Asian Cultural Council Philippines Art Auction 2018

March 3,2018 | 02:00 PM
G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City, Philippines



28 |

Ang Kiukok   (1931 - 2005)

signed and dated 1972 (lower right)
oil on canvas
36” x 36” (91 cm x 91 cm)

PHP 8,000,000

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In this still life, even elements such as the tell-tale objects that can be gleaned surrounding the fish are rendered rigid so as to add structure to the composition.
Hence the still life is built up using the abstract planes of acid color. This work perfectly recalls the early twentieth century synthetic Cubist method of making abstract elements signify objects through positioning and the addition of details.
Ang Kiukok’s still life of fish were notable for probing into the internal skeletal structure beneath the scales. Often reduced to bare bones and fins, Ang’s Fish provided a sometimes stern, sometimes disconsolate look, with a moon or half moon adrift in the background sky, creating an atmosphere of enchantment.
The painting sums up Ang Kiukok’s attitude toward color orchestration: sour or acid clashes of cool and hot, the pivotal combinations being ultramarines and mandarin reds, cool magentas, and warm grays.
Whenever the color design begins to turn ingratiatingly harmonious or conventionally sweet, he deliberately throws in an unpredictable hue to create a dissonant, piquant effect. This painting contains no riddles, nothing to puzzle the beholder, nothing to stir violent emotions.
The strength of composition is achieved without the hardness and linearity of his other works, which it surpasses also in its unity of pictorial elements. The painting reveals another side to Ang Kiukok’s style of expression by his awkward vitality and tendencies toward exaggeration and angularity.
The atmosphere surrounding what he was painting was a part of its sensational reality, the powerful immediacy of expression which he had finally arrived at in his art. His paintings are mostly extremely forceful but not overly detailed.

Art critics have noted Ang's singular ability to allow his audience to find their own catharsis in the images.
The viewer might initially tend Ang Kiukok’s creations as abstract patterns and constructions, yet the weighty formal arrangements began to disintegrate as colors became more intense, the surface more
agitated, and the character of the subject itself accounts for something.
The extravagant disproportions were not spontaneous but the result of calculated pictorial decisions which transformed an unexceptionable charcoal drawing of a nude model sprawling on a bed into this heroically scaled picture. The painting proves that Ang Kiukok’s works cannot be wholly abstract, in the sense of a non-objective or non-representational work of art, it follows that he did not totally go abstract from the actual image.
The content of the painting accurately reflects its title, in it we can indeed see a fish, but it is so powerfully assembled, so organized and so constructed that all reference to that object is soon forgotten.
The highly charged colors generate immediate emotional response. Strong, biting colors in their maximum intensities emerged on his canvases.
Alice Guillermo wrote: “Ang Kiukok … may produce an image almost literally representational. In either cases, he has produced work so powerful in feeling and so imaginative in design that it contains inexhaustible suggestions for further development. These are not just visual suggestions, but meticulously structured details for which the overall image is more than it’s interpretation to the viewer. The shapes have evolved from Ang Kiukok’s work over the years; they are the vocabulary he feels comfortable with.
The painting is in a way disorienting with its uncentered patterns and no place to gain perspective, testing the imagination with intersecting planes and large to small forms jutting in the picture. The painting makes viewers ask questions to understand how the details actually are in relation to one another. Is that a moon with a red orb in the upper left?
On one hand, the work has Cubistic qualities but at the same time the planes of color are non-representational and in a way cannot be grasped. The Surrealist method of presenting familiar objects in unfamiliar combinations produces a disorienting effect. It is Kiukok’s metaphor of a world where something stable is not what it seems.

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