Middle of Nowhere
Secret Fresh, Ronac Art Center, San Juan MM
Christian Tamondong's latest exhibit Middle of Nowhere connotes a state of mind rather than
geographically siting a place yet both tell of uncertainty and confusion, open to wonder about what the
coming year will bring. Year-ender scenarios elicit such sentiments as with the adherence to the widely-
believed doomsday Mayan prophecy of the 21st of December being the date where all everything would
cease to exist. It also recalls Paul Gauguin's landmark masterpiece which he has painted while in his
self-exile in Tahiti and by which he vowed to end his life after finishing it : Where Do We Come From?
What Are We? Where Are We Going? - a panorama depicting the Haitian natives going through the cycle
of life, from birth, love, to old age and death.
However, Tamondong's existential query on the unknown, hinges not much on the philosophical as it
beseech rather the collective speculation for the unknown beyond allayed with anecdotal realizations
from his personal journey in navigating through this strange misty cloud of the hereafter. With characters
from his past paintings fleshed out in poly-chromed wood, acting as talismans, or as personal icons
symbolizing past events or as markers to personal milestones, belying the charm and whimsy of these carved menagerie incarnate it seem from a child's imagination, it welcomes this unknown in a rather
Foremost of these characters is the gatekeeper, a 6-foot figure in a pale torquoise dress with a bunny
head holding a golden key.
The other characters, usually gathered in threes, comprise of : wide-eyed tree stumps smiling despite
their being reminders of past environmental disasters , bubble-headed saplings with their arm-
branches raised up to signal hope and new beginnings; colorful bottles that are enlarged versions of
Tamondong's toy Paley Pils released and produced with Secret Fresh, pig-tailed girls and trucker-capped
boys with cyclop eyes riding on elongated quadripeds which all personify friends that had stood by the
artist's trials and jubilations.
There's also this trio of figures whose eyes are shut-closed but with shirts opened to reveal an all-seeing
heart, which are the 3D versions of Tamondong's painting " Sometimes The Heart Sees What The Eyes
Can Not See" , harping on the veracity of instinct.
The other figures are veiled moral lessons on excesses, human frailty and ecological imbalances that
threaten and cause this doomsday paranoia, as with the many-eyed giant toxic carrot that illustrate
the nightmare of genetically-modified food crops; the all ubiquitous burger mascot who personify and
entrench modern man into the pit of consumerism and making him a slave to his insatiable appetite;
and then there's Stuart Storm hovering above as a cloud with one eye, summoning rain from his open
palms - rain, as being both boon and bane based on being too much of it and being too wanting in times
Tamondong's alter-ego, Boxboy, makes its re-appearance, but all grown-up having seen and experienced
all, re-christened as well as The Weather King, being through hell and high water through his
meanderings and wanderings through his life's adventures, having weathered it all.
Middle of Nowhere will have its opening cocktails on 16th of December, 2012, Sunday at 6PM and will
be on view until January 8, 2013
Secret Fresh is at the Ground Floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan Metro
Secret Fresh is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 2-10 PM and Sundays from 1-6PM.
You may also contact Secret Fresh at 570-9815 loc 7.
visit the event page in Facebook here