Common Oddities / Silverlens Gallery/2009
Subject / Object
9 June – 2 July 2009
Subject/Object, MM Yu’s latest solo exhibition of new photography-based works at Mag:net Gallery Katipunan, embarks on an experiment where the photograph embodies both the intentional and accidental, the found and the perceived.
In the show, Yu shares over a hundred photographs of random scapes and objects, shot in spaces inhabited by her contemporaries from the Philippine art scene: areas where the artistic and utilitarian, personal and professional, merge and create an interface.
Out of these visual investigations, Yu produces photographs of accidental sculptures or still lifes, perceiving uniqueness in the nondescript, intention in the incidental. Yu limits her interventions in the compositions to framing; she chances upon the scenes as they are in artist’s studios and homes, documenting what she sees at random, selecting frames based on visual impact and interest. She engages in a form of documentation that privileges intuition, aesthetics, and randomness.
Yu also includes in the show several actual objects, their ambiguous presence perhaps alluding to how subjects simultaneously become objects on display, and demonstrating the process of borrowing as a means of documenting presence.
Yu’s photographs also seamlessly pose the question of how the boundaries between art and “non-art” may not be so delineated after all. The artists implicitly represented in Yu’s photographs are noted for their diverse contributions to the advancement of Philippine contemporary art, yet none of their names are literally denoted or alluded to in the carefully composed and vivid images of spontaneous and generally anonymous settings, except for a few context clues related to their works. Yu intentionally puts less focus on artworks that hang on the gallery walls and focuses her lens on objects and spaces related to processes or activities prior to exhibitions or the production of actual works: desks, rooms, tables, exercise balls, tools, raw paint, the work wrapped up or in a state of completion.
In choosing inhabited spaces, personal effects, and artworks as subject of her photographs, Yu casts a new aspect to the act of documenting contemporary art practice.