Monday, November 11, 2013

MARATHON | Das Superpaper, Issue 28 | August, 2013

Das Superpaper, Issue 28
"Western Sydney: A Portrait of a Place" 
Guest-edited by David Capra

I was commissioned by Das Platforms and David Capra to produce a work for the 'Views & Artist Pages' section of Issue 28 of Das Superpaper. I produced a work called Marathon, which consisted of three photographs and a short, fictional text that I wrote, utilising extracts from the 1964 short story, The Swimmer by John Cheever. The photographs consisted of a two-part image of me diving into my local pool on an overcast day; and running through a stand of eucalypts. The story is a semi-autobiographical recount of distance - the physical distance of space represented by the Australian wild and domestic landscape; the ideological distance enacted by my body through physical exercise; and the biological distance bridged by puberty and adolescence.

Original photography: Hugh Marchant

Click below to view higher quality images in a slideshow







Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE SOURCE | The Cube, Mosman Art Gallery | 13 July - 13 October 2013

The Source is a response to ‘Litre of Light’: a global open-source movement that aims to provide ecologically and economically sustainable indoor lighting to underprivileged households e.g. in third-world and developing communities where electricity is either expensive or unavailable. It consists of a simple mechanism: a PET bottle filled with chlorinated water is inserted into the roof of a house – half in, half out – thus acting as a lens through which natural daylight is diffused as workable, indoor lighting.

In The Source, a collection of various brands of bottled spring water rest upon a group of plinths, glowing faintly within a darkened room. Recontextualised within the privileged conventions of gallery space, the mechanisms of social and environmental activism from which they derive their primary function are dissolved. In isolating their status as objects, their role in deferring the anxiety of Western consumptive tendency is thus illuminated. Reforma empties the ‘Litre of Light’ of its content – the ethics of upcycling and sustainability – and recycles its vessel in the pursuit of ethical hedonism, bottled at the source.

Photography: Susannah Wimberley

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

INFINITY POOL | MOP Projects | 30 May - 16 June 2013


What do you know about water? Only that it’s everywhere, differently.

Roni Horn, Saying Water, Dia Art Foundation, 2001.

There's nothing unusual about top models drinking water like it's going out of fashion. But eyebrows have been raised about the amount that's delivered to Kate's house. There's even been speculation that she must bathe in the stuff, or at least use it to wash her hair. It's hard to think of any other explanation.

Jessica Callan, Eva Simpson and Caroline Hedley,
LOTTA BOTTLE; Why does Kate need all that water?
The London Mirror, April 7, 2005.


In 1992 the De Guzman family, while preparing land for farming, discovered a natural spring on their property in the Philippine district of Pulilan, Bulacan. Three years later, construction was completed on Villa Lorenzo: a leisure centre for locals and visitors consisting of cabanas, slides and pools – filled entirely with fresh spring water. Our family ran Villa Lorenzo, named for my grandfather, until 2006.

The works in this exhibition were conceived poolside.

Photography: Michael Randall

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Earth, Water, Air (installation view), artist's collection of tabloid magazines 2007-2013, PVC pipe, printed vinyl, Dyson Air Multiplier fan, 27 x 35 x 170cm, 2013

Earth, Water, Air (detail), artist's collection of tabloid magazines 2007-2013, PVC pipe, printed vinyl, Dyson Air Multiplier fan, 27 x 35 x 170cm, 2013


Body for Days (Kruger/Kardashian) (installation view), found images on cartridge paper, dimensions variable, 2013

Body for Days (Kruger/Kardashian) (detail), found images on cartridge paper, dimensions variable, 2013

Left: Fountain (installation view), DAR pine, found image printed on adhesive vinyl, 24 bottles of Evian water, 90 x 150 x 240cm, 2013

Horizon, found image printed on adhesive vinyl, 90cm x 1800cm, 2013
Fountain (installation view), DAR pine, found image printed on adhesive vinyl, 24 bottles of Evian water, 90 x 150 x 240cm, 2013

Fountain (detail), DAR pine, found image printed on adhesive vinyl, 24 bottles of Evian water, 90 x 150 x 240cm, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

LAST RESORT | Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre | 17 May - 7 July 2013

Last Resort is a posthumous tribute to two R&B recording artists and performers - Aaliyah (b. Aaliyah Haughton, 1979-2001) and Left-Eye (of the group, TLC, b. Lisa Lopes, 1971-2002). Significantly for these works, Aaliyah and Left-Eye both died in separate vehicular accidents in tropical locales: Left-Eye while on a self-imposed spiritual sabbatical in Honduras; and Aaliyah after having completed filming a music video in The Bahamas

For these portraits, Reforma has selected two songs and their corresponding videos – Waterfalls (1995) and Rock The Boat (2002): each considered seminal works in the respective oeuvres of TLC and Aaliyah. Both videos feature the artists performing against paradisiacal backdrops. The stills that have been amalgamated into each portrait were chosen to reflect on gestures associated with the affective “wish you were here” sentiment that characterises the longing between a traveller and their homebound loved ones, or in this case: a fan and their deceased subject.

Reforma is interested in how fandom or idol-worship contributes to the metaphorical immortality of its subject – Last Resort is an attempt to illustrate how populist images of paradise mediate a broader socioreligious pre-occupation with the notion of an 'afterlife'. In the predominantly Christian/Catholic culture of R&B music – proliferate with metaphorical references to immortality – recording artists are often presented in the role of 'pop-prophet': defying gravity while poised to deliver fans from the banality of their every day, water-treading existence. This is also reflected in the common practice of R&B performers, particularly females, adopting a mononym e.g. Aaliyah, Left-Eye, BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna etc. – the primary Christian example of this being the figurehead, Jesus. The videos that have been selected for conversion into still portraits are exemplary models of how green screen artistry – by the time of their respective release, it was ubiquitous in popular music video making – is manifest through R&B to communicate a sense of an artist's preter/supernatural transmutability. In these videos, both Aaliyah and Left-Eye are depicted like the aforementioned prophet – though where he walked, they instead danced on the surface of the ocean.

Reforma’s current practice regards the significance of water – its aesthetic qualities and its role within popular culture – as a substance both transformative and transubstantiating. He is particularly interested in the way that water is incorporated into the architecture of space and culture as a means of conveying social status. In the realm of music video artistry, representations of paradise – usually depicted as a beach – are common, both as a place for meditative reflection, and also as an ideological space to which audiences are encouraged to aspire. In Last Resort, the parallel paradises depicted through music videos emerge as a tropical locus for aspiration, longing, and remembrance.

Photography: Brenton McGeachie

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Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) (detail) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) (detail) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013
Don't Go (chasing waterfalls), I Want You (to rock the boat) (detail) digital compositions on archival paper, various mounts, dimensions variable, 2013


Thursday, September 6, 2012

THE FOUNDATION CENTRE | Firstdraft Gallery | 4 April - 21 April 2012


This body of work was exhibited as part of Alternate Universal Studios, a group exhibition alongside Rosie Deacon, Marilyn Schneider and Giselle Stanborough.

The Foundation Centre is a reflection upon edificial architecture, and an attempt to conflate a perceived parallel between two specific narratives that resonate as particularly emblematic of a period of Philippine cultural foundation and centralisation. 

The first is the story of the collapse of key scaffolding during the construction of the Froilan Hong-designed Manila Film Centre – in preparation for the inaugural Manila International Film Festival – resulting in the reported live burial and subsequent death of at least one hundred and sixty-nine labourers in quick-drying cement. The second, somewhat inverse, narrative is that of the steadier structural decline of the mausoleum of the embalmed and unburied former President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. 

The Foundation Centre is thus posed as a spatial meditation upon architectural, political and funerary stasis. 

All images courtesy Silversalt Photography

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The Foundation Centre, 2012. Formply, polyurethane expanding foam, casters, chromed piano hinges

The Foundation Centre (installation view) 2012. Formply, polyurethane expanding foam, casters, chromed piano hinges, 60 x 80 x 170cm
Sunset, 2012. Polyurethane expanding foam, skin-whitening soap, silicone, 6 x 10 x 35cm
Kiss Goodnight, 2012. Formply, C-type photograph, sealant, 5 x 10 x 170cm
Kiss Goodnight (detail), 2012. Formply, C-type photograph, sealant, 5 x 10 x 170cm
Rose (Lavender scented), 2012. Polyurethane expanding foam, galvanised steel, automatic fragrance dispenser, cellophane ribbon, 70 x 70 x 180cm

Rose (Lavender scented) (detail), 2012.

The Foundation Centre (installation view), 2012


M.O.M. | Firstdraft Gallery | 29 June - 17 July 2011


In 1953, Cristina Galang, from the province of Tarlac, was crowned Miss Philippines. Miss Leyte, Imelda Romualdez, protested the victory to the Mayor of Manila, Arsenio Lacson who, in order to appease, awarded her the consolatory title, Muse Of Manila. Thus, M.O.M. 

Ms. Romualdez would go on to become Mrs. Imelda Marcos: the wife of Ferdinand Marcos, the President of The Philippines.

The works that encompassed M.O.M. manifested my continuing interest in the performance of taste and value inherent in bourgeois mythologies surrounding the ‘dream home’, and interwove these concerns with research into the romanticisation of Imelda Marcos in the public imagination – a relationship better conveyed and understood through the domestic context of matricentric Filipino family relations.

To this end, I produced a series of digitally composited images depicting two women in whom I observed a coincidental facial resemblance. One was the aforementioned; the other was my mother, Myrna De Guzman. The naivety inherent in divining such a link is rooted in Marcos’s distorted interpretation of the notion ‘beauty begets beauty’: the misguided conceit that in cultivating her own physical beauty she would beget the social wellbeing of the people that she essentially co-lead.

Other works were informed by a pseudo-philosophical system devised and designed by Imelda Marcos called ‘Circles of Life’. In it, she envisions society as an extended family unit, and attempts to divide the spectrum of human experience and endeavour according to their perceived relations to the mother/father parental binary. The simplistic symbology of this esoteric philosophy has inspired a series of sculptural installations inspired in part by vanitas, an artistic genre here rendered redundant – like the new-age sentimentality of Circles of Life – not by the falsity of the wisdom nor edification that it provides, but for the simple fact that the middle-class for which it was designed to be consumed is relatively unsustainable within the Philippines.

Photography: Charles Dennington

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M.O.M., 2011. Digital composition on cartridge paper, 65cm x 100cm.

21 Years of Kisses, 2011. Cast polyurethane expanding foam, silver leaf, silver cellophane, balloon weight, silver glitter, 25 x 25 x 160cm

21 Years of Kisses, 2011. Cast polyurethane expanding foam, silver leaf, silver cellophane, balloon weight, silver glitter, 25 x 25 x 160cm

M.O.M. (installation view), 2011. 

Two Lovers (detail), 2011. Silver cellophane, LED light, AA batteries, plywood base, florist foam, potpourri, foamcore, 50 x 50 150cm

Two Lovers (detail), 2011. Silver cellophane, LED light, AA batteries, plywood base, florist foam, potpourri, foamcore, 50 x 50 150cm



Leisurewear, 2011. Found and customised men's shirt, 75cm x 100cm.