plan on stopping.

“My home workshop is like a staging ground for new ideas and their ultimate forms, and it is just a question of the work ‘speaking to me’ (before) it finds its way into a collection.”

What takes longer than the preparation of materials is the selection process. “If a work cannot stand on its own, then it will be easily lost among others — finishing a work at times would take years, sometimes it just takes a day. It really depends on what the work ‘says.’”

She describes her studio as currently a delightful mix of “organized chaos and willful disorder.” She has pieces mounted as if on display, brought to fruition after a period of color and textural experimentation.

Impy explains, “Each piece has a story. And I try to tell these stories with a flurry of movement using bright shiny steel and colored elements, ‘flying’ within the composition.”

The stone works are all part of Impy’s collection of curious pieces that are connected with her “Earth Empowered” series.

“I have said before that my love affair with stone has culminated in this collection, but it is far from over. It is by far my largest growing family of works, many of which have not been viewed by the public.”

Inspiration can’t be easily exhausted, she adds. “I believe — and perhaps until a new material has made itself known — that all these familiar ones will never cease giving.”

In the age of instant online gratification and e-commerce, how does Impy define and trace the Infinite?

She answers, “I just wish that the likely outcome of humanity losing the ability to reason, explore, be curious or creative — because everything one needs is just a click away — will not come to pass. Infinity is our passage to yet unrealized goals: the possibilities are illimitable. I only hope that our future doesn’t involve humanity at the mercy of convenience.”

But what about the looming shadows of Covid-19 and climate change? Does art still matter in the pandemonium of our times?

“It will take more than an epidemic of biblical proportions to wipe art off the face of the planet,” Impy stresses. “Humanity has faced its fair share of apocalyptic disasters and we always bounce back. The human spirit is an unbreakable wall of wills and this resilience. I believe (we are) influenced by the beauty that surrounds us each day — whether in nature or in a gallery. There will always be space in our hearts and minds for things we consider ‘beautiful’ — no matter how diverse our cultures or tastes or even generations dictate.”

For Impy, the artists of today should to be storytellers; it is imperative. “We should strive for relevance without cause for conflict and be ambassadors for reason in a time of confusion. There is no better time than now to be a creative force or an inspiration to the generation after us.”

Impy Pilapil says she and her artist friends joke about retirement. “But there is no way a person like me can sit still doing nothing. There might be a period when I can take a slower pace and spend precious time with my family and friends but at the end of the day, we live to create — and not the other way around.”

No rest for the wondrous. Especially when there is an Infinity to trace and lost geographies to revisit.


* * *

The 13th installation of the “Of Art and Wine” exhibit features Impy Pilapil’s personal collection of 16 mixed media work, sculptures made of armor wood, steel, metal, stone and marble done between 1994 to 2020. These showcase her multi-media mastery, creative artistic approaches, and compelling thematic messages. It is open to the public from April 16 until June 5. The show is in partnership with Grand Cru Wines & Spirits. For inquiries on the artworks, call 8833-9999 or email Conrad Manila is at Seaside Blvd. Coral Way, Pasay City.

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