The Future That Was is a monochromatic exploration of consumer culture in the world of fashion, art, craft and design. Staged as a contemplative window display that makes use of the Vargas Museum’s glass enclave, mannequins covered in the traditional craft of caning (solihiya) pose alongside the bold wall displays of decoratively shaped canvasses that feature images of shadows, carcasses and flowers. In The Future That Was, Eustaquio explores design, as related to craft, and how the current consumer culture has shaped what informs design. For the exhibition, she orchestrates this manufactured environment, replete with postured silhouettes of women in various poses and skins, amidst large-scale shaped canvasses: the largest of which is both bizarrely modernist, with its stark black and white palette and geometric shapes, and maximalist, with each shape filled with a different images/ surfaces. She experiments on marrying these contrasting sensibilities, the minimal and the excessive, in an attempt to play with perception and what influences our subsequent conclusions for “like” and “dislike” vis a vis such sensibilities and tastes.
The exhibit was curated by Patrick Flores, Director of the Vargas Museum and was shown in the museum in July 2013 and at Tyler Rollins Fine Art (New York) in September of the same year. An accompanying curatorial essay may be found here.
Photos courtesy of Silverlens Galleries (Rachel Rillo) and the artist.
the press release:
The Future That Was are musings on the structures and ideas that produce, frame and promote art and design. Taking her cue from the final chapter of Robert Hughes’ Shock of the New of the same title, Eustaquio weaves a narrative that examine the ideas of innovation and novelty, cultural patronage and the social notions of timeliness and timelessness, i.e. fashion and its latitudes. Here, “the future” is art, the construct of the so-called avant grade, translators of visions into flat or plastic forms: whatever qualifies nowadays as “art”. Fashion, on the other hand, is the machinations of its popularity: whoever qualifies such constructs as “art”. In this construct is a framework of materials, form and idea that is bent and moulded into a product that is then displayed, marketed and digested.
In Eustaquio’s world, this construct takes on the language of craft and design and the resulting works attempt at approximating a design exposition, or window display, where material and form are exalted, made to do things they don’t usually do, or affected with superfluous stylisations, Eustaquio covers her objects in varied surfaces: mannequins in solihiya, ambiguous rock formations in laser-cut mirrors and wood, while paintings are attempts at wrapping varied shapes in similarly articulated, textured surfaces. Overall, it is an exercise in exuberance and stylisation, excess and containment in an attempt to examine the framework of art production, aesthetics and taste, and in so doing raise the question of what informs art and design.