Opera

Gabriel Barredo
Silverlens, Manila

Video

About

    If the sleep of reason breeds monsters, then what would its total death produce in its wake? In the latest work of Gabriel Barredo, an installation collectively titled Opera, instead of offering comforting sermons, he invites us to view the body itself, asking us to confront the mortality of the corpse, to contemplate upon its passing and empathize if not make sense of its beauty. The processes of decay and its transformative power are presented with a forensic pathologist’s obsession to detail and an evangelical’s imagination for the fantastic that one can almost smell the scent of formaldehyde as much as the burning of candles. 
     
    But as much as Barredo has set up a place for mourning, he has also given us an altar for rebirth. He allows the light in to suffuse the environs he has created with an air of transcendence. One can glean through the tableaux of surgical instruments, exposed organs, and faces contorted at the height of their screams the palpable presence of the divine and the tranquility of release it bestows. Though there is no overt religious imagery and in its place only the implements of modern medicine on display, the secular space is one of communion. Amidst the slaughter and carnage, we are in the presence of the faithful departed. 
     
    And even if there is evidence of the grotesque and macabre, it is there to remind us of the horrors that we leave behind. 
     
    After all, the dead do not heed nor need our calls for meaning but rather hear them as the chatter and howls of animals.

    For this exhibition, the artist collaborated with Malek Lopez for the music and Jason Tam for the video. All music and video was produced by Erwin Romulo.

    Gabriel Barredo’s (b. 1957) work is to create entire opuses. He builds them through months of bricolage, sketching and painting, elevating his sculptures to nearly theatrical lengths, immersive for the viewer, featuring numerous pieces both large and small, some of them simple drawings, others motorised, along with object-led side-narratives -- with all of it accompanied by sound and light.* The highly reclusive artist has pioneered kinetic sculpture in the Philippines and his work is included in many important local collections.
    *Credits to Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

If the sleep of reason breeds monsters, then what would its total death produce in its wake? In the latest work of Gabriel Barredo, an installation collectively titled Opera, instead of offering comforting sermons, he invites us to view the body itself, asking us to confront the mortality of the corpse, to contemplate upon its passing and empathize if not make sense of its beauty. The processes of decay and its transformative power are presented with a forensic pathologist’s obsession to detail and an evangelical’s imagination for the fantastic that one can almost smell the scent of formaldehyde as much as the burning of candles. 
 
But as much as Barredo has set up a place for mourning, he has also given us an altar for rebirth. He allows the light in to suffuse the environs he has created with an air of transcendence. One can glean through the tableaux of surgical instruments, exposed organs, and faces contorted at the height of their screams the palpable presence of the divine and the tranquility of release it bestows. Though there is no overt religious imagery and in its place only the implements of modern medicine on display, the secular space is one of communion. Amidst the slaughter and carnage, we are in the presence of the faithful departed. 
 
And even if there is evidence of the grotesque and macabre, it is there to remind us of the horrors that we leave behind. 
 
After all, the dead do not heed nor need our calls for meaning but rather hear them as the chatter and howls of animals.

For this exhibition, the artist collaborated with Malek Lopez for the music and Jason Tam for the video. All music and video was produced by Erwin Romulo.

Gabriel Barredo’s (b. 1957) work is to create entire opuses. He builds them through months of bricolage, sketching and painting, elevating his sculptures to nearly theatrical lengths, immersive for the viewer, featuring numerous pieces both large and small, some of them simple drawings, others motorised, along with object-led side-narratives -- with all of it accompanied by sound and light.* The highly reclusive artist has pioneered kinetic sculpture in the Philippines and his work is included in many important local collections.
*Credits to Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

Installation Views

Artist Page

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