Re_ by STPI is a series of multi-platform viewing rooms. It brings together a selection of works from STPI’s inventory, placing them in new constellations for us to relook at them in fresh contexts. With a different focus for each iteration, the presentations will be refreshed regularly throughout the year. Having concluded our first three runs at ArtSpace@HeluTrans, we are pleased to be bringing the next few editions back to STPI’s own premises.
We invite you to come down, or visit us online on Artsy, to Re_Visit, Re_View and Re_Connect with us.
Satire as Commentary: Heri Dono, Kim Beom, Manuel Ocampo, Ronald Ventura
Satire—the use of humour, wit, irony and exaggeration to reveal the shortcomings of its subject matter—is a widely-used mechanism by artists to articulate their concerns. Incisively delivering pertinent critique behind its comical veneer, satire is a potent tool that is at once engaging and accessible, yet revelatory and analytical in its examination of the issues at hand. At STPI, past residency artists have similarly employed this technique in the works created during their time here, of which a selection is presented for Satire as Commentary.
Heri Dono, The Clown Who Becomes The Clown’s Vehicle, 2015
In his print and paper explorations, Indonesian artist Heri Dono creates a whimsical world of distortions and humour, populated by components from wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) and pop culture to produce fantastic and absurd narratives. Behind this playful satire are commentaries on socio-political issues and human behaviour, which the artist skillfully presents on canvas to great emotive effects.
Kim Beom, Rats and Bats Wallpaper Positive Medium (from ‘Interior Items for Tyrants’), 2016
Korean artist Kim Beom uses playful imagery to compel the audience away from taking things at face value via his characteristically comic and subversive style. Through assigning his cyanotypes and Vandyke prints (the former depicting an architectural blueprint and the latter, the architectural subject itself) with humorously absurd titles like Residential Watchtower Complex for Security Guards and A Floor Plan for Public Toilet, Kim uses humour to raise penetrating questions on surveillance, the “public” and more.
Manuel Ocampo, The Puritan Longing to Burn Heretics By The Young, 2018
Philippine artist Manuel Ocampo’s often chaotic and violent composition responds to a global culture of image production and consumption in flux. At STPI, he brings together an amalgamation of signs and symbols that, when placed together, elicits a dark humour which critiques identity and versions of culture, particularly the global culture of image production and consumption in flux.
Ronald Ventura, Point of Know Return 2, 2012
Bringing his bold and dynamic aesthetic sense to STPI, Philippine artist Ronald Ventura explored the overarching theme of nature and its depleting resources through layering pop culture and classical painting references with signifiers of destruction. Through these paradoxical pairings, one is at once bemused by the ironic use of such iconographies while at the same time, punctured by the gravity of the artist’s message.
Deftly encapsulating the depth of their enquiry into concise visuals and concepts, the works by these artists invite us to join in the joke before astutely pulling the curtains back.