Reality Check

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In unison, artists Carlo Aranton, Ioannis Sicuya, and Adeo Sta. Juana fashion an answer to the question of existence that has preoccupied us for ages. The unwieldy query on being and fate eludes a definitive answer yet leads the artists to an interesting approach in crafting a response. Reality Check seemingly employs the methods of hard science and culls from its use of models, tool kits, and experiments in its attempts to graph the ways of fate and human understandings of reality and truth. This artistic process built upon shifts and states of flux results to a vision of the world shaped by an inherent volatility and randomness.

Carlo Aranton’s suite of works investigates the workings of the human psyche. With accuracy, he plots the randomness of choice in Four and Twenty Million Doors, a perspective projection plan drawn using blue carbon on canvas. Here and in several other works, he examines the profound forces that drive our dreams and desires, our longing for pleasure and infliction of pain, on ourselves and others. He best captures the underlying conflicts of worldly pursuits and our chances of survival in a world dogged by these very same ambitions. He shows precision’s more mutable face and its reliance on chance and the arbitrary.

Tool kits and puzzles shape the narrative of Ioannis Sicuya’s works. Presented as case studies, the puzzles represent the preoccupations of five imagined individuals. Ranging from love, luck, beauty, security, and mortality, their real life manifestations are transformed into dangerous obsessions. Sicuya painstakingly pieced part and parcel of these fixations in representative emblems. These include an hourglass, the human heart, a lit and melting candle, among others. He recalls an interesting facet of contemporary life, that of images becoming signifiers of existence. He amplifies this reality in a set of ‘tool kits’. “Intelligent Design Tools” are packed assemblies of functional objects which after prolonged consideration do not exactly reveal clarity of purpose. The kits function as metaphoric devices for narratives of human lives.

Adeo Sta. Juana on the other hand explores myth making and the fabrication of idols in his cast panels “Estray Inutosmay Ilagromay”. He uses the ubiquitous instant noodle to represent the folly of instant gratification. As these manufactured food items produce illusory satiation, as do other means that ignore process and natural laws of concession. He brings attention to the cast-mould technique that relies as much on negative space in the making of a positive imprint. The panels Sta. Juana constructs make the altar before which we blindly worship the fatal idols of insatiable greed and petrified empathy.

Altogether, Aranton, Sicuya and Sta. Juana revive the rudimentary questions of existence and reframe the centuries-old query in novel and engaging forms. Their art underscores the fact that these concerns remain relevant to an age overwhelmed by unprecedented progress yet marred by harrowing upheavals.
All three artists are Fine Arts graduates of the University of the Philippines- Diliman. They have participated in several group exhibitions and have received citations for their student projects. Aranton, Sicuya and Sta. Ana have variously received recognition for their works in student competitions.

Tin-aw Art Gallery is at the Upper Ground Floor, Somerset Olympia, Makati Avenue corner Sto. Tomas Streets, Makati. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10AM to 6PM. For information contact gallery staff at and (+632) 892.75.22. Website : Admission is free.

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