Political Statement: Pio Abad and Stephanie Syjuco Depict Outrage and Dissent in their Upcoming Show - Arts & Culture

Crime and ornament present resistance in two different ways.

Silverlens is presenting the two-artist exhibition, Crime and Ornament, which features Pio Abad and Stephanie Syjuco.

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The two re-engage and re-energize previous works to confront the possibility of a dictator’s son being installed to the highest position of the land.

Both materialize the ontology of protest, recalibrating how text, image, and even the seeming impersonality of the chroma key may be activated to prompt oppositional relationships, revolutionary impulses, and counternarratives.

This, of course, is entirely aligned within their artistic inclinations. Abad, who began his art studies at the University of the Philippines but now lives and works in London, is concerned with the social and political signification of things in his practice.

Pio Abad

His work, in a range of media including textiles, drawing, installation and photography, mines alternative or repressed historical events, unravel official accounts and draw out threads of complicity between incidents, ideologies and people.

On the other hand, San Francisco-based Syjuco works primarily in sculpture, installation, and photography. According to her bio from Richard Lee Gallery, she leverages “open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital to create friction between high ideals and everyday materials.

Her conceptual craft practice translates digital content and process into physical experience, often with an active public component that invites viewers to participate as producers or distributors.

Outrage and dissent

In Crime and Ornament, the material components of the show share the same skin as those found in the streets steeped in the climate of outrage and dissent:

“Block out the Sun,” by Stephanie Syjuco

These include banners, photographs, textiles—inert objects that, through the artists’ fierce subjectivities, are transformed into vehicles of of chronicle and commentary, able to traffic within the discursive spheres of the social and the political.

Their approaches are wildly different: Abad, through the mechanized language of seriality, disassembles and desecrates Marcosian iconography while Syjuco reconfigures the slogan of resistance through the transformative labor of human hands.

Stephanie Syjuco

Crime and Ornament brings to critical visibility the compulsion to disrupt the vectors through which the dominant ideology flows, slashing a seam so that the energies of the periphery—voices, visions, vocabularies—can rush through. In the works of Abad and Syjuco, these energies achieve surface texture.

Released into the world and able to circulate in the air and light of human consciousness, they are apperceived, generate fresh topographies of meaning, and join other modes of action so that alternative/alternate versions of the real may be forged.

“Ungovernable,” by Stephanie Syjuco

Crime and Ornament runs from April 7 to May 7, 2022 at Silverlens Galleries, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Ext. Makati.

Text by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana, courtesy of Silverlens Galleries
Photos courtesy of the artists and Silverlens Galleries

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