Winner Jumalon’s latest exhibition, Recent Find, pushes the boundaries of portraiture through an otherworldly collection of sculptural busts and paintings. With his alter ego, Pachingguel “Pach” Hortillanos, they construct a museum-like space filled with remnants of a fictional landscape called the ‘The Lost City’. Mapping out this alternate universe, its occupants, individually crafted using distinctly diverse materials, are introduced. Jumalon, the painter, and Hortillanos, the sculptor, explore the depths of their media and their imagination as they tell the story of a vanished city that never was.
This Field is a City that was Bound to be Found by Faye Cura
They were, once, alive. The Aviator took off and almost conquered the world. The Gorgon looked and men were turned to stone. When the Pharaoh died, he was ceremoniously purified of his bowels, and made immortal.
Now they are petrified, turned into stony substances. Along with their excesses—their failings and fortitudes, their desires and their desire for death—the figures are arrested by resin, or by ice, as in the case of the Drowning Man, once a captain, perhaps a fool, his arm forever thrust upward, longing for land.
One can suppose that a long period has passed, and that in that period, the figures, in their petrifaction, were saved from putrefaction—from the plunge into the abyss, where their sins, their excesses, were bound to lead them.
They were salvaged. This is how the artists want us to find the bodies, in this archeological field that they have fabricated.
This field is a city that was bound to be found, not because it has always been lost, as from a deluge or an eruption, but because it was invented. The huge canvases depict the figures before they were encapsulated, like religious icons before being encased in glass domes. Thus our gaze hits the side of Medusa’s face, or the shimmering gems eating the Harlequin’s flesh, or the dismembered toys crawling all over the Little Child’s head. The narrative is set by the paintings. As sculptures enclosed in resin, the figures then invite us to look at them closer, find what of them has been preserved, rather than lost.
As the figures are placed on rotating bases, we are allowed to probe them from all sides. By marking out a sacred zone—the circle—they project the self, though defensively. And yet—what self is there? The obscuring effect of encapsulation creates the illusion that trapped inside are phantasms, rather than flesh and bone.
And so we look, as we look at the divine statues inside viriñas. And we find what we see: artifacts from not long past; manufactured ghosts from redemptive, ancient history.