Elegant and hypnotic

Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

I highly encourage everyone with a love for the elegant and the macabre to drop by Gabriel Barredo’s Opera at the Silverlens Gallery.

I’ve been a fan of his work since the ‘90s. In 1993, friend Rayvi Sunico would carry around a little bag made out of gilded mannequin head, it was odd and beautiful—that’s when I first heard the name Gabriel Barredo.

More recently, his work “Asphalt” was pretty much the centerpiece of Art Fair 2013. It was this 30-foot long kinetic installation—moving pieces everywhere—skeletons, doll heads, gears, wings, eyes, it looked partly religious—possibly because the casings of some of the items reminded me of where people display their Sto. Niño statues.

Opera takes up both the spaces at Silverlens and my dark heart is all the happier for it. The 57-year old sculptor has collaborated with Malek Lopez (music), Jason Tam (video) and Er- win Romulo (production) to come up with a whole that is part sophisticated hospital and morgue part Grand Guignol.

You walk in, and this creepy, hypnotic, science fiction movie-type music draws you quicker into the world of Opera. In one room, you feel like you want to sit down or lie on the floor to absorb it all, in the other, you get mesmerized by the clacking of the kinetic sculptures, removing your mind further from the world outside.

While we often associate goth with the color black, the major palette here is bone white, and like all proper gothic things, it is in someway a meditation of death and decay and as a result, also a meditation on life. Opera can feel both antiseptic and sensual at the same time; my friend Chris describes it as “painfully erotic.” (Check the vintage black and white erotic photographs encased in silver discs).

There is just so much to see, so much peculiar detail. One must not rush.

Opera is beyond sculpture exhibit, it is also theater. Go get lost in this sexy, strange, stimulating wonderland.

The exhibit runs until February 21 at the Silverlens Galleries, 2320 Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati. For more of Gabriel Barredo’s works and other outstanding Filipino contemporary artists, visit Art Fair Philippines 2015, The Link, Makati.


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