Published October 31, 2021
Filipino contemporary artist Zeus Bascon is a storyteller. From drawings, photographs, and journals to installations, costumes, and performances, the forms he chooses are visual anecdotes in a continuous exploration of the self. However strange or dark these forms take, they are always rooted in his life, a piecing together of disparate details into a puzzle, layered works where “every aspect of my life is thrown into a piece.“
Play, introspection, and dreams are essential aspects of this process. “What I work on everyday in the studio is to process experiences and emotions through image creation and writing.” Free from the rigid restrictions of a single discipline, Bascon plays with materials or what is presented before him, whether in dreams or the details of everyday life, many of them uncanny or unexplainable situations that shape his reality. As if second nature to this process, elements from past works are easily integrated into newer works or new layers and presentation strategies.
When considering Bascon’s work, what’s apparent is the presence of fantastic beings and beliefs. Artforms, such as drawing, are not only activities that can serve as introspective spaces but as documentation of these encounters. “I always consider my works as illustrations of the stories I've been told since my childhood. Stories that others have heard in one way or another in their milieus. It’s a part of our folk and oral traditions, from pre-christianity to contemporary culture. These stories have never left me.”
Zeus Bascon is a full-time artist who has participated in several artist-in-residency programs and in group exhibitions, most notably “Present Passing: South by Southeast” (Osage Gallery, Hong Kong) curated by Patrick Flores and Natasha Becker, artist-in-residency programs and “Philippine Contemporary Directions” (Metropolitan Museum of Art) curated by Tessa Maria Guazon for the Philippine Contemporary Art Network.
His solo shows include “Trees Burn Down” (Blanc Gallery), “Ngayong Gabi Ang Umaga, Ngayong Umaga Ang Gabi” (Blanc Gallery), “To Be Lost in this Kind of Wilderness (Is Eternal)” (ArtInformal), “Razzle Dazzle Solo Feature: Until The Next Full Moon” (Artery Art Space), “Huwag Mong Huyagin Ang Punong Walang Bunga” (Pablo Gallery), “Magic Hour” (Timog Coffee), “F*ck Bad Luck” (Open Studio), and “Unfinished Arrangements” (Sampaguita Projects)
In 2018, Zeus’ work was recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines with its prestigious Thirteen Artists Award. That year too, he was nominated for the Asia Pacific Breweries Signature Art Prize and was chosen to participate at the first Manila Biennale called Open City. Most recently, he was awarded the residency from Mountain Standard Time Performative Art, an international body dedicated to the development of performative art practices among local, national and international artistic communities.