Goldie Poblador’s “Babae” reveres the female body.
Text by Nikki Valenzuela; Photos by Nikki Valenzuela and artwork photos courtesy of the artist
“There are two ways to drink from these glasses; there’s a little hole on the side – that’s what I call the bad behavior way of drinking it. Feel free if you would like; we have a lot of paper towels in the back.”
Giggles ensue after the artist fancifully tips the audience on how to encounter her pieces. It wasn’t a gallery space after all; we felt at home in this cozily filled bar room at The Curator. If not for the illumined sculptures lining its elongated tables, the den practically concealed the crowd in pitch black. There was little to no room for conversation during the first part, as we intently tuned into flashing slides revealing the artist’s body of work. Situated in a lecture room hazily doubling as exhibit hall, viewers took up no more than a foot of space from each other. And right across the altar, we sat; the dimly lit atmosphere shrouding noise to cast light upon the divine feminine: a display of soft-looking glass guiding the breadth of our movement. We were thoughtful about our measure of distance from the work; the glass could easily shatter had we not cautiously kept the breathing room about it, sacred. Despite the air of reverence, moments circulated cheeky; the ambivalence of mood diminishing any hard lines that would smother the gait of flow.
From a plot of conceptual discourse, Goldie Poblador blithely shifts us into the second phase of her show: cocktails. A sense of excitement dabbed with a tinge of nervousness comes over the audience, as those of us with awkward hands and clammy tendencies anticipate cradling the sculptor’s delicate pieces. How often will our lips kiss such valuable glass? Some of us are deathly afraid of mishandling artwork; have you ever held something so precious in the palm of your hand?
Inspired by each corresponding rendition of the shot glass, The Curator especially formulated cocktails to fill the hollows: drinks entitled “The Girl with the Pearl,” the “Dandy Martini,” the “Vida,” and the “Microbarn” transform still lives by pouring authorship into the hands of viewers: a performance laced within the intimate act of sipping liquor from such fragile vessels.
Goldie testifies that “Babae” bloomed in retaliation to a statement she once heard on the news: “Someone said that women should be shot in the vaginas.”
Composed of seventy shot glasses shaped liked female reproductive organs, the installative piece hopes to flip the tables on misogynism – a curse particularly plaguing the current political climate in the Philippines. “This is my way of emboldening women. I felt propelled to create something beautiful; something elegant in light of the feminine spirit,” the artist remarks.
“The way we have come to protect ourselves is not to feel, which is a terrible danger; because then we really become sub-human or non-human, and as far away from our real connection with other human beings as we can possibly be. So, we have to fight these dangerous elements in technology which come with an expanded universe, and the illusion the media gives us of being in touch with everything simply because we see. You can only be in touch by feeling.” – Anais Nin, A Woman Speaks: Lectures, Seminars, and Interviews of Anais Nin
Poblador on her piece “Flower Dance”
“Finding a meeting place in between the senses, “Flower Dance” is an interactive installation of scent, color, and sculpted glass wherein the forms mimic the movement of nature.
Visitors of the installation are invited to take whiff of artificially scented plants; each fragrance is transcribed from a color on the wall—circular swatches from which a bloom uniquely springs forth from. This piece was inspired by my wanderings on the mountains of the Philippines; as effected by Puerto Galera inhabitants, I had adopted using my sense of smell to navigate the forest.” She describes.
Goldie’s artist talk is doused with extracts from strong female icons like Nin. Turning hindmost to recount her first brush with glass, the sculptor brings us back to 2009: the year Typhoon Ondoy (otherwise known as Ketsana) devastatingly broke shore: “I then became hyper-aware of nature, its fragility, and how it can be easily lost. I became curious about flowers, and the things around my neighborhood.”—The artist’s bittersweet marvel for nature’s aftermath paving entry into her synesthetic explorations: smelling as seeing, hearing as feeling; space as a story; poetry in the guise of movement.
Mo Kong, contemporary artist born in Shanxi, the coal producing capital of China, and Christina “Goldie” Poblador, native of a heavily polluted river district in the Philippines, collaborate on an installation that addresses the urgency of pollution. Finding common themes within their practice in the realm of addressing the effects of climate change, their collaborative piece depicts the delicate and unpredictable ecological state of the environment.
Hallmarking Goldie’s artwork are her pop-up tableaus: spaces that invite her audience into modes of menagerie. Percolating the senses from a blanket of angles, the artist composes interiors that spur emotions into a whimsical billow.
Poblador on “La Cena”
“For this project, I collaborated with Chef Sal Marzili of the Old Canteen—a restaurant located in the Italian district of Providence, Rhode Island.
“La Cena,” which means “the dinner” in Italian, is a participatory installation which had a set of viewers partake of an intimate meal. In partnership with an Italian chef, I concocted an Aphrodisiac-hinged experience featuring glass sculptures slipped into the dishes served.
Conversations that took place interestingly took a turn for the sensual; with guests nonchalantly dissecting the causalities of sexual repression, the scenario suggests how production design can powerfully invoke a mood in mind – in this case, vulnerability and openness.”
To see the artist’s complete body of work, log onto http://goldiepoblador.com.