Hablo, Laporga push faults, imperfection in ‘Not So Sacred’

“A PERSON without scars [is someone] of bland character,” muses decorated Ilonggo artist Allain Hablo, who continues his fascination with the Japanese art of “kintsugi” or golden joinery in his two-man show with fellow veteran Jeline Laporga – “Not So Sacred.”

Both Hablo and Laporga have previously delved into the beauty of imperfection in their own illustrious careers.

Laporga won the 2012 GSIS National Open Art Competition (abstract category) with his piece “A Flat Form of Reason” and explored faults and hard emotions with introspective pieces “Pain,” “Scars,” and “Not Useless” in that same year. Meanwhile, Hablo comes fresh from his solo show “Sacred Scars” exhibited at the Galerie Joaquin Podium in Mandaluyong – a predecessor of sorts of his “Kintsugi” series in “Not So Sacred.”

The Dueñas-born Laporga exudes raw and unbridled artistry in his series of diptychs entitled “Skipping the Mandatory Breakfast” – heavy swathes of earthen colors seemingly caught in flurries of unrest. He continues the maelstrom in the “On Vulnerable Ground” canvases, reaching an uninhibited fever-pitch with his visceral “Skirmish in Utopia” series.

2000 Metrobank Art Competition awardee Hablo, offers a more serene and calming outlook, with his 48-panel “Kintsugi” series. Lustrous veins of gold cut through his abstract canvases like flashes of lightning against a rainy landscape. Hablo channels the simplicity of the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold – highlighting it as a reflection on the acceptance of the flawed or the imperfect.

“’Kintsugi’ believes that a vessel is more beautiful broken and repaired than in its original state,” explains Hablo. “Most of us can relate to this. A person without scars [is someone] of bland character. ‘Kintsugi’ is a reminder to everyone that pain can squeeze out the best version of ourselves.”

The two Ilonggo artists – Laporga and Hablo – first met over two decades ago, traversing the same early art circles of Iloilo.

“We have almost the same sensibilities in texture, color, and composition,” shares Hablo of his collaboration with his longtime friend Laporga. “We are [both] modern, nostalgic, minimal and part spiritual in the most sense – but while Jeline is an unassuming and laid back artist, I am more of outspoken type.”

The Estancia, Iloilo native Hablo shares that their friendship runs deep, retelling the anecdote of how, in 2005, Laporga helped him beat the deadline of the Philippine Art Awards – the latter renting a truck ready to bring the former’s entry from the pier to the submission venue despite being pressed for time. With Laporga’s help, Hablo would receive the Juror’s Choice award in the 2005 Philippine Art Awards.

In their own distinct ways, both Hablo and Laporga attest to the beauty of faults and imperfections – compelling introspection and deep thought in their audience to perceive this seemingly simple truth.

“As an abstractionist, I want every viewer to see and feel the painting as it appears to you,” muses Hablo. “It may convey an unknown emotion to you, enjoy the moment. Don’t bother to ask and know, beauty is better absorbed without thinking. As in ‘kintsugi,’ what doesn’t [destroy] you, makes you stronger, and more beautiful!”

“Not So Sacred” is on exhibit at gallery i, Villanueva Bldg, Corner JM Basa and Aldeguer St. Iloilo City, until Jan. 11./PN

Originally published in Panay News by Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay