, June 24, 2024

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TRAVEL LIGHT by Pete Jimenez


  •   4 min reads
TRAVEL LIGHT by Pete Jimenez

Pete Jimenez's latest installation art exhibit on view until June 27, 2024

TRAVEL LIGHT

In his latest exhibition, Travel Light, Pete Jimenez presents anew the installation that served as one of spatial and visual anchors in the concluded ALT Philippines. Departing from the title, A City on a Hill Cannot Be Hidden, this current iteration makes more pronounced the artist’s manifesto for a life predicated not on consumerism but divestment: the ability to knife off the excess and live with only the barest of provisions. The subtitle cannot be anymore clear: “Take nothing for your journey — Keep it simple.  No bag, no bread, no money.”

The work itself refurbishes large cements bags—all 40 of them—transformed into raggedy pockets of light. Arrayed intuitively in the gallery space, they appear as a congregation of otherworldly entities or, possibly, an army of bioluminescent underwater creatures. Whatever associations one may think of, they appear as unitary, bound by a former incarnation as carriers of the building blocks of civilization.

The cement they once carried is now the structural foundation of houses, buildings, cities. Discarded as soon as they fulfilled their tasks, they were eventually used as the appropriate receptacles of junk. Roomy, sturdy, and easy to store, they were hoisted on the backs of scavengers as they looked for potential treasures in the trash: objects that could still be used, recycled, sold off.


Now presented and perceived as art, these bags now serve as the credible argument for the artist’s instruction of traveling light. In the empty space that once carried cement and waste, radiance radiates. With no burden to convey, they are quite literally light, as in easy to transport, and within the darkened environment of the gallery, they even look buoyant, like weather balloons floating in the atmosphere.


For the artist, as evidenced by this work as well as his practice, there is dignity in objects that remains and persists despite the countless recycles. Hence, one only needs a capacious imagination to breathe life into things, without destroying their materiality. Sometimes, all one needs is light: to clarify, to illuminate, to make something transcendent.

Travel Light is a reminder that something good in us also remains and persists and doesn’t require maintenance by the constant influx of material things that Capitalism has made us believed. The lack, if it’s not perverse such as in poverty, can be uplifting, as one no longer needs to struggle with the burden of possessions. This is a radical belief, endorsed by all the great religions and personified by these sacks: luminous, whole, and self-contained.

-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana


About the Artist

Pete Jimenez (born 1960) is a visual artist with a substantial body of work in the field of sculpture.  He has held 24 solo exhibitions in Manila since 2000 and participated in several group exhibitions in Manila, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

He studied at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UP Diliman) where he majored in Visual Communications.

After college, he worked as assistant artist of cartoonist, National Artist for Visual Arts, Larry Alcala.

Pete Jimenez worked in the advertising production/post production industry in RS Video as graphic artist/animation (1983-1985); Unitel Production as animation director (1986-1990); Optima Digital as animation director/digital artist (1990-1997) and became its operations manager (1997-2010) and President (2010-2020). At the age of 60, he retired from the advertising industry.

Pete Jimenez was a Regional Finalist in the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) 1998 Centennial Painting competition.

For two consecutive years (2013 & 2014), he won Second (2ND) Place in the GSIS – AAP Annual Art Competition’s SCULPTURE CATEGORY.

Pete Jimenez was shortlisted in the 2013 Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Fellowship Grant for New York City.

Jimenez was featured in several art reviews by well-known art critic Cid Reyes’ long-running art column, Gallery-Hopping (Manila Chronicle). His past solo shows were also reviewed in the Art and Lifestyle sections of the Philippine Inquirer from 2003 to 2010.  In 2011, he was featured in an article, entitled Wizardly Welder, in the January issue of World Sculpture News Magazine.

Jimenez is among the few Filipino sculptors who has consistently explored the qualities of scrap metal as a medium, transforming rusty and discarded shards from junk shops into visual puns and garage-produced gems.

He transforms hard intractable materials like iron into sculptural statements of wit and whimsy, mirth and merriment.  Through the dynamics of imaginative collage-configuration, disparate pieces of raw material, divorced from their original context, find themselves in a new reality.  This is sculptural alchemy that is as formal as it is playful, wrought in the wonder of creation.

He demonstrates his versatility by summoning totally unforeseen and unexpected results.  Jimenez judiciously mediates between the dysfunction of three-dimensional debris and their need to find meaning in their sudden, new arrangement.

Pete Jimenez lives and works in Manila, Philippines and is happily married to Lissa Bataclan and are blessed with two lovely daughters named, Frances and Julia.


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