Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present Random Numbers, the latest solo exhibition by Filipino contemporary artist Rodel Tapaya at Hong Kong space. Following the artist's previous exhibitions staged at Tang Contemporary in Bangkok Nirvana: Tropical Rebirth: Pannaphan Yodmanee, Rodel Tapaya, Heri Dono (2018) and his major solo exhibition Myths and Truths (2018) at Tang Contemporary in Beijing, his first exhibition at Tang Contemporary in Hong Kong Random Numbers, (2021) showcases Rodel Tapaya's most recent body of work that he had commenced in 2019: the series of 'Scrap Paintings'.
Rodel Tapaya is one of the most prominent contemporary Filipino painters working within the international art world today. Early in Tapaya's career, he came to regional and global prominence through his now signature body of work, the 'Folk Narrative' paintings. During this phase, the artist drew direct inspiration from pre-colonial mythology and Filipino folkloric tradition in order to fuse the otherworldly imagery with the impressions from the contemporary daily life. This enabled him to establish a unique contemporary, neo-traditional artistic form of myth-making. In these works, numerous pictorial fragments within muralist compositions are devoid of traditional perspective, and meticulously pieced together to form epic stories filled with allegorical references. Tapaya became renowned for his celebration of Filipino culture while communicating urgent universal ideas concerning civilisation, colonisation, capitalism and globalisation.
In this new exhibition, the artist's overarching interest in reflecting upon ideas based in the common human experience continues as part of his artistic practice, as does his interest in presenting an interface between imagination and reality, but represents a departure from his previous artistic investigations. The exhibition's title takes direct reference from one of the artwork titles in the show that is among the curated selection of paintings ranging from monumental to medium-scale pieces. This exhibition exclusively explores the artist's new phase of 'Scrap Paintings' that investigates the concept and process of collage. The compositions comprise of semi-figurative illustrations involving a pastiche of objects set amid existential backdrops and miscellaneous elements that appear anonymous and expressive.
Collage has not only become a preliminary creative process for the technique that Tapaya employs in the series 'Scrap Paintings', but it is also the central theme to his work as whole:
I find myself using the cut-out pieces, pasting, erasing some details, I feel that I am 'painting'. In that small, almost illustration-like scale and stage — almost like a small diorama scale — I find myself creating the whole artwork. That seed will then be transformed into a larger scale. The discipline and challenge for myself when working in this way is to not to leave the collage work unfinished, but consider it as a complete work unto itself with a vision that it will become larger than life when translated almost photo-realistically through painting.
Such innovation and internal deconstruction of one's own reflective thinking processes in order to critique, question and thus advance one's creative oeuvre is the testament to Rodel Tapaya's artistic significance, evident in this important new body of work that continues to garner him international acclaim.
*All quotes attributed to Rodel Tapaya, March 2021
Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.