Published September 04, 2021
“Copper, sweat, blood, and piss” is how Filipino contemporary artist Miguel Aquilizan describes the materials of some of his current metal sculptures. It’s an appropriate listing given his penchant for assemblages and interventions on multifarious discongruent materials and objects. It’s a practice that results in what he calls “object collages.”
Aquilizan continually experiments with new ways to engage with materials and objects collected and scavenged. They include welding, binding objects with BDSM leathers, sewing, jewelry making, Japanese flower arranging, bone carving, burning, etc. Like his processes that seem to be in flux, his object collages are not fixed, as he finds ways to change, re-contextualize, or adapt them to new composite arrangements and to contingent spaces.
It’s a working state that goes hand-in-hand with the raw material he collects. Just like the eclectically garbed persona he inhabits, his practice results in “mutations” of existing things, items with their own histories or narratives. “I always believe that inanimate objects project a certain energy or “aura” after being cast off by the owner, either positively or negatively,” he says. This aura or identity of the object serves equally as material and story for Aquilizan to imbed into the “new life” of his assemblages, merged into what he calls “a mixture of plural identities.”
Recently, Aquilizan has been working on daily pandemic sculptures. These daily exercises and a fascination for copper door knobs, Brutalism, and ancient architecture have culminated in large copper sculptures presented at “An Orgy of Speculations,” his latest show at Art Informal. It’s not hard to think of these pieces as having a kind of spiritual use. In their simple geometry and repetitive patterns, they are imbued with a direct monolithic presence. This is further amplified by the ritualistic connotation of the use of bodily fluids to achieve their varied patinas.
Miguel Aquilizan is a Filipino artist known for his materials and objects-based practice. He has had several group and solo shows in the Philippines and in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the US.