In this first edition of Languid Powwows, our ambassador, Simkin de Pio, chats with controversial artist Brian Sergio at the latter's Fairview, Quezon City house.
LAST November 29, curious about what happened during a recently-closed controversial show at a Metro Manila gallery, we hastened to interview the show's featured artist, Brian Sergio. Our managing editor, painter Simkin de Pio, did the job of interrogating Sergio at his hideaway in Fairview, Quezon City under the cover of night, with crickets serving as accompaniment during the final minutes of the conversation. The whole thing resulted in the following audio podcasting material for this first salvo of our series, which we divided into seven parts, seven audio files. So, here we go:
"That was Vinluan's time. . . . Si Vinluan, yun ang dinaanan nila, e. They had to write."
PART 1 OF 7: NOT ART
In this first audio clip from the interview, Sergio instantly talks about self-censorship, what is art and what is not, Robert Mapplethorpe, writing about one's show, one of his shows' being cut short due to requests from offended Catholic sentiments, a curious mom's positive critique, his art's thesis, his art's growth since his Pablo Gallery show, other artists doing nudes, and women and vanity in classical painting.
"What she said was, like, this is not art."
PART 2 OF 7: SAFE ART
Meanwhile, in this next audio clip, Sergio talks about shunga, erotic art in history, pornography, the memory's painting on photographs, the self in black and white photography, GABRIELA, and denials of reality.
"Actually, yung mga works ko nga do'n, sobrang safe na nga 'yon, e."
PART 3 OF 7: CENSORED
In this third clip, we hear Sergio talk about art as investigation, understanding, and acceptance (of truth and the real); about his interview with a Copenhagen-based media entity; the West Gallery censorship of some of his photos; a collector's preference; Planting Rice, the curatorial platform; art cliques; "explorers of sexuality" in hiding; Mark Salvatus; a "transgressive" label for his art; subjects for his next shows; studying the subject; the documentary Walang Rape sa Bontoc; a friend's criticism; and the subculture that is his present subject.
"Yeah, but they censored me. Yeah! They took out some of the photos there."
PART 4 OF 7: SHOCK ART
And in this next clip, Sergio talks about friends, long Facebook thread discussions, a gutsy Jeff Koons work, catching up with the times, artists who use art as a living instead of for serious explorations, subsidizing one's art, the magnification versus the shock motive, "imitating" obscure but existing subcultures, non-denial, the death of artistry with the cessation of exploration, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, staying in Manila, his Bruce Nauman-inspired 2001 Vargas Museum show, and Roberto Chabet.
"I don't think his intention was to shock people on those. I mean, those were the things that he was---, parang, he wanted to combine things."
PART 5 OF 7: ACTIONS, AUCTIONS
The night is getting older, with the crickets starting to go crazy, and our managing editor and Sergio start talking about painter Marcel Antonio who became a Sergio fan along with Ferdie Cacnio; further details of the West Gallery censorship; art as a commodity/business; Ronald Ventura and hype; young artists' dreams of becoming another Ventura, urged by the market trends to go international and hype about them; his participation in the 2014 Singapore Zentai Art Festival; and his show in Detroit.
"I sell at auction houses. . . . Actually, hindi ko naman pinangarap ang auction house."
PART 6 OF 7: PROMOTION
And, here, beneath the chirping of crickets, de Pio and Sergio continue talking about the provincialism of self-promotion, which talk soon segues into other sanguine topics: Facebook art group postings, fruit and flower painters, the Book Ends show at Blanc, writers, wordsmithing, thesis writing, then-UP-College-of-Fine-Arts-dean Nestor Vinluan, Ronald Ventura's absent thesis, a Ronald Ventura show in Hong Kong, and Sergio's happiness from just doing what he's doing.
"Puwede namang maging proud, e, pero you don't have to, like, brag about a lot of things."
PART 7 OF 7: BEYOND TRADITION
In this closing part of our interview with Sergio, we talk about going beyond the status quo (the traditional way of doing things) towards an ideal, stuff like what Anna Labrador's reviews used to do, what the SM Megamall Artwalk used to be, what Galerie Anna became, and what direction ManilArt and another new art fair is promising. That's it!! [ d ]
"Umokey nga sila. Dati kasi hindi, e. Parang traditional, e."
BRIAN SERGIO GALLERY
PREVIEW PHOTOS OF WHAT WILL BE IN AN UPCOMING SERGIO ZINE TITLED "DIARIOS EROTICOS":
2013 SERGIO PAINTED-OVER PHOTOGRAPHS, ALL UNTITLED 36 X 24 INCHES:
2010 BRIAN SERGIO SKETCHES, ALL PENCILS ON PAPER 8.5 X 11 INCHES:
PHOTOS FROM SERGIO'S FIRST OFFICIAL SOLO SHOW TITLED "CRAPOLA SERIES" (2009):
PHOTOS FROM "READYMADE REMAKES 1999-2002":
A RAW YET-UNPAINTED SERGIO PHOTO:
SERGIO'S KISHIN SHINOYAMA-INSPIRED VIDEO PROJECT TITLED "DIFFERENTIAL (AFTER KISHIN)" --- CLICK BELOW:
Jojo Soria de Veyra is the editor of diskurso.com.
Simkin de Pio is a painter and the acting managing editor of diskurso.com.
Interview article text © 2014 Vicente Ignacio S. de Veyra III. All rights reserved.
Photo of the artist © 2014 Simkin de Pio. All rights reserved.
All other photos © Brian Sergio. All rights reserved.
© 2014-2016 diskurso art magazine online. all rights reserved.
diskurso is an independent, Philippines-based online magazine on art aiming to veer away from a present mental landscape replete with the customary peacock and weasel words that continue to service the art industry.