Installation view of PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO’s “Flowers for X” at Yavuz Gallery, Singapore. Courtesy Yavuz Gallery.
Installation view of PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO’s “Flowers for X” at Yavuz Gallery, Singapore. Courtesy Yavuz Gallery.

Flowers for X

Patricia Perez Eustaquio

Yavuz Gallery
Philippines Singapore

Yavuz Gallery is currently featuring “Flowers for X,” a solo exhibition of works by Filipino artist Patricia Perez Eustaquio, whose fascinating multimedia practice ranges from installation, painting and sculpture to fashion and décor. Already established regionally, Eustaquio exhibited earlier this year at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, as part of its “emerging artists from emerging countries” program. At Yavuz, she grounded the exhibition by transliterating the symbolism of 17th-century vanitas still-life paintings (voluptuous botanicals, mirrors and skulls, dead game) into contemporary allegories involving mouldering petals, quirky spears and the remains of a butchered goat. And like their medieval precursors, the artist elevates her morbid symbols from temporal physicality to morality tale—one that revolves around the modern consumer and how we destroy things in order to use them: What, she asks, becomes of our earthly desires when we exhaust their possibilities utterly?

PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO, Untitled (Carcass), 2016, digital print on silk dupion, printed in England, 136 × 1000 cm. Courtesy Yavuz Gallery, Singapore.

At Yavuz, the artist presented six lavish oil paintings and several related installations (all works 2016). The painting series “Flowers for X” traces the progressive decline of a flower—a pulpy blossom fallen from a bouquet, then forgotten. Eustaquio layers thick brushstrokes of petal-forms onto large circular canvases—a shape ostensibly intended to suggest the cycle of life, but which also evokes the decorative relief of a memento mori. These large-scale paintings dominate the gallery in monochrome palettes—except for the first in the series, Flowers for X, I, where the depleted, vaguely erotic veiny petals are tinted pale pink and edged in velvety brown. From here, the series descends into the shadowy blacks, grays and subtle creams that imply rot. In its gradual stages of decay, the flower diminishes and transcends its original form by shriveling into unexpected topographies—the mind’s eye conjures up classical Chinese ink landscapes, perhaps; or shrouded, undulating bodies—that discreetly merge sensuality with distaste.

Within the gallery, Eustaquio injects a landscape of sorts with four untitled installations involving lengths of silk covered in digital prints: on the floor, three pools of silk meander amongst actual rocks; in Untitled (Carcass), an escarpment of silk cascades from the ceiling. The silks are saturated with ambiguous pattern and imagery: glimpses of exhausted petals, smudged tiles of an abattoir floor, and a discarded, flayed goat’s head are reminders of the detritus implicit with consumption. When parsing these images from within folds of tangled silk, the fabric’s sheen might be mistaken for the digitized detail of a glistening tendon.

As consumers, Eustaquio asserts, we are preoccupied with the acquisition of goods and become, in effect, voracious “hunter-gatherers,” as implied in Untitled (Spears). Described by the artist as a “botanical armada,” this is a lively assortment of about two dozen wannabe “spears,” each topped not with a blade, but with a jaunty plastic plant that exudes a childish, almost endearing impotence—fetishes of some misguided authority. Next to this “armada” are two plinths that display realistic white-plaster coconuts on scatterings of black salt, in what might be read as a droll nostalgia for the original, perfectly packaged “product.”

Eustaquio has previously affirmed that her work is “feminine,” and that this is “the language that I work in”—a stance clearly reflected in previous works that include idiosyncratic dress-form sculptures, and liberal use of resin-stiffened laces and sculptural fabrics. But in “Flowers for X,” the artist chooses the vernacular of transience—reflected, literally, in her engraved mirror-work, Untitled, with its classic vanitas implications of superficiality and impermanence. Eustaqio’s gentle imagery of decadence and change beyond comprehension affirms how our gratuitous appetites define and debase our realities.

PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO, Flowers For X, I, 2016, oil on canvas, d: 152.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Yavuz Gallery, Singapore. 

Patricia Perez Eustaquio “Flowers for X” is currently on view at Yavuz Gallery, Singapore until December 18, 2016.

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