DOUBLE WATERS by JOSE TONG
6pm MAY 26, 2016
Ground Floor, First United Building
Double Waters is an artistic experiment on the ambiguity of objects as art and as a functional object. Donald Judd, the late American abstract artist, was firm in his belief that art loses it’s artistic value when it becomes functional. He refused to treat his furniture designs as objects of art. I want to explore this idea by questioning when art stops becoming art, and when it starts becoming simply a piece of furniture. Would it remain art simply because it isn’t useful? Would art become a utilitarian object simply by changing it’s layout or configuration? Is it possible to reconcile a middle ground between installation art and furniture? Can art be something not just a thing you hang on the wall, or something you put on a pedestal, but something that can be used? Certainly, the installation connects the observers to the feelings of the author with regards to water. Its fluid, reflective quality that evokes certain memories of childhood or quiet meditative moments in our lives. It is certainly an experienced phenomenon, specifically because the visitors are forced to modify their behavior in space, but I seek to discover the threshold when the observer’s behavior and subjective perception changes the value of the object. It is an open-ended question, but by creating a mobile installation that can be easily moved, and by creating it with an anthropometric dimension that invites people to view it as an object to sit on, I seek to discover a plausible answer by the end of the exhibit. Every week or bi-weekly the observers will be asked what they think about the objects, what they feel about it, and whether they feel comfortable sitting on art and still respect the object as art even if it’s below their buttocks, supporting their body weight. When the inherent function of art becomes blurred, what comes next? I want to deduce from the experiment that the installation can exist beyond human preconceptions, that it can be ‘super-functional’ or something that can posses a value that are both artistic and functional. The conclusion will be presented and a talk will be given about the data derived from the experiment.
José Tong was born in Manila, Philippines in 1987. Tong experiments with the hybrid of different artistic practices including painting, site specific installation, furniture and space design. He completed a BS in Architecture with honors at the University of Santo Tomas de Manila in 2009. He was awarded a Monbukagakusho
Scholarship and furthered his Architecture studies in Osaka, Japan. He has joined design competitions both in his home country and Japan. After his return to the Philippines in 2013 he participated in group exhibits in Manila. His studies in Architecture introduced him to the influential German school, the Bauhaus andDutch De Stijl movement, and subsequently adapted “Gesamtkunstwerk” or synthesis of all artforms into his artistic and design approach. His travels in Japan introduced him to Zen philosophy and pared-down aesthetics of the tea-master Sen-no-Rikyu and has since applied eastern and wesern philosophies to his work. He currently lives and works in Manila.