Manila from the sky - KAIDA gallery
26 Scout Torillo
Corner Scout Fernandez
Sacred Heart, Timog
Manilla from the sky : June 6-24, 2010 in KAIDA Gallery
Pierre-Emmanuel MICHEL, a french artist, photograph, graphic designer based in Manila, has an enduring fascination and warm affinity to Filipino people and culture. In Manila from the Sky, he shows a bird's eye view of the city's patchworks of color and life, graphic impressions, structural labyrinths, and the people traversing its wide avenues and entangled street alleyways. From the mysterious early morning grays cloaking the city to the pulsating neon lights that beckon at night, he captures a spectrum of action and calm from a vantage point rarely seen by passersby.
Encompassing views of the city skyline flow into zoomed-in details of life. A traffic enforcer on patrol at a crossroads, security personnel on a well-deserved break, red motorcycles that resemble relentlessly laboring red ants, a moving vehicle's headlights transformed into laser beams and the graphic minimalism on a jollijeep eatery's roof such are the long-range scenes of people seeking food, shelter and honest wages. Michel finds not only Manila's burgeoning progress as it shows in the multi-storey buildings sprouting amidst the squat homes, warehouses and commercial spaces, he also accesses a top view of the interstices of life as seen in the peripheries of its buildings' physical walls.
Be it tasked with portraying a hugely visible ad placement in one of Makati's newly-developed high rise buildings, views of a smoggy dawn that warn of dangerously increasing levels of air pollution, dagger-shaped burning highways of progress gathering force against the darkened alleys and the night sky, a building's blank wall echoing neon lights like a reflecting pool, or another sad and seemingly abandoned structure still undergoing construction, the camera's lens serves as an extension of the artist's eye. As readymade contemporary landscapes, they are not only selected pieces documenting Michele's stay in the capital. Each picture has a story, and he has memories associated with each and every one of them
Manila, with its double-edged blessing and curse of being one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, might as well be the best setting for this endeavor. As art photography requires the creative vision of the photographer as an artist, it is an expression of the artist's perceptions and emotions, shared with others. These are more than pictures; they are slices of an artist's life, winks of an artist's eyesight, his personal impressions in digital memory, now captured on photographic archival paper.
Freezing moments, places and characters that come across his sight, Michel's jaunts on camera translate into an infinite quest for what makes Manila -- the saturation of colors that come with the light, changing each moment of the day; the lines and structures that intersect and weave, creating shapes that slice and dice at visual perception; the depths, angles and dark corners that invite further scrutiny, never exposing too much: from a distance, beguiling in its mystery, Manila from the Sky demands a closer look
Opening reception : June 6, 6pm