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Neither Here Nor There
Arvi Fetalvero & Ioannis Sicuya
September 10 - October 01, 2022
In his prophetic poem, The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats declared: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold…” It seems that the terrifying vision of the poet has become a nightmarish reality, especially in this Age of Disinformation, where the most bald-faced lies are manipulated to assume a veneer of truth and where truths are subjected to various forms of alteration to appear as lies. Without a consensus of what constitutes the real, what happens then to the issues that we face—from the scarcity of basic commodities to the larger threat of climate crisis?
It is in a state of decenteredness that Arvi Fetalvero and Ioannis Sicuya locate their two-artist exhibit, Neither Here Nor There. The show, which juxtaposes the horizontality of Fetalvero’s paintings and the verticality of Sicuya’s sculptures, defies the usual call for resilience and moving forward and instead confronts the low visibility—if not the general bleakness—of the future, given the threats that assail the personal, national, and global conditions. It plots the works along the coordinates of indeterminacy, where it’s no longer possible to know whether to move forward, backward, or sideways.
Instead of mounting his works on a wall, where they are fixed and stable, Sicuya introduces a pivot of instability by employing the sphere as base on which the ruins are precariously situated. Even an insignificant force will make the sculpture rock before it stabilizes and restores its center of gravity.
The viewer, to use the artist’s words, “hikes with their own eyes” onto the ruinous structure in a feat of Sisyphean monotony before concluding on a telescope that also swings wildly, unaffixed to any direction. While ruins usually suggest a glorious civilization, the versions in this exhibit evoke a minor and deluded empire.
For Fetalvero, the sense of stasis is conveyed by the horizontal line, evoked by a suite of paintings that feature ropes of lace knotted at places. Delicate, fragile, and offering no ostensible support, they are reminiscent of featureless landscapes, absent of identifying markers, expanding on both ends. These works, it must be noted, depart from the Fetalvero’s usual vertical works, which were all about propulsive growth and reaching for impossible heights. Now, the state of affairs has flat-lined and, scanning for a promise of destination, what one sees is merely a line of shimmering mirage.
Neither Here Nor There presents an attitude of skepticism, if not pessimism, for the status quo in which bedrock certainties have been eroded by falsity, propaganda, and historical revisionism. How to proceed when the world is burning? A space of indeterminacy, as these works also paradoxically attest, may also be a locus for radical hope, the gray area where one may regroup, gather strength and resources, and clarify one’s vision—and locate, even in the darkest of nights, pinpricks of light that may be used for navigation.
-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
Arvi Fetalvero (b.1989) & Ioannis Sicuya (b.1988)
Arvi Fetalvero is a Filipino visual artist who is known for her space-oriented and meditative works. She graduated and finished Cum Laude from the Asia Pacific College School of Multimedia Arts in 2014.
Arvi’s body of works ranges from oil and acrylic paintings, and graphite drawings, to sculptural resin on textiles and installation pieces. For her, Art is a coping mechanism that helps her mentally process what’s happening to the world. Her works are a reflection of her musings about space, the fluidity and rigidness of its boundaries, and how one can activate a space to convey thoughts and experiences.
For their upcoming two-man exhibit, Arvi’s idea is filled with horizontal lace drawings (graphite & acrylic on canvas) that represent an endless desert landscape/horizon. She wants her viewers to feel disoriented with a limited view of the world (through a telescope atop a round & wobbly foundation) when all they can see is an endless desert (almost repetitive lace drawings).
Ioannis Sicuya is a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines– finishing Cum Laude. He was a Finalist in the Sculpture Category at the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (2021) and was shortlisted at the Ateneo Art Awards (2021). He is known for his structural-like sculpture, a mixture of from-the-ground-up buildings complimented by details made from mold-casting processes using epoxy.
Ioannis was inspired to incorporate structural sculpture as his style when their house was infested with termites. He was fascinated by the works of the termites– shelter tube-type carvings and subterranean tunnels on wooden surfaces. He describes his works as creations like Legos but better since he gets to make his own blocks.
For their upcoming two-man exhibit, Titled: Neither Here Nor There. Ioannis hopes to elicit in his audience the feeling of “hiking with their own eyes” as his viewers experience his works. He highlights this series in particular since it echoes the theme that he wants to express which is pretty much a continuation of his ongoing exploration of his material and his attempts to transform it to create imagined landscapes.
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