Published December 18, 2020
“It’s all about the merging of my native oriental culture with the present industrial environment that is slowly corrupting my native land.” This is Filipino artist Lirio Salvador talking about ethno-industrial art, his own creation that integrates performance art, sculpture, and sound art all into one.
Innovation is at the heart of Salvador’s ethno-industrial art, a life-long artistic process of transforming tactile, auditory, and visual materials as a likely response to being a Filipino in the 21st century. As a sculptor, Salvador created polished and complex metal sculptures constructed from everyday materials such as bowls, bicycle gears, pipes, and spoons, to name a few. Salvador has been rightly and fondly called an alchemist of object and sound. This is because these sculptures are functioning musical instruments, producing strange noises and unconventional amplified sound.
These metallic forms are inspired not only by their materials, but by figurative associations from Salvador’s imagination, as well as his knowledge of sound engineering. More than musical instruments, they are mechano-organic sculptures with many parts and able to accommodate more attachments and transformations as Salvador sees fit.
Also called ‘Sandata’ or ‘weapons of sound construction,’ they have been displayed on walls or as free-standing sculptures in museums and galleries throughout and outside the Philippines. However, they find their true place as they come alive in the hands of Salvador the musician. Wielding Sandatas, Elemento led by Salvador was an experimental music collective that performed throughout the 1990s and the 2000s in numerous venues and art spaces, including the Art Science Museum in Singapore in 2011. As the leader of Elemento, Salvador was a pioneering sound artist. His performances and installations with his Sandata were pushing the boundaries of experimental music and sound art in the Philippines and the region.
Lirio Salvador’s art has been showcased in international art fairs such as Pulse Los Angeles, Scope Basel, India Art Summit, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Beijing Art Fair, Bridge Art Fair New York, Dubai Art Fair, among many others.
Watch Lirio perform and talk about his art at the Art Science Museum in Singapore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=163eddRhsQY&ab_channel=ArtScienceMuseum
Here is Lirio talking about the instruments he's created to Time Out Singapore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeGCawRbsnQ&ab_channel=TimeOutSingapore