Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coming from humble beginnings, Ram Mallari was exposed to smithing early in life as some of his family members worked as metalsmiths. While living on site at Batasan, Quezon City, Mallari would see the many heaps of scrap metal piling up throughout the site, some of which may have even been destined for landfill. Mallari was quick to realize the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling, and that there was beauty and inspiration that lay within the myriad of salvageable, metallic shapes protruding from the piles. It was this realization that proved to be the seed of inspiration that gave rise to Mallari’s studio.

Today, the artist perennially visits factories, industrial locations, scrapyards, and shops to buy iron and metal parts coming from industrial pipes, iron gears from dismantled bicycles or even heavy machinery, steel bolts and rods saved from vehicles. He also procures fat and thin flat steel and copper wires and pipes which are residues from old industrial products.

Battle of the Nuts Series, Mixed Media Assembly

Cassandra Crossing, Mixed Media Assembly

The resultant metal sculptures range from watchtowers, chess pieces, clocks, steam and motor vehicles, zeppelins, ships, to reimagined animals and pop icons. Upon closer look, one discovers that the underlying concept in Mallari’s work is rooted in an utopian depiction of an imagined future forged from memories of an earlier era. His work explores themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology. These fragments of reclaimed scrap iron are repurposed into a visionary nostalgia and paradoxically linked to a utopian future. The underlying motivation is presented as an artistic manifesto on the current state of how we use technology and ecology. Mallari’s visionary utopia, is not just a concept, but a benchmark on how we can change our living situation in relation to both our environment and with technology.

Steam Wagon, Mixed Media Assembly

Tesla Bike, Mixed Media Assembly

“Visions From The Foundry” stamps Mallari’s commitment to his well-chosen material, method, form and subject. Visitors will experience a body of work including some kinetic sculptures that represents the interplay of line and expressive vitality through the dynamism that exists between rational thought and emotional expression, geometric and organic form to age-old techniques of welding and sculpting to today’s contemporary albeit somewhat chilling pop culture aesthetic.
In effect, Mallari’s fascination with the dystopian relationship between man, nature and machine proves a rewarding vision of the world in which futuristic ecstasy is presented as precise, mechanical and cool.

Tempus Mechanika, Mixed Media Assembly

For more information, please contact 721-0745 or email artundergroundmanila@gmail.com.

Visions from the Foundry is presented by Art Underground and Art+ Magazine and runs from December 9-14, 2014 at The Art Center, SM Megamall.

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