E-mail Interview With Alexander de Moscoso
by Lian Ladia, April 2011 (Berlin)
Lian Ladia: What is your work about?
Alexander de Moscoso: I believe in the dynamics involved in the concept and logic of life-defines-work-defines-self. My works are products of passionate inquiry, observation, exploration, and analysis/synthesis of phenomena.
LL: Can you tell me the progression of your work?
AdM: The progression of my work is dynamic to inquiry. For a particular inquiry to qualify for the pursuit of further exploration, it should be interesting and elicit passion. Looking back at my daily practice, I realized that certain work threads based on specific inquiry were explored and exhausted to the point of resolution at a much faster rate than others. Work progression varies and is dependent on the relevance of the subject, availability of resource, media, and materials and all of the possible relations and combinations of these variables. I think this is where technology comes in on which processes, i.e. data gathering, that used to take weeks, months, or even years to complete can now be done in minutes. End products of passionate inquiry may take the form of drawings, paintings, sculpture, installation, performance, video, digital works, and other material possibilities.
LL: Can you tell me about your work process?
AdM: Passionate inquiry is the propulsion of my work. Normally a result of significant stimuli from daily living, the selected inquiry is pursued via observation, exploration, research, experimentation, and testing.
If materials are immediately available, I try to work as fast as the idea or the moment where passionate inquiry has presented itself. I have noticed that it’s as if certain inquiries have a particular window of opportunity that once it is closed, it would be very hard to access. The presentation of inquiry seems to operate on some cosmic flow and thus it is critical for me to start work within that specific time-space frame for me to capture its energy, intensity, and momentum. On the other hand, when certain variables and factors are not readily available or accessible, I take down notes and make sketches for future reference. In hindsight, because of the cosmic flow of things, I think this is how passionate inquiry is somehow similar to an obsession-compulsion to create and finish a work.
Work and final output can occur and manifest in either physical space or cyberspace. Living in this contemporary digital age, I utilize any available technology to hasten and simplify the work processes involved in pursuit of optimal output. Cognizant of the unpredictability of life and the shadow of ones mortality, the essence of passionate and accelerated work processes increases the chances for more vision and ideas to be materialized in this lifetime as well as passionate inquiries to explore regardless of resolution and other initial expectations. In this sense, I have maintained through the years this daily practice of creating at least one work in a day, photograph and document it, and post it online on my websites for archiving.
Given the element and nature of change in time and space, my work process remains dynamic. As such, it can be adjusted according to material conditions and conceptual positions, constraints and limits, vice-versa. What are the chances that I can materialize the vision triggered by inquiry using existing or available materials or media? What are the possible ways to improve the process? Can I bypass a particular step in a process without sacrificing quality and still achieve optimal results? What are the possible framework or methodology appropriate to inquiry should I use and to what extent? What are the possible parameters that I can use? What are the possible relations that can be presented? implicit/explicit? What are the possible forms that can be explored and where content can take place? These are some of the questions that normally present when I am engaged in a personal discourse on a particular work.
LL: Who are your influences? Do you have any references? Any specific experiences?
It is said that we are shaped by meaningful experience. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the world has always been my passion. Thus, it was never a problem for me to be receptive towards passionate inquiry and observation. The Internet has likewise hastened the processing of information essential to this pursuit. Being able to know the lives and works of predecessors throughout history may have influenced me one way or another but looking back, I think influence in the political sense only happens during one’s formative years. Like I remember when I was a kid, I was making or rather trying to emulate drawings and paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and other classical painters but then you get tired and bored and lose interest. I guess once consciousness and independence of thought is firmly rooted and established, you can get to know the works and value of significant persons as well as events in history but at the same time maintain one’s own integrity and pursue one’s own path. In this regard, I can say that the biggest influence was my father. During my childhood years, my father, a scientist, would give me books, magazines, and encyclopedias to read. We went gardening together, helped him in carpentry work. I think these sensibilities of research and practical work skills were influences from him on which I am grateful for.
As regards references, it think they serve as useful points of demarcation on which spaces for specific discourse are established and can be accessed through research and synthesis. It’s like a model or a case study that can be helpful in a particular field of study.
LL: What kind of work are you exhibiting at Nova Art Gallery?
AdM: The exhibition Peripheral Revisions is composed of ten paintings, one video art installation, and three sculptures.
The concept for the exhibit started with the paintings. Part of my personal discourse on art history, I made an initial sample of top ten most expensive artworks to date. I reproduced these works on canvas but set a variable by painting solid monochrome polygons on the middle to near periphery of the paintings and hanging them inversely.
As the work progressed, I realized that these have become impressions of the original works instead of reproductions. At this point, I have observed that the works seem to have acquired some level of independence and character from a previous concept. The blocking out of the central image field and making the periphery visible was further translated and applied to a video that I made in Davao City way back in 2006.
The sculptures, which I call Ancillary Vessels, presented and evolved as a response to solving a problem on packaging and transporting of artworks. When I made the wooden crates for the paintings, I realized that these are sculptures in themselves. Besides, I saw the connection with my passion for the concept of vessels and the previous body of work that focuses on the process of packaging, interring, containing, protecting, as well as transporting, substituting, displacing things and objects vis-à-vis space. It’s as if the previous idea and body of work that were done in small scale has finally presented itself and is all grown up.
LL: What is the significance of the title of this exhibition in relation to your work?
AdM: Peripheral Revisions reflects my current passionate inquiries on history, society, economics, politics, psychology, and personal experience. My interest and personal discourse on time-space dynamics, central-peripheral, inside-outside, internal-external, old-new dichotomies, and art as phenomenological tools are likewise highlighted and has taken form through this body of work.
Alexander de Moscoso, Peripheral Revisions, NOVA Gallery, Makati City, Philippines. Exhibition, 20 May 2011 until 10 June 2011. http://novagallerymanila.com