Alex De Moscoso — "Peripheral Visions"
20 May 2011 — 10 June 2011
The concept of ideology plays an important role in the aesthetics of radical literary critic, Gyorgy Lukacs (1885-1971). His key concept was that of reflection, establishing a rather mechanistic relationship between the forces of the economic and political base and the ideological and institution superstructure. Alexander Moscoso touches on the same theme as he appropriates ten paintings in western history sold to the historical highest bidder. With titles of works such as, "Peripheral Impression, Inversion, No. 5" or "Peripheral Impression, Inversion, Women III", It's safe to say that these paintings directly refer to Jackson Pollock's "No.5" sold in 2006 for 140 million dollars or "Women III" by Willem de Kooning for another record-breaking 137.5 million. Each of Moscso's work, inverted, erased, and appropriated using a solid polygon, painted with his bare hands. Seemingly a personal reconnaissance to a radical shift, and an exploration of space and volume.
In parallel comparison, the recent trend in the infiltration of Manila artists in the Asian art market cannot be denied. Manila is known for having high appraisals of art in the auction houses swept across the Asian art world over the past recent years. And while consumers find this gratifying — artists and intellectuals who are generally dissatisfied with authority and traditions in the institutionalized art world find this disconcerting. In this sense, even the Asian society has swallowed into finding value with artists not for their intrinsic worth but for the potential in industrial expansion. Lukacs writings however became a stalwart of reactionary thought, arguing that the preservation of the legacies of bourgeois culture would have to be an integral force within an emerging proletariat realism.
Moscoso shares, "I reproduced these works on canvas but set a variable by painting solid monochrome polygons on the middle to near periphery of the paintings and hanging them inversely. As the work progressed, I realized that these have become impressions of the original works instead of reproductions".
Inherent in the process of appropriation is the fact that the new work recontextualizes whatever it borrows. For instance, in the historical emergence of Dada, or the work of Duchamp, its innermost telos is to actively destroy traditional subject-object relationships. With Moscoso, he investigates by finding out the real statistics, internalizes his relationship with these data's and seethes a repressed nihilistic activity that can be an analysis towards dominant ideologies. As Moscoso states, "The progression of my work is dynamic to inquiry. For a particular inquiry to qualify for the pursuit of further exploration, it should be interesting and elicit passion. Looking back at my daily practice, I realized that certain work threads based on specific inquiry were explored and exhausted to the point of resolution.."
On the center of the canvas, a complete image of the appropriated work became devoid of visual detail in its simplicity. Nevertheless, Moscoso's counterstrokes reduced the painting's value to a smoothened tabula rasa. This in effect induced life-defines-work-defines-self phenomena where the visual void transforms itself into the phenomenology of perception. In this case, Moscoso provides us with the belief to see past our ideas about things, to let us experience the things in themselves.
Since the 1960's, art historians have not only differentiated general theories of ideology but have also elaborated the questions of how cultural production relates to the apparatus of ideology at-large. One of the most important debates among social art historians concerns the question of so-called high art or avant-garde practices relate to the emerging mass cultural formations of modernity. And while it is of course understood that these formation change continuously, the debate seems to come out as a lascivious cycle: a dialectic of art and commerce/ of intrinsic value and labor capital. It cannot be denied that Moscoso's body of work creates relevance, within the microcosm of Philippine art cliche, even stretching towards the macrocosm of Western art ideology.
- Lian Ladia, 2011