JP Cuison POPZILLA!


“If I don’t terrorize, I’m not pop.” – Iggy pop

POP, the very onomatopoeia of something that just burst out of nowhere, or from the simmering soupcon saturated in instantaneous thrills, much like movie monsters springing  forth from mad science experiments gone horribly wrong producing hybrids such as Godzilla itself which was conceived as a cross between a gorilla (gorira) and a whale (kujira) to verily embody size, power and its aquatic origin, JP Cuison’s 2nd exhibit opening this 29th of April at Secret Fresh Gallery treads the same nuclear amniotic pool which has spawned his own mash-ups of vintage cartoon and media characters in re-imagined scenarios wrought out from this polysoup of influences that now pervade both imagination and waking life.  The title of the exhibit POPZILLA, itself a word mash-up, implies an invasion by massive media exposure and from which pop art has started to utilize or rather parallel the tools , signs and systems by which consumer culture is manufactured and in turn consumed again which systematized as well and established art as an industry in itself, aside from being a topical reference to Cuison’s line of posters, Gigzilla, which he makes for various gigs around Manila.   In these posters, he casts beloved cartoon characters in irreverent situations doing what they are otherwise known for, stripping them off the wholesome innocence of childhood memories to re-enact their personas in the adult imagination – Penelope Pitstop of Wacky Races sporting tattoos as Kat Von D, or the Planters peanuts minions invading as an SS troop, or a corny take on Ilong Ranger being olfactorily assaulted by Pepe le Pew. Even Philippine masterworks are not spared from this spoofy mash-ups as Amorsolo’s idyllic planting rice scene is invaded by a Boazanian battleship skull (from the 1970s Voltes V anime)  floating in the pink-blue clouds and Luna’s Spolarium whose central figure, a fallen gladiator being dragged on the bloodied floor with the other fallen ones is mutated into a gloppy drippy creature who seemed to have been an accident of a freak time travel experiment, nuked out off the kooky time-space continuum.

Their persistence is somewhat an invasion of memories repressed and then re-activated to form new narratives out of these re-combinable hybrids that now can be easily extracted from their original context, through their numerous and variable appropriations and re-appropriations, ad infinitum, with their original value deflated to mere signs.

The conflation of Rizal and Marilyn, mutated into one iconic persona, and reproduced as silk screen prints as a direct homage to Warhol, best illustrates this and more as being both ubiquitous symbols that have digressed into mundane cultural objects , or at the extreme, kitsch, yet inflationary to their mythic currency.

What was shocking then with pop art when it first came out was the brashness of its process and the randomness with which it selects its subject matter, not caring for the divine attributes of what a work of art is thought to possess then. What just pops out in the mind and to directly translate it into canvas is as automatic and as intuitive too of the very process of creating.  The brashness transgresses into cannibalizing existing imagery to turn into something new, mediated anew, or repackaged anew to offer a different perspective of things which JP Cuison’ s POPZILLA is trying to convey and wishes to jolts us out of our preconceived notions of things pop and otherwise.

JP Cuison is a graduate of University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts in Visual Communication and a Best Thesis awardee.  He is highly recognized in the field of advertising being a two-time Philippine representative to the prestigious Cannes Young Lions International Advertising Festival. He makes up the loony trio that produces the underground comix sensation, PUNNX COMIX with Manix Abrera and Dennis Nierra.

His first solo exhibit, held in Pablo Gallery, Cubao, featured his series of Gigzilla posters.

Popzilla! Is his 2nd solo exhibit.

Popzilla will have its opening cocktails on the 29th of April, Friday at 6 PM. This opening will also include live performances by Gorgoro, ….

The opening will also coincide with the launch of Rizalborg, JP Cuison’s 1st art toy designed exclusively for Secret Fresh. Made of polymer resin, Rizalborg comes only in limited  signed and numbered editions of 50.

Popzilla will be on view until May 23.

Secret Fresh is at the Ground Floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, North Greenhills, San Juan, MM.   Contact details :  (632) 5709815 local 7. Email freshmanila@gmail.com or secretfresh.gallery@gmail.com  www.twitter.com/freshmanila. Secret Fresh is also on Facebook.

Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10 PM and Sundays from 1 to 6 PM.

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