(SPOT.ph) In 2014, while finishing an art residency at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, the only Filipino fellow Indy Paredes found himself struggling to find a place—literally and figuratively—to reside in and hone his artistic practice. Unknowingly, this seemingly recurring struggle for inhabiting and occupying different spaces has eventually paved the way towards an unexpected but fateful path of opening his very own art gallery in 2021 called the Gravity Art Space in Diliman, Quezon City.
Indy Paredes: From Precision and Self-Restraint to Spontaneity and Indefiniteness
“Key strength ko kasi noong bata pa lang is mathematician ako. As in I compete for the country, from elementary to high school…[S]pace, time, lahat ‘yan, guided by proportions. So noong nagpe-painting na ako, pinakamalaking ambag no’n [is mathematical knowledge] sa composition,” explains Paredes as to how his paintings back then reflect a worldview that is defined, precise, and calculated.
His perspective was challenged when Cameroonian visual artist Pascale Marthine Tayou took Paredes as a mentee during the residency. Tayou instructed him to roam around the streets of Paris, observe his surroundings, and draw using his left hand. Paredes recalls Tayou saying to him: “You’re too young to be safe. Lahat ng lines mo diretso, lahat ng lines tina-try mong maging pino. ‘Yong left hand mo di ba di mo kaya kontrolin, huwag mo buburahin pag nagkamali ka. I want all the mistakes [to] be part of your work. Kasi that’s you.”
Understanding the essence of the drawing exercise, Paredes realized that he had to unlearn the things he already knew in order to actually broaden his frame of mind.
"'Yong spontaneity dapat mag-flow. Kung anong meron ako, ‘yon dapat… Pagdating mo doon lahat ng dala mo bitawan mo. Ibigay mo lahat. Kailangan ko siyang bitawan [lahat ng alam ko] kasi kung hindi para kang nagpe-paint na sobrang lapit sa canvas," he adds.
True enough, Paredes allowed himself to be more spontaneous while immersing himself in a foreign environment and trying to find semblance in things that interest him through built architectures and the creation of spaces. Afterwards, he experimented with various materials beyond paint and started dabbling in structural installations.