Published November 09, 2021
Filipino contemporary artist Rene Bituin’s labyrinthian configurations bring to mind various images - rock formations, deep sea corals, vivisected organs, microscopic crystals, plant life, geometrical models, science fiction landscapes, and psychedelic Krautrock album covers.
“The way I draw is through an impulsive accumulation of lines with no initial plan or sketches. Just a continuous addition of lines until a suggestion of form or depth is achieved…” or until the surface is complicated into a puzzle of two parts, the organic and the geometric.
This dichotomy or duality is the common proposition in most if not all of his ink or acrylic works. Formations are paired and seem to represent contrasts of organic and inorganic, plantlife versus rocks, hard edged geometry against biomorphic growths, architecture and nature, and so on. At their heart, these pairings are theoretical or ideal constructs with seemingly infinite expressions.
From these interactions of two parts meanings come about, some of which he orchestrates with titles such as Phaedo, Osteologia, The Old Ones, and similar mythic and esoteric narratives or allegories. In one of Bituin’s earlier paintings, he refers to apophenia, a psychological concept that describes the perception of connections and meaningfulness in unrelated things. From this word, we get a glimpse of how these pairings work. Bituin can fashion these images to suggest instances that range from natural beauty to mechanical complexity, from the conflict of nature and man to the horror or strangeness of an alien place.
HIs images can even be considered plans for sculpture, as the same constructions have found their way into galleries as sculptural and site-specific installations. Appearing at times like a kind of scaffolding aesthetic, construction is an appropriate word. Following a similar impulsive accumulation in his drawings, the way these wooden structures are built seem to have no obvious function but to support themselves from falling apart.
Rene Bituin is a Filipino Contemporary artist whose work has been showcased in many of the top Metro Manila galleries. His latest shows were “Estranged in a Once Unstrange Land” at Kaida Contemporary and “Disanthropomorphic Era” at Blanc.