In Her Own Words

by in arts

 

 Identifying herself a lesbian, Lacorte tackled issues on gender and discrimination that inspired her works in solo and group exhibitions like Lesbianarama 2k1and Batu-batuhinangLangit, TapakanSinongMagagalit?(2001) in UP Diliman, Walang Kokontra (2002) in the Cultural Center of the Philippines with Anting-Anting artist group, TITAMARIAALMA(2002) in Surrounded by Water Gallery with Tita Lim, Maria Taniguchi and Alma Quinto, and Agi-anan: Visayas Biennale(2010) curated by Rueben Cañete in Cebu.

Her recent works focuses on the effects of globalization, particularly on the wastage and recycling of materials and found objects that turned into junk. She used painting and installation art as media in the transformation of these unused items into repurposed materials. Among her exhibitions that showed this series were Installations(2008) in Java Jazz Café, Tagaytay; Transit Story(2009) in GaleriaDuemila, Manila;Paleta: A Masters Thesis Exhibition(2010) in UP Diliman, Quezon City; in Cityzening (2012) andDezipcoding(2012) of Project Glocal curated by DayangYraola in Vargas Museum, UP Diliman and Singapore Art Museum respectively; and Self-Portraits (2015) in Altromondo at the Picasso, Makati. Lacorte was also one of the exhibiting artists in the 2014 Visayas Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA Excon) in Bacolod City.

My first major solo exhibition was a series of portraits done in oil pastel. These were portraits of my lesbian friends. The portraits were accompanied by a printed text of their dreams, as they wrote or verbalized them. That was in 1999.

In 2003, I did a wedding performance with my partner and another lesbian artist, Maita Beltran, officiated the ritual while dressed like a nun. If we did the complete ceremony “down to the last tearful petal” sabi nga ni Patrick Flores, then who says it’s not valid and why? I think this was the last work I did that dealt with lesbian issues. I have since moved on to other subjects, contents or concepts. Writing this forces me to look back and try to visually remember, hopefully, all that I have done as a visual artist.

The first medium I became familiar with was oil pastel. And then I tried using different materials depending on what I thought went better with what I wanted to say. I’ve used human hair that I swept from beauty parlors, coconut leaves, bamboo, cement as texture, packaging materials from export processing zones, recycled wood, printed tarpaulin, feathers, clay beads that I fired in barbecue style (charcoal sa ihawan), wax, metal, dried flowers, cotton from kapok trees, spices, paper cut-outs, plastic butterflies, and of course, traditional materials like graphite on paper and acrylic on canvas.I can’t say if my explorations with these materials were successful. Siguro, parang, sana!

 

Lacorte_Bulaklak 04 copy

 

In my latest solo exhibition of drawings titled Self-portraits in Altromondo at Picasso (May−June 2015), I used a simple medium like graphite, or what we simply call a pencil, and can render a message effectively. It’s a matter of finding the visual solution to your concept. For me, it takes a while to cultivate or process my visual solutions. Sometimes, I am attracted to objects I see in bangketa, surplus shops, junk shops or markets. I buy them, store them, and then one day, tadaaaa! Something clicks. Minsan wala. So now I have a few dozen wooden rulers, wooden spoons and palo-palo, one pail of turumpo, old glossy calendars and rubber buoys. I think I have more than 300 pieces of pencils I found on sale at MAKRO, the big store that closed down years ago, and I haven’t used up all those pencils, bundles of oil pastels from an old bookshop in Recto – how can you resist a one-peso per stick of branded oil pastel? I also came across glass leaves with metal as branch. I found big iron nails for trabiezas yata.

Then I read teaching forces you to read. That’s the upside of a “day job”. You view images repeatedly. Sometimes you’re in luck when a student asks a really brilliant question about a particular painting then everyone in the room benefits. Minsan naman it’s a brilliant answer, like “I want to learn how art changed the world.” That raised a lot of personal questions.

Living far from Manila, our art capital, I am now asking myself if one should really hold exhibitions regularly, meaning yearly so one does not “disappear” from the art scene. It’s not the lack of physical accessibility because I am only one hour away. I found so many spaces here that are really quiet. It affords me to sort things out, prioritize and not care about the system that we have become used to. I have several series of works that are yet to be finished—under the rambutan, durian, avocado, coconut, duhat and mango trees and surrounded by free-range chickens, birds, flying lizards, tuko and a choir of cicadas. Saan ka pa?

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