The abovementioned blog started a dialogue between Antonio’s art as well as intent (of unintent) and de Veyra’s reading, culminating in a late-2011 collection titled “Desire, Ennui, Anxiety” which was showcased last February 6 and will last until the 25th at the Yuchengco Museum.
This title for Antonio’s new series does not so much signal a change in his art’s direction as clarify where de Veyra’s reading is right and where it needs to be tweaked. For instance, while de Veyra opts for a Barthesian “variety of narrative possibilities,” Antonio’s pragmatic knowledge of his audience allows/welcomes two basic approaches to his art.
The one approach favours rigid symbolist readings, especially as Antonio is himself attracted to the “monumental” (Antonio’s term) figure common among utopian-art compositions (of Wagnerian glorifications, classical idealism, Nazi art, Stalinist totalitarian art, socialist realism, etc.) as well as in advertising art or the idealizations of soft porn.
But, for the other approach, Antonio acknowledges that de Veyra is right about his—Antonio’s—own efforts to frustrate, so to speak, all symbolist and narrative approaches, via experimentations with juxtapositions/relations and eclectic allusions. These experimentations, appropriations, and art-history quotes result in a dehumanized atmosphere, involving such stuff as machine esthetics and the usual facial expressions of ennui and boredom, all moving towards Antonio’s intended postmodernist multiplicity of meanings.
A final stamp to this anti-narrative effort to “recover the sensation of life” (Victor Shklovsky) is the artist’s devotion to the coloration of Diego Velázquez or Chagall as well as the latent abstract geometrics beneath all his pseudo-narrative stagings. V.I.S. de Veyra joins Antonio in this exhibit with fourteen new poems printed in the exhibition catalogue. Witness the Marcel Antonio art work until February 25, 2012.