Hic et Nunc: a darkly beautiful preservation of natural history
by: Serena Qiu
The latest international stop for Hic et Nunc, the collaboratively produced exhibition by Graham Tabor and Miguel Villalobos, will be in Beijing at the Joyce Gallery, opening August 17. The idea for the exhibit formed during the artists’ trips to France and Romania, and starting in 2010, Hic et Nunc began its global tour from Brachfeld Gallery in Paris, to Portal+ Gallery in Western Australia (which produced the show’s catalogue), and HAPPA Space in Tokyo. At a time when the world is celebrating its nations, Tabor and Villalobos have created a trans-nationally relevant body of art.
The show, whose title is Latin for “Here and Now,” is meant to be a meditation on the struggle to preserve history and nature. Occasionally, the show has travelled with the sub-heading “Ossarium Animale,” (or “ossuary for animals”) which is a descriptive summary of the works featured. Tabor and Villabos are presenting a series of life-size sculptures of animal skeletons constructed from cardboard and resin, many of which stand for species that have gone extinct. The artists have said that they think of this show as “a fake museum filled with totems to Man’s conflicted relationship with the nature around him; the desire to preserve in conflict with our addictions that destroy.” The sculptures are accompanied by sketches and photographs taken from their trips to the Musee D’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and the Gallery of Paleontology, where Tabor and Villalobos were first inspired to assemble the show.
It is fitting for Tabor and Villalobos to work together to produce this thoughtfully crafted, multimedia display. Both artists derive their visual and material sensitivity from careers in fashion.
Tabor is a fashion editor whose features bridging art and fashion have been presented in magazines as well as major art museums. He had also served as the senior designer and consultant for a long list of design houses that include Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld, and Thakoon. Villalobos’ background is in fashion photography in both an editorial and artistic capacity, but his range of skills includes illustration and filmmaking. Together, Tabor and Villalobos also design jewelry under the name Piece Unique.
Though varied and multi-disciplinary, their aesthetic as individual artists and as a collective has always been attentive to form, texture and pattern made manifest on delicately wrought surfaces. This exhibition promises to be another shade of their exploration of the darkly and beautifully haunting.