JADED BY the monotony of exhibits that yield to imitative styles and concepts, esteemed abstract artist Lindslee probes the nature of contemporary art while presenting artists’ continued struggle to survive in a world where art’s value lies on price tags in his exhibit titled Cliché Untitled.
Lindsey James Lee, known in the art scene as “Lindslee,” compared today’s realm of art to a “stagnant river.” “Nagsawa na lang ako sa kakatingin ng exhibits na pare-pareho,” he said, admitting that he could no longer identify the difference between the artworks and the artists’ styles because of how similar and predictable they were.
The artist’s favorite, Pain Thing, is a framed canvas exploding with dull colors that attempt to overpower each other. The colored bubbles are connected to several IV bottles—labeled with the names mentor, financier, critics, and collectors—that seem to be both the piece’s lifeline and cause of death.
The piece speaks about the reality of the art scene amid today’s commodity-centered society where the artist is hushed by the demands of the people whose satisfaction allows him to keep his profession in exchange for his artistic freedom.
A canvas overflowing with paint stood at the end of the entrance hallway, welcoming those that it mocks. Overkilled Painting represents spectators’ usually exaggerated interpretation of art works. “Mga art kasi ngayon masyadong pinapalalim…‘Yung mga audience binibigyan ng masyadong kahulugan [kahit] wala naman,” he explained.
Dirty Tactics, another intriguing piece, bears the same message. The biodegradable garbage bag enclosed in an elegant golden frame makes a bold statement regarding the glorification of trash masquerading as art.
The University of Santo Tomas Fine Arts alumnus challenged artists to step out of their comfort zone and take the risk of creating art not for the sake of making money or meeting people’s expectations.
“Hindi ka na rin nagiging free eh. Na-constrain mo na rin sarili mo [sa art works na] alam mong bebenta. Paulit-ulit mo nang ginagawa [kaya] parang niloloko mo na lang sarili mo.” F CHARISSA MAE M. NEMIS
Cliché Untitled is open to the public from Feb. 6 to 27 at the Artery Art Space, 102 P.Tuazon Blvd, 4001 Cubao, Quezon City.