Corpora Immobilia

what the viewers said

an installation by LEO ABAYA

installation detail

on view at the CORREDOR
UP College of Fine Arts, Diliman
July 17 to 27, 2003

Darkness is a necessary contrivance for  the maximum clarity of images and for the viewer's undistracted attention at a cinematic or  theatrical exhibition. Consider, therefore, darkness as the condition and end of a gallery exhibition that concerns itself with visibility.  - the artist

Initially, blackness. And then, depending upon the duration one's sight can accommodate darkness, visibility returns.

One realizes that the installation covers the entire gallery space. All  855 square feet of it is canopied with a blue fabric, with the full 12 feet height of the walls painted in the same hue.  Suspended at about three quarters of the canopy's length  and width are casts of two body parts.   In the middle of the floor space is a  54 by 72  feet canvas-covered mattress.

The installation with light enhancement for documentation purposes

CORPORA IMMOBILIA.  Corredor gallery installation: fabric, suspended casts of body parts,
light fixtures, mattress, underwater live sound recording playback, lavander-scented incense. 
12 X 18 X 45 feet
July 2003


What can barely be considered as illumination comes from two sources: a faint bounced light concealed on the  wall like a sconce  and an equally faint halogen light projected from the back of the canopy.

The aural space  is filled with a rumbling, gurgling  sound - a digitally modified playback of an  underwater live sound recording..

Under the extremely low lighting conditions of  the rather ambiguous space, sight is put on a threshold,  awakening myriad sensations: imaginary presences, distortion in the shapes of other viewers,  heaving of the canopy, movement from the body casts, and  feelings of fear, danger, drowsiness, reverie, drowning,  even sensuality. Under low illumination, receptivity is amplified allowing other visibles to be felt and found.

Corpora Immobilia is a proposition and an imposition at the same time. 

It is a proposition in that it does not impose itself on viewers including those who, having been too used to negotiate their worlds and contexts under familiar and metaphorically banal levels of visibility, decide at the outset or literally by the entrance of the exhibition area that there is nothing to see at all.

It is an imposition because even a momentary deprivation of visibility is compelling for the sighted.


This installation was made possible through a faculty grant awarded to the artist by the University of the Philippines, Diliman  for the school year 2002-2003.  Special thanks to  GMA Films for the permission to use their property in the form of an audio track.  The artist credits Rudy Gonzales  for his underwater live sound recording.

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