When we think of the museum and gallery experience, our attention naturally gravitates towards the visual aspect—the art that unfolds before our eyes. Still, the rest of our senses run in the background to enrich the overall experience: the softness of the exhibition rug underfoot, the warmth radiating from the exhibit lights, the faint scents of various artistic media permeating the room, the ambient hum of conversation among fellow gallery-goers, the carefully chosen exhibit music that envelops us.
For the second edition of Entre Blanc, taking place at ManilART'23 from October 11 to 15, Gallery Nine has partnered with 13 visual artists and one musician to elevate the exhibition into a multisensory experience.
Entre Blanc as multisensory marvel
Establishing multisensory experiences at Entre Blanc aligns with its overall spirit: celebrating the creative process and offering artists a space to explore. Last year’s exhibit encouraged artists to envision the show as a blank slate, an opportunity for uncharted expeditions. This time, the experience transcends the visual realm.
At the core of Entre Blanc: A Multisensory Exhibition are the creative visions of 13 visual artists and a music producer. The producer was invited to create music for the exhibit which served as “prompts” for the visual artists, who were then free to interpret these musical prompts as they saw fit.
Gab Loste, the exhibit’s head and ManilART coordinator, explains the intention behind the exhibition, stating that it aims to be “interactive in a way that there is music. First, all the works are inspired by these two pieces. Second, during the exhibit, the audience will be given headphones to experience the music that inspired the artworks.”
A suite of sensory symphony
The Entre Blanc musical composition is a two-movement suite, a creation of producer and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Gregory. Gregory’s musical journey began with the piano, sparking an exploration of genres ranging from classical and jazz to contemporary music. His musical evolution, as well as his perception of the world, is profoundly influenced by his synesthesia, a sensory condition where sounds evoke colors.
Though Gregory typically doesn’t consciously utilize synesthesia in his music, he noted that it served as an unexpected wellspring of inspiration for Entre Blanc, adding a layer of visual and emotional richness to the two movements. Ultimately, he aimed to recreate the feeling of immersion and the birth of new artistic realms. He explains, “I sort of simulated that experience in my head, ‘what would that be like’ and ‘how [would you] enter into a world and immerse yourself in that world?’ And then create your own world from that.”
The first movement, titled Cascade, serves as an introduction to this new world- characterized by a soundscape of waves and energy that envelop the listener, preparing them for the artistic odyssey ahead. This was done deliberately, with Gregory’s intention for this movement being to ease the audience gradually into immersion.
Its second movement, Orbit, adheres to a more classical structure distinct from the first. Gregory aimed to create a sense of organic flow by exploring melody and harmony more thoroughly; the title itself also reflects the composition’s cyclical nature, ending where it began, providing a sense of familiarity and homecoming.
Fresh and familiar perspectives
A diverse group of artists has been invited to contribute their creative visions to Entre Blanc. This ensemble of talent includes both first-timers and familiar faces from the exhibition's first run. Newcomers to the Entre Blanc stage include animator and illustrator Roberto Lolong, contemporary oil painter Abby Añover, surrealist Janos Delacruz, watercolorist and printmaker Yas Doctor, and versatile artist-educator Diwa Abueva.
Returning from the previous Entre Blanc exhibition, familiar faces include the versatile graphic artist Lee Caces, artist-advocate Melissa Yeung-Yap, figurative abstract painter Athena Tolentino, self-taught mixed-media artist Katelyn Miñoso, digital sneaker pop artist C. Yu (also known as Sneakerdoodles), abstract-expressionist painter Bea Policarpio, and the detail-oriented painter and illustrator Kara Pangilinan. Figurative painter Isobel Francisco completes this ensemble of artistic talent.
This impressive group shall be the wellspring of different perspectives. Loste points out, “What’s interesting to me is that we gave the same music to these visual artists, but they all take away something different.”
A feast for the senses
Engaging with the same piece in various ways, exploring the multiplicities of artistic intent, and riffing off each other, is what continually makes Entre Blanc fascinating. Diwa Abueva, one of the artists, shares her creative process as she immersed herself in Joseph Gregory's suite, particularly drawing inspiration from its second movement for her acrylic on canvas painting titled A Lover's Elegy (2023):
“Upon repeated listening, the composition evoked a cinematic experience reminiscent of a classic noir film score, evoking emotions of loss, remembrance, and potential reconciliation. It brought to mind one of my favorite films, Cinema Paradiso, directed by Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore,” Abueva explains. The work she showcases in Entre Blanc is indeed deeply inspired by film and popular culture, with the initial prompt, in turn, evoking another favorite multimedia work of art for her.
With Entre Blanc, the ManilART audience has the opportunity to see through the eyes and hear through the ears of what inspires artists. Leveraging our rich diversity of perceptions is what the exhibit aims for, as Loste explains, “The goal is to create an experience that resonates with our viewers on multiple levels.” Each one of us may resonate with different aspects—the music, the visual art, the artist’s intent, and all the spaces in between—and that’s what makes the multisensory experience one of a kind.
Visit “Entre Blanc: A Multisensory Exhibition” at ManilART’23. ManilART runs from October 11-15, 2023 at the SMX Convention Center, 3rd Level, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City.
Call (0977) 807 3369 or visit www.manilartfair.com for details.