Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Play of Iron and Art

Published in The Expat Newspaper, 29 February 2008

A Spring Collection conjures ideas of high fashion, designer clothes on designer models, cat walks and the Paris glitterati on display. Well not this summer in Manila. Alliance Francaise’s latest exhibition, “Spring Collection”, by Pete Jimenez is about springs, compression springs to be truly accurate. Those parts of your car’s suspension that take the hard knocks from the road to smooth your ride.

Jimenez scours Manila’s junk shops for hunks of iron into which he can breathe a new life by turning them into sculptures. And life there is in abundance in his works. From the inebriated, leering, battered, oil drum lid face of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” to the perennial cheerfulness of the ubiquitous smiley face given a Filipino food staple twist in “Pretty in Pig”.

Into each of the 19 works on display, Jimenez has incorporated a compression spring as an integral part of the sculpture. Which when given a prod, the stored energy of the coil animates the particular work. They sway, oscillate, jiggle or shimmy long past the attention span of their instigator.

And Jimenez has artfully matched the spring’s properties to the personality of the work. From the shimmy of the metal leaf emerging from its garden fork supported pot in “What’s the Scoop” to the profound oscillations of our solar system orbiting an imaginary sun in “Lonely Planet”. From the jiggle of the dome shaped “Jolly Bug” to the sway of the fanciful that adorns the mundane in “The Chicken and the eggs”. This animation also extends a works depth of meaning. Like the benign Disney like “Eyes, Eyes Baby” when static which transforms into a creature of menace as it sways hypnotically with the light glinting from its bulbous glass eyes.

Unlike the look but don’t touch of the haute culture of a Paris Spring Collection, Jimenez’s Spring Collection encourages participation. For, there is playfulness inherent in these works that goes beyond the invitation to touch that appeals to the child in us all.

Pete Jimenez’s “Spring Collection” continues until the 14th of March at Alliance Francaise de Manila, 209 Nicanor Garcia St (formerly Reposo St) Bal-Air 2, Makati City. More information can be found online at and

No comments: