What might not have occurred to anyone who saw the call for submissions for the project “Nothing to Declare” was how big it could be. And when I say big, I mean huge; I mean in terms of the kind of space it would require, in terms of the kind of curatorial agency it would be premised on.
Across the two museums and one gallery that carried the exhibit, the one that’s still running is at Yuchengco Museum—a good thing too, if we are to consider the kind of context it necessarily has there: in the company of the Botong Franciscos and the Juan Lunas, given too the ceiling to floor installation of falling paper rocks “Suspended Garden” by Tony Gonzales and Tes Pasola, that the museum has kept from an exhibit in 2010.
For if the point of “Nothing to Declare” as a project was to highlight our perennially changing notions of space and absence and loss in experiences rendered different by acts of movement and migration and inequality, then here where the weight of the Lunas and Franciscos can be had, the counterpoint to the transience is glaring. And this is ultimately what makes the trip to the Yuchengco Museum worth it.
<…> It would be the installation of two works though, “Ovoid/Void” by Nikki Luna and “Untitled” by Hanna Pettyjohn that infinitely fascinated. Pettyjohn’s wooden arrows seemed to have been randomly scattered and inevitably pointed in various and differing directions. These could be stepped on, like stepping stones that lead nowhere, even as the arrows would insist on direction. Scattered alongside these wooden arrows were fiberglass egg trays filled with eggs made of resin, stark white and also asking to be stepped on, like a version of walking on egg shells, literally, if not a tribute to the flimsy and unstable ground we all stand on. Together, Luna’s and Pettyjohn’s installations create a space where we are only as good as what our feet stand on, where stabilities—be these about knowing where to go or taking decisive steps—are everything and imagined, where the absence of one concrete path is precisely the presence of possibility.
read all of it here.