TBD

Miguel Lorenzo Uy

1 - 30 June 2024

Curated by 

1 - 30 June 2024
TBD | MO_Space

To give context to this new body of work, I have this video project last 2022 where I filmed architectural features of different commercial establishments like shopping malls and office buildings around central business districts of Metro Manila. As the visual narrative unfolds, the edifices pan and move around the different frames and scenes as if appearing like parts of a colossal spaceship. In this current iteration, I wanted to evoke the essence of tapestries, imbuing the work with both a sculptural depth and a quality of flatness and two-dimensionality. The fabric utilized possesses a reflectorized coating, its luminosity waxing and waning with the viewer's perspective and positioning within the space.

This thematic synergy extends to the accompanying sound piece, "Breath of the Spectre," an EP conceived specifically for this exhibition. Comprising of distinct segments or tracks, each element, from the drum beats to the plucked strings, is intricately woven from the fabric of language itself, generated through AI algorithms under my direction. The haunting melodies of the lead saxophone are crafted from found footage: snippets culled from cinematic, oratorical, and archival sources. While articulating the comprehensive conceptual and technical underpinnings of this exhibition proves challenging, each track within the EP serves as a poignant commentary on various facets of the broader artistic oeuvre on display.

Horror Has A Face

Taken from the 1979 war film "Apocalypse Now," this excerpt, reimagined through saxophone, encapsulates the haunting monologue delivered by the film's central antagonist, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Within his narrative lies a chilling account of disillusionment and moral decay, recounting a humanitarian mission—administering polio vaccinations to children—only to witness the grotesque mutilation of their inoculated limbs on the orders of another officer. Though fictional, such a portrayal veers into the reality of the unimaginable and the unspeakable, delving into horrors beyond the bounds of comprehension.

Colonel Kurtz's discourse delves into the intricate interplay of morality and horror, presenting them as diametric yet intertwined forces. He posits that in the crucible of warfare, a soldier must reconcile the necessity of committing abhorrent acts with an eerie detachment, devoid of remorse or moral judgment. Analogous to machinery, this soldierly embodiment must operate with ruthless efficiency while maintaining a veneer of humanity and sanity. Like a cog within a well-oiled machinery, it must remain both indispensable and disposable, adaptable in design and pragmatic in function.

Amidst this exploration lies the enigmatic notion of the "phantom center," a spectral presence permeating the space. The horror evoked by this composition transcends the confines of fiction, serving as a visceral reminder of the unseen forces that perpetually lurk within the mundane fabric of existence, awaiting unsuspecting moments to manifest their chilling reality.

He Leadeth Me/Psalm 23

This archival recording from 1919 encapsulates a poignant recital of the 23rd Psalm followed by a choir's rendition of the hymn 'He Leadeth Me.' Renowned for its opening invocation, "the Lord is my shepherd," Psalm 23 evokes the image of the Shepherd, a transcendent and omnipotent force. Yet, this force transcends mere allegiance or belief; it captivates, sustains, and nurtures both body and soul, ultimately with the subtle design of exploitation. Analogous to the invisible hand of the market, it orchestrates the destinies of societies.

The 'superstructures' of society dangle by the delicate thread of this unseen puppeteer, akin to a fine fishing line poised to ensnare its quarry. It permeates the realm of the imperceptible, like the wind or the breath of life itself. However, unlike mortal lungs, it knows no exhaustion. Existing beyond the confines of mere flesh or machinery, it straddles the realms of the physical and the digital. As long as power courses through its veins, it shall persist in its ceaseless symphony.

Silent Night

"Silent Night," a perennial favorite during the Yuletide season, narrates the sacred night of Jesus Christ's birth, the revered prophet and eventual sacrificial lamb for humanity's redemption. Central to this narrative is the figure of the Virgin Mary, epitomizing obedience and submission, emblematic of a social contract, or a profound societal covenant. Within this rich tapestry of lore lies a juxtaposition of grandiose prophecy heralding salvation and paradise, alongside the expectation of unwavering faith and compliance.

The rendition of "Silent Night" evokes a profound sense of tranquility and anticipation, capturing the essence of joy and serenity inherent in the impending arrival of the so-called 'savior.' Presented through a raw and unrefined lens, the aged recording, replete with its imperfections—dust, scratches, and ambient noise—imbues the piece with a haunting authenticity. This deliberate choice seeks to evoke a mood of surrender, loss, and mourning, transforming the jubilant melody of a child's birth into a solemn requiem.

Set against a backdrop of slow, cool jazz, the song becomes a somber reflection on the encroaching darkness, punctuated by a moment of profound silence—a tangible frequency that permeates the senses, like the aftermath of a deafening blast of violent energy that bursted right through our ears.

Do Not Despair

Reimagined as a saxophone rendition, the iconic final soliloquy of Adenoid Hynkel (portrayed by Charlie Chaplin) from the 1940 film "The Great Dictator" delves into the timeless complexities of human nature, resonating with poignant relevance even in contemporary times. Addressing themes ranging from the insidious grip of greed to metaphors of mechanization and commodification, the speech serves as a rallying cry against the backdrop of globalized modernity.

Amidst the bleakness of the human condition, there exists a glimmer of hope—a subtle illumination that, when observed under the perfect conditions, reveals the inherent vibrancy of existence. Yet, this luminosity is tampered. It is parallel with the perpetual cycle of despair and renewal, symbolized by the incomplete arc of destiny—an eternal recurrence that echoes throughout the ages.

The transformation of the speech into a saxophone rendition imbues it with a sense of ambiguity and abstraction, veiling its original meaning in a shroud of musical interpretation. Set against the backdrop of bebop jazz, the track invites listeners to engage with its rhythm and vibrations, transcending the confines of scripted narrative. Within this fluidity, the phantom performers navigate the invisible structures and unwritten rules of the genre, improvising and harmonizing with one another in the dance of life.

Exhibition Documentation

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  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Superstructures
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    UV print on reflectorized fabric
    approx. 75 x 133 cm
    2024
  • Breath of the Spectre
    Miguel Lorenzo Uy
    Sound (stereo)
    8 tracks: 21 min 53 sec
    2024
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Video Catalogue

About the Artist

About the Artists

Miguel Lorenzo Uy

Artist portrait courtesy of Ateneo Art Gallery
Miguel Lorenzo Uy

As society continues to rapidly evolve, his artistic practice follows the phenomena that go with it as well, currently exploring the role and paradoxes of technology, media, and globalization within the struggles of individuality, identity, and independence. The themes found in his work stem from the society in which he lives in, forming questions that address immediate concerns with regard to (religious) beliefs and conventions, (media) consumption and production, and the volatile possibilities in the future that have yet to unfold.

His works shift between different mediums: from painting to photography, sculpture to video, and digital to installation. His 2021 solo exhibition ‘I Am That I Am’ was shortlisted in the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards Fernando Zobel Prize for Visual Art.

About the Artists

About the Artist

As society continues to rapidly evolve, his artistic practice follows the phenomena that go with it as well, currently exploring the role and paradoxes of technology, media, and globalization within the struggles of individuality, identity, and independence. The themes found in his work stem from the society in which he lives in, forming questions that address immediate concerns with regard to (religious) beliefs and conventions, (media) consumption and production, and the volatile possibilities in the future that have yet to unfold.

His works shift between different mediums: from painting to photography, sculpture to video, and digital to installation. His 2021 solo exhibition ‘I Am That I Am’ was shortlisted in the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards Fernando Zobel Prize for Visual Art.

Miguel Lorenzo Uy

Artist portrait courtesy of Ateneo Art Gallery

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