Business As Usual
10 Sep - 01 Oct 2016
September 2016 is Business as Usual for Francis Commeyne
Francis Commeyne returns to the Tin-aw Art Gallery with Business as Usual—an upcoming exhibition exploring the idiosyncrasy of the Filipino urban landscape where consumerism, American culture, and our own unique values percolate to spawn a dizzying array of pop imagery and artifacts distinctly of our milieu.
Mundane objects—the cheap, abundant, and seemingly insignificant—are transferred from the streets to the gallery after being recreated and refashioned into works of art. The familiar sights of various small-scale businesses serve as inspiration for Commeyne’s latest creations. By distilling patterns from the material surfaces of the informal economy, the artist documents its rapid pace and frenetic germination in the 21st century.
Junk shop signs, sari-sari store façades, and striped tarpaulins are painted while takatak boxes, Micromatic umbrellas, basahans, glow-in-the-dark religious figurines and plants crafted from Mountain Dew bottles are constructed. Both types are carefully displayed throughout the gallery space and consequently, it is through this dual process of mimicry and delocalization that the original items’ utility diminishes, thereby producing an assortment of pure simulacra whose purpose as visual codes is no longer to advertise products but rather, to serve as avenues for critical reflection on societal matters.
Dimensions magnified by this reframing of our consumer culture is the inverse proportionality between worth and abundance—best expressed in the idiom “a dime a dozen”—as well as our appropriation of the American Dream, regardless of whether one achieves it. The prevalence of the tools for commerce emulated in Business as Usual numbs us to the real and concrete human aspects behind such; we too often fail to see the financial struggle our fellow citizens endure, in addition to the desire to eventually “make it big”, amidst the increasing omnipotence of conglomerates.
Ultimately, what Commeyne aims in Business as Usual is to offer us an opportunity to re-assess the way we interact with these everyday images—to revitalize and sharpen our senses in examining even the minutest details of such objects and to determine their value in our urban spaces, especially their contribution to our national and cultural identity.
The opening of Business as Usual is on 10 September 2016 and will be on view until the 3rd of October at the Tin-aw Art Gallery. Contact Tin-aw Art Gallery for information on the exhibition at the Upper Ground Floor, Somerset Olympia Building Makati Avenue, Makati City.
For full CV please download the PDF below