In his latest solo exhibition, “Melankolia,” visual artist and photojournalist Jose “Pinggot” Vinluan Zulueta continues to explore the inner self in a very personal artmaking that is confessional as well as autobiographical.
His previous exhibits— “Incepto” in 2016 and “Katharsis” in 2017—introduced the shift in his artmaking—from his photojournalism focused on documenting public events and “archiving” the artmaking and careers of established visual artists to his own very personal journey of introspection.
“Melankolia” continues the personal pilgrimage.
Zulueta presents 21 drawings, some very vivid, while others, intriguingly faint and sketchy.
“In this series of drawings,” the artist said, “I have combined both surreal and symbolic styles—there are no colors, only black and white hues on canvas. I hope the audience will identify with the contemplative perspective of each of the drawings, and dwell in the stillness of each visual aria for some time… even after the exhibit is long gone.”
The latest series of drawings seeks to evoke a complex emotions, intense sentiments and very personal memories.
Through deep reflection, Zulueta has produced works that are imbued with a melancholic temperament, highlighting negative and positive sentiments in almost equal measure. “I started with this series of drawings back in 2003, when I was a newly arrived migrant in New Zealand, and was faced with the much known struggles of integrating, coping with and seeking to belong to a new country,” he explained. At that time, his situation was compounded by the loss of his father and not being able to come back home. He turned to paper and ink to express his sadness and solitude.
“I expressed my intense emotions on paper canvas as part of my grieving process,” Zulueta explained. “I had to look for inspiration in my art in order to move forward. I created drawings based on my emotional experience and imagination.”
He said he did the drawings because of his feelings of loss and loneliness. He described his feelings as “wounds that cannot heal, penetrating my deepest core as a person.”
Now by looking back and reflecting on his experiences from a distance, Zulueta said he seemed to have given them a place in his life’s story, therefore achieving a sense of connection and harmony with his past.
Thus, “Melankolia” is not exactly the psychological state of deep, inexplicable sadness, but a reflective and even “uplifting” experience. It’s a contemplative process in which people and places find association and complementarity, triggering an aesthetic response.
Exhibit will run Jan. 16-31 at The Saturday Group Gallery, Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City.