Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco, Cultural Center of the Philippines・2016
The techniques and materials of leatherwork – studs, rivets, grommets, and sewing are employed by Turalba to metaphorically lock place and time together. Multi-colored leather, which is celebratory of racial difference, is the prime material. The ideas of fragmentally looking and capturing transient spaces frame her work. Comprised of nine panels, they may be grouped as one or taken as individual pieces, variable to its site of installation. Inspired from her travels to the non-West, she materializes episodic memory formation into a cornucopia of images that interlock the formats of landscape, tapestry and collage all at once.
The hand is one of the most sophisticated fine-tuned tools, which no robotic or bionic technology has ever equaled. To frame it with craftwork transforms it into a signifier of embodiment equal to artistic expression. In this mode, the artist becomes more accessible, her choice echoes her story, and the craft medium becomes (part of) the message – subversively echoing Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism*. If technology historically has always informed the art production of its time, craft’s resurgence might as well be a recasting of the McLuhan idea to counter mediatized culture.
Collectively, the collaged landscape, the assembled sculptural pieces and the re-imagined vestments emphasize the role of the hand as an instrument to cut through idea and material in order to create unique specificities. With the exhibition site in a theater lobby, the works, together, represent not only a setting in time and place, but also a view of life – a handscape by all means.