A fascination with the limits of surface

Mimefield, Mark Justiniani’s show at Art Fair Philippines has been installed anew at Tin-aw Art Gallery until March 8.
Pillars evokes a headlong dive into a pit
Mimefield presents a mesmerizing expanse of space wherein objects and figures, indeed entire worlds multiply and fragment. The passage the artist plots holds magical promise, an elusive destination, an experience that can only be anchored to the ephemeral and the passing. Mimefield’s horizons are visible yet fissured by the trick of mirror and light. Vision is irresistibly reined to dark void. Depths and surface are rendered through the artifice of reflection.
Pillars, for instance, evokes a headlong dive into a pit, such when one peers into a dried-out well, tilts way too much and unexpectedly falls. Resembling a mine shaft, the ravelling rope that guides our descent into dark is nowhere seen. Indeed, because this and the destination can only exist in the imagination. Something this horrific and irreversible likewise thrills and stirs. Justiniani’s caverns endow the imagining a mysterious beckoning because we realize the pit’s bottom is flat surface, a reflection fractured countless times. The artist’s fascination with the limits of surface, vision’s tenuous nature, and metamorphosing forms can be traced to his 2011 exhibition Phantom Limb. In this medley of spectres, we realize ourselves fragmented and multiplied various ways—bodies peering into dioramas of life, plunging into, yet straining against mirrored boundaries. Mirrors reflect, distort, and crop the world. Justiniani’s mastery of its reflective surface allows us to glimpse infinity and boundary fused into each other. In Mimefield as in Phantom Limb, we grasp how it is to encounter in the flimsiest sliver of time, the hope embodied by the eternal and the inevitable that is the burden of endings.  The artist places us within indeterminate space where we become ether floating in iridescent pool of glowing light.  In this sojourn, destination is farthest from our thoughts seized as we are by the magic of being somewhere yet nowhere, a place that haunts our fears and dreams.
Justiniani through relentless probing and stirring forms reveals spectral facets of our worlds, mirages that trick the eye and sometimes, poison the heart. Novelist Jose Saramago condenses this predicament in resonant clarity; “the human soul is a poisoned well of contradictions.” Justiniani plunges headlong and resurfaces these teeming inconsistencies in his construction of a spectral landscape that shrouds yet escapes us all the same. Mimefield will be on view at Tin-aw Art Gallery until March 8. Tin-aw Art Gallery is at the Upper Ground Floor, Somerset Olympia, Makati Avenue corner  Sto. Tomas Streets, Makati.  It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m..  Admission is free.    
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