Friday, May 22, 2009

Manila and Me

First impressions are not always to be trusted. Such was the case when I first laid eyes upon the the 51 black and white photographs, under glass, at Briccio Santos’ “Inner Spaces” exhibition at the Silverlens Gallery. There were some interesting compositions but the works were mute.

A closer examination, literally with my nose inches from the glass, and I was drawn into the works. These 20 x 24 inch and 16 x 20 inch Manila cityscapes demand this intimacy and the viewer’s reflection in the glass, which is usually an annoyance, becomes an integral part of the experience. The viewer becomes a part of the scene and as their focus shifts so too does the relationship with the scene presented.

This idea of reflection is carried over to Santos’ installation, the 52nd work in the exhibition, “Tunnel of knowledge”. A circular library with a mirrored ceiling and a mirrored floor. This hall of mirrors extends above and below to become a book lovers wishing well. Constructed to exclude the casual viewer's reflection the more intrepid can become involved at the risk of suffering from vertigo.

The majority of the books in this library are stacked upon the shelves with their spines hidden from prying eyes. And those with their titles on view are, for the most part, technical manuals and self help tombs. A couple of fiction titles make the cut but the only literary title on show is Mark Twain’s, Huckleberry Finn. Interestingly, considering its setting, books about art are conspicuous by their absence along with poetry, but who reads them today?

Inner Spaces continues at Silverlens until 20th June with a talk by Briccio Santos scheduled for Saturday 6th of June.

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