By ALISHA DANIELLE M. GREGORIO
PEOPLE have different responses to their surroundings; they also have varying perspectives on things. Lesley-Anne Cao’s “The hand, the secretary, a landscape” is a fitting example of this. On display from June 2 to Aug. 12 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Cao’s first solo exhibition composed of unique untitled artworks took center stage in a small and dimly-lit gallery.
One of the eye-catching pieces was a large projector set up in the middle of the room that flashed a CCTV footage on the wall showing the top of a building. In the video, towering walls with glass windows enclosed a small shrubbery where various plants and branches grew. One could also notice the hints of movement provided by wind and light rain. This certainly leaves the viewer with various questions like “Why choose a setting with such a limited view?” or “What lies beyond those walls?” This is probably where one’s sense of sight and perspective come into play.
Another unique piece from the exhibit was a medium-sized photograph of a human ear. What made it peculiar were the four stones cleverly positioned to fit the expanse of the person’s ear, as if they were earrings. Right beside this picture was a replica of an ear made of silicone, plastic, and rocks that are identical to the ones in the photograph. Again, it plays with the concept of how one looks at and processes things. How are the image and the replica different from one another? How are they the same? Is there a possibility that the “replica” is actually a real ear?
A huge wooden crate positioned at the end of a hallway also challenged the viewer’s perspective. The crate’s contents were given emphasis by a beam of light, making one immediately curious as to what is inside it: a blanket embedded with miniature gold round bells. Unlike most art in the exhibit, there were two ways to view the blanket: to look down the crate, or to look up at the ceiling above it where a mirror reflected an image of the blanket.
“The hand, the secretary, a landscape,” although simple and quiet, tackled an idea that is not common when people look at art. It delved into the inner workings of one’s mind as different things can be seen in many ways. Most importantly, it reminded the viewers that how they feel things and how they view the world set them apart from others. F