Lot #038

Lao Lianben

Sense of Light
signed and dated 1997 (lower left)
acrylic, pencil, modeling paste on canvas
24” x 24” (61 cm x 61 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 600,000
HP + BP : Php 1,284,800
Provenance Hiraya Gallery, Salvador F. Bernal Collection
“Sense” is a word which does not only mean “direction” or the bodily senses” but also meaning. Sense is not only the course of a river, the texture of a fabric but also the meaning of a world proposed by the artist. In “Sense of Light”, Lao transports us to the realm of the spiritual. But what is this if not a haven of quiet, of peace? A Lao painting does not disturb. It does not strive to impress, to catch attention. Dreading the emphatic, a Lao painting intimates that sense of the spiritual which is unbearable lightness, effortless grace.
For Lao, the artistic activity is one of the privileged ways by which a human being liberates himself from the pretension of self-sufficiency. The way to the spiritual passes through a forgetting of the self. There is not only a crossing out of the self but also a crossing out of the image to enable it to express something other than an image, to produce an image without an image. For Lao, the challenge of creation consists in revealing more with less.
In his unpretentious manner, Lao brings to light what is at heart of the matter. He awakens us to the marvelous surprise which gives us access to the truth. This truth — that whatever we do, we do “for nothing.” For art! There, where everything is said and nothing is said — where the unspoken silently rages with the power of the brush.
Purchased from National Artist for Theatre Design, Salvador F. Bernal in 1998, who acquired it from Hiraya Gallery in October 1997.