Horasis (there is, there isn’t)
graphite, singed cardboard, adhesive, and acrylic sheet mounted on wood.
22” x 22”
2019
On a bright sunny day in Venice Beach, CA, a young boy sits alone on top of a small sandy mound along a busy beachside path. He sits simply clad, in a relaxed buddha-like pose with one knee touching the ground and an arm resting on his other upward bent knee, completely frozen amidst the drone of constant movement and sea. Over his eyes he wears a single reflective strip that obscured his eyes and gaze: an iconic image, both playful and violent, reminiscent of blindfolded children’s games, futuristic sunglasses, virtual reality headsets, and prisoners of war. He seems transfixed by something outside of the shared space of our reality as caught in a vision or a daydream.

At a sabongan (cock fight) in Batangas City, Philippines, prize-fighters are being equipped on one foot with a 3 - 5” steel blade. Out in the circular arena surrounding the pit, the men emit deep howls and wooshes with arms raised calling to wage their bets. The fighters are introduced by their owners to the audience and to each other as two suspended boxes above the pit light up, one with the word “meron” and the other with “wala”, to indicate a champion fighter “with” previous wins and the underdog “without”, respectively. All bets are taken and the crowds chaos turns to a studied anticipation silent enough to hear the instant of death’s whirl and a pattering of blood.

In this work, the icons of a “blinded” disembodied head and Tagalog words (which translate to “there is”, and there isn’t”) reference the aforementioned scenes recalled from two disparate personal memories. Framed by the title “Horasis (There is, there isn’t)” and its multicultural allusions to concepts of time, vision, and space, the triptych is a meditation on themes of absence/presence as related to cycles of life, death, and rebirth. Through the specific materials, processes, gestures, and images employed in its making, the work functions as a kind of ritual iconography or talisman for ruminating on and celebrating the great unknown of that other side of life.





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