which is not to say i don’t enjoy it, these small exhibits that are premised on the creative process of artists, where their artmaking is what’s pushed to the fore, and used as / become the objects of art. in Felix Bacolor’s Leavings one of the smaller West Gallery spaces is turned into an art studio of sorts, with no dirt on the floor or walls, no semblance of work being done, other than well, in the work that’s installed: on the walls, on the floor, against the post in the middle of the room.
probably the only sense of this not being an installation of an artist’s studio is its cleanliness. those fancy floors against stark white walls, ones that are untouched by the dirty and random that are on the art installations. surely this can only be an exhibit of what was left behind in the task of art making, what was transferred from one artist studio to the gallery, what was made from remnants into tadah! art installations. that the latter is only dictated by the existence of this work in this particular space is old hat of course.
but that in the process of celebrating what is left behind, and making these into “works of art” Leavings forces those quotations marks into existence, is what can only be most interesting. for knowledge of the gallery system’s ability at labeling anything and everything as art, also forces one into a discussion about artists and their own agency in the making and establishment of art and art forms as valid and true.
in this instance, Bacolor’s “art installations” bank, not on a different rendering of what are the remnants of art making, but on rendering it almost as it is, without the dirt and grime and activity in an artist’s studio. yet it’s also clear that it banks on our sense of the backdrop against which art is created, where bottles of San Miguel Beer and softdrinks and cans of paint, crumpled cigarette packs and sytrofore cups riddle notion of creativity.
that the artist as someone who needs nicotine, and alcohol, and caffeine in his body — tons of it — in creating art is what this space generates into being. it’s an artist who has left behind remnants of his artmaking, with dirty gloves, paper and canvasses on which colors are tested, a bundle of wooden sticks / art tools randomly tied together.
it’s an artist who, on the one hand could say he had thought this into fruition, where none of these are in fact remnants or leavings of the artist’s creative process. it’s also an artist who could be laughing his head off at having made an exhibit out of the literal vestiges of what are his real works, like an exhibit that came out of having to work on another exhibit — the real one.
of course i’d rather this was about the latter. but i might be wishing for too much.