Art, Personal
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Chabet’s Ziggurat & building on built things.


I love art. If you know me or if you’ve been reading this blog, I think it’s pretty obvious just how much I do. In between puppy news and life updates, I talk to Zoe a lot about art, even though she’s really far away, and I like having someone I can just gush about art with. There’s something about beautiful things—in the loosest sense of the word—that really moves me in this way I can’t explain.

Today, we talked about art dealing, and how sometimes it doesn’t make sense (to me) that someone would buy a piece of art just because of the name attached to it. She said, if she could, she’d hoard every Kandinsky and Magritte and so on that she could get her hands on. I thought about that, and the kind of art I like, and whose oeuvres I would purchase if I could. (The answers: Robert Rauschenberg, Gustave Courbet & Jean-Michel Basquiat.)

I like a lot of art, and I like talking about art and partaking in mindless gushing that’s almost completely propelled by feelings and emotions. But there’s also a specific, certain kind that really just moves me to make (or at least, want to make) things of my own. It’s something I can’t really explain very well. I’ve tried to do so, and maybe that’s what people mean when they get inspired by something, but I’d like to think that it goes much deeper than inspiration.

One of the artists that I look up to is Roberto Chabet. On a good day, you will probably catch me singing praise choruses about him. There’s just really something about the work he makes that connects with me, and makes me want to be better at art. Chabet is thought to be the father of conceptual art in the Philippines, so for the fiftieth year he’s been in the art scene, there has been an ongoing series of exhibits held in his honor.

Ziggurat opened on Chabet’s birthday and it featured mostly collages from the 70′s (which are a few of my favorite things, ever). I admit, I don’t really get some of his work, especially when he uses shapes covered in primary red, blue, and yellow (like the ones in this exhibit), but if there is any particular artform that I feel like Chabet has mastered, it’s collage. He just gets how to work with composition and layers and color and so on. He has such a great eye for what works, and it his works really inspire me to make my own. Collages are harder to make than you can probably imagine, so I’m just really in awe of how he pulls these off so well.

He has a pretty extensive series called the “China” collages, and I’m such a big fan. He really makes me want to keep on making these things, without even really doing anything other than being really good at what he does, and seemingly passing on this “eye” for beauty to his students. A lot of artists schooled under Chabet have made pretty good names for themselves, and while it’s maybe presumptuous to insinuate that there’s a direct correlation… I really frakking believe that there is.

I don’t really think I’m in the position to start critiquing this show—because of a heavy bias and also, the lack of insight and cojones—so I’m not going to, and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I’ve posted a few of my favorites here, but you can view the entire show on the West Gallery website or on Facebook.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how I’d really want to make things that make other people want to make things. Aside from expressing a thought or a concept or an idea, it would be nice if the work you made had this sort of creative quality that pushes people to make stuff. Then, we’d have an endless stream of new, beautiful things, to exist alongside pretty things that already exist.

It’s just really incredible to me how one single man and his body of work was able to inspire so many artists (who are currently established in their field), and continue to do so each passing year. Some people may think that this series of exhibits (mounted even in other countries like Singapore and Hong Kong) is kind of overkill, but I think it’s important to commemorate who taught as much as he made. I think that’s pretty special.

Ziggurat is going to be on display at West Gallery until the 23rd of April. West Gallery is located at 48 West Avenue, QC, and their gallery hours are 10am – 5pm from Monday to Saturday. See past and current exhibits over at their website. Like their page on Facebook to receive updates.