Re­al­ity check

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ART - By rOUWEN LIN star2@ thes­tar. com. my

WHAT is the face of de­cep­tion and ex­ploita­tion? In Christo­pher Zamora’s solo ex­hi­bi­tion, which opens to­day at HOM Art Trans in Kuala Lumpur, it is dark and brood­ing, and just a lit­tle creepy.

The eyes he paints gaze deep into your soul, sear­ing it with an icy burn and leav­ing a mark that will not wash out.

How ap­pro­pri­ate for this show, with its ti­tle, Ev­ery Breath You Take, bor­rowed from The Po­lice’s 1980s hit sin­gle of the same name.

“It is a stalker song,” says the 38- year- old artist from the Philip­pines.

De­spite it sound­ing very much like a love song, Zamora says, you have to delve deeper and you will see it for what it re­ally is.

Echo­ing a sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment, this col­lec­tion of 12 works draws upon political and eco­nomic ma­chin­ery and cri­tiques profit ac­cu­mu­la­tion sys­tems. It is a metaphor for how colonis­ers “stalk their tar­gets”.

“We are be­ing de­ceived, but the ma­nip­u­la­tion is dis­guised as a some­thing sweet and harm­less,” ex­plains Zamora.

To Zamora, who stud­ied fine arts at the Philip­pine Women’s Univer­sity, Ev­ery Breath You Take is a form of re­search, pre­sented pre­dom­i­nantly as oil on can­vas works. It is, in a way, a nar­ra­tive that ex­plores the habits of con­tem­po­rary colo­nial struc­tures – as ex­pressed by the in­di­vid­ual, by in­sti­tu­tions, and by a na­tion.

“There are three points that I want to ex­plore,” he adds. “First is the il­lu­sion cre­ated by cap­i­tal­ism or the cul­ture cen­tered on com­modi­ties. Se­cond, the ma­nip­u­la­tion, op­pres­sion and ex­ploita­tion of im­pe­ri­al­ist ag­gres­sion. Third, the break­ing or shattering of the il­lu­sion and strug­gling against the ex­ploita­tion.”

He be­lieves that there is a press­ing need for us to re­alise the ex­ploita­tion and stop it.

“If we con­tinue to see com­modi­ties as fetishes ( ob­jects given great value more than their inherent value),” he cau­tions, “then we al­low the ex­ploita­tion to con­tinue.”

The self- pro­fessed “punk and pedes­trian” artist, who prefers be­ing out and about on the streets to be­ing within the con­ve­nient con­fines of struc­tured spa­ces, shares that punk rock is a ma­jor in­flu­ence in his life.

“I used to be very ac­tive in the un­der­ground scene, hang­ing out with friends and skateboarding in my youth,” he re­lates.

No sur­prise then, that it is when he is part of the great out­doors, liv­ing life un­hin­dered, that he gets to best ob­serve the “re­al­i­ties of the peo­ple”.

“It makes me grounded as a per­son and an artist, and helps me cre­ate works that re­flect my ob­ser­va­tions and that peo­ple can re­late to,” he con­cludes.

Ev­ery Breath You take is on at HOM Art trans ( 6A, Jalan Cem­paka 16, Am­pang, Kuala Lumpur) till March 27. Gallery open­ing hours: 11am to 6pm ( tues­day to Satur­day). For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. homart­trans. com or call 012- 373 6004.

Zamora’s

( oil on can­vas, 2016).

( rust and acrylic on pa­per, 2016).

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