Ground of Play
The first-ever collaboration of Blanc Gallery and Vinyl on Vinyl (VOV), Ground of Play is a group exhibition simultaneously shown in both art spaces and featuring each other’s respective roster of artists in a spirit of exchange, dialogue, and mutual support. As the title of the show goes, this exhibit emphasizes the multi-fangled notion of play: the exuberance of tinkering and creating things, the risk of improvising and forging new paths, and the exhilaration of finding sources of energy so long untapped.
Eschewing the idea of limits, the shared exhibition lays bare how institutional parameters—which offer practical comforts in ordinary times—may be negotiated, expanded, and merged in order to come up with new contexts on how artists create and present their works, how viewers see and experience art, and how galleries enact their roles and responsibilities in the eco-system that is the art world. If there is one thing that 2020 has made evident is how systems and structures exist in a perpetual state of fragility. Rather than withdrawing unto themselves, Blanc and VOV have opened their doors to each other and welcomed each other’s artists, thereby making a fresh opening in which fresh ideas may traverse and circulate.
The represented artists have engaged with the meaning of “play” both as a noun and as a verb. From trying out new materials and techniques to considering themes they have not previously explored to looking into non-conventional forms and formats, the artists have recalibrated their visual thinking, teased new threads of expressiveness, and introduced vigor to the surface of the work. This surface is where the act of “play” has been so gloriously performed and manifested—the literal “ground” of the title.
Metaphorically, this “ground, is the shared space of Blanc and VOV whose two points arch over the metropolis: Quezon City and Makati City. The exhibition in the two galleries, of course, may be viewed side-by-side in the digital space, collapsing their spatial divide. What Ground of Play offers is a sense of resonance and concurrence between these art spaces despite their individual features and unique identities. That their respective artists have agreed to this exhibition-as-experiment proves that there are ways to carve out pockets of interaction and subvert isolationism and the oft-used term “social distancing” in the light of the still-raging pandemic.
Rather than hewing to the tried-and-tested, the templated, the traditional, the artists—propelled by the velocity of play, of making art for its own sheer enjoyment, of coming up with rules as one goes—provide possibly the most logical way of confronting the unpredictability of the coming days, which is, of course, to embrace it with a kind of radical and fool-hardy optimism. In this context, chance is a precious as technique; exploration is as weighted as fluency. When the old assurances no longer hold gravity, the future readily reveals the glint of myriad possibilities. Ground of Play is an invitation to have a glimpse of the world as it is being remade. –Carlomar Arcangel Daoana