INFINITUM, the artist Pinggot Zulueta’s latest art exhibition, is a continuation of his autobiographical journey into introspection. This exhibit is the fourth in a series – inclusive of ‘Melankolia’ (2020), Katharsis (2017) and Incepto (2016) – whereby the artist presents his inner upheavals as a sentient being. As the series matures, and with the passing of time, the artist has gained deeper insights through an ability to see the outside inwardly.
The meaning of Infinitum (or Ad Infinitum) is ‘without end or limit’. The adage ‘art imitates life and life imitates art’ is an endless philosophical loop, and one that the artist’s works corroborate with. However, ‘infinitum’ may be a difficult concept to grasp as the world continues to grapple with a pandemic. Amidst the crisis, artistic expressions have evolved, including those of the artist whose works had been subdued by intense questions about human existence and survival. In solidarity with various form of anguish, his artworks are presented in exuberant fields of black and white, as if shades of darkness are spreading into infinity.
INFINITUM is a series of ink drawings on paper, a medium that allows the artist to devote himself to his craft for countless hours. The artworks present a confluence of emotions, including despondent expressions about the grim realities of this segment in human history. “During the years of isolation, my resolve was to document how the pandemic was affecting me and others, including the not-so-subtle realisation that our mortality is real. I had been more conscious of the creeping dangers to everyone, including to my family and friends. Sino ang may bertud at hindi tinatablan ng covid? Maraming kaibigan ang biglang naglaho … sino ang susunod? Panalangin ang palaging sinasambit upang mapakalma ang sarili. I saw the world in ‘black and white’, which disposition had resonated in my artworks.” The solitude and isolation from the seemingly endless days of the pandemic had been challenging; however, the artist had prevailed in projecting his mind forward to resist fixation on the immediate moment.
INFINITUM is a collection of artworks depicting various states of intense and conflicting emotions. The artist used surreal symbolism to draw in viewers into an immersive visceral experience, whilst challenging their perceptions and perspectives. The artworks are expressions of the artist’s innermost thoughts and defy any categorisation. “My work is inherently subconscious. I get lost in the pure enjoyment of creating. Through the artworks, I have expressed and affirmed my sensibilities which otherwise would have eluded capture.”
The artist believes that art has something to say about the human condition. Keeping our destructive instincts at bay is what we need to do if we wish to preserve the fabric of our society and the very essence of human survival. When we are in a state of mind, in which things are not resolved into conventional categories, we are more likely to see new possibilities. “I have always painted whenever I felt the need to understand the underlying forces around my existence. The recent pandemic has created a more intense awareness of our mortality, as we make deliberate choices as to what is important. In a way, there was this ‘collective introspection’ that happened, where human beings stopped to reflect on the little things that make a huge difference in our lives. It was a collective effort that unified the world into defeating the pandemic.” The artist invites the viewers to engage in a process of individual and collective introspection, and to allow various levels of contemplation to generate it. Together, our collective resilience and survival is limitless.
V E Zulueta