Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Nazis mounted the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich in 1937 displaying modern artworks alongside drawings by the mentally retarded and photographs of the physically handicapped, accompanied by damning slogans written on the walls. The paintings were arranged chaotically, deliberately awkward, overfilled and crowded together, some unframed and many hung by a cord.

Using similar tactics but with wholly different aims, Jayson Oliveria’s second exhibit at 1335 Mabini shows a maelstrom of images and texts that assault the senses making you experience something like visual agnosia, a condition where you can see but cannot recognize or interpret visual information due to a neurological disorder.

In these paintings you can perceive familiar but unusual figures or disfigurements such as a cobweb over blue balls, a smiling scrotum, a dinosaur bone that looks like a pair of balls on top of boobs covered in cream beside an African woman with tribal scars, two pussies in one person, one-eyed sperm, a gnome flipping a finger, a mother breastfeeding a snake and a duck, architectural cigarettes, an extra limb, an extra finger, a palm tree with “nuts” growing out of a hand, cosmetic surgical outline for a harelip job, an obscured heart with textual sound effects, enlarged shapes of viruses as seen under a microscope, pictures of pets placed over pre-humans purportedly missing links in the evolutionary chain, and ominous texts of disease and illness.

These works on paper flash in the mind and mark the memory long after you stop looking, punching a hole in your thinking like malaria, polydactyly, vaginal septum, polymelia, dwarfism... And like wit, money, charm or beauty, “Some of us have it, most of us don’t.”

For inquiries, please call (63 2) 254-8498, (63 917) 257-8407 or email:

1335 Mabini is located at A. Mabini St., Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

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