Reported by Ellvixson Yap
Louie Cordero was born in Manila Philippines, where he currently lives and works. Cordero’s puzzling, imploring, and visually striking juxtapositions are often punctuated by blood and gore, as if to imply the history of violence and bloodshed that his nation and people have sustained. Cordero’s artwork makes references to his native Philippines, a nation rich with diversity. His work reflects a particularly Filipino amalgamation of different religions and cultures, which includes originating traditions, Spanish Catholicism and American popular culture, coming out of a long and often violent history of colonialism.
Navigating the twisted landscape of Louie Cordero’s visceral scenes, one momentarily enters the Filipino identity. Informed by a history of colonization, Catholic domination, and whispers of Western culture that seem to have ciphered.
“His installation MY WE is inspired by the recent spate of murders of people singing Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ in Filipino karaoke bars.” The victims according to Louie Cordero, all chose the Frank Sinatra song, My May, and performed it so badly they were murdered. Whether this decade-long spate of killings is an urbvan myth or not, Cordero searches for some understanding of the Filipino situation in the exaggerated violence and humour of this story.
His paintings, sculptures and drawings, peopled with monsters and graphically wounded bodies, blend visceral gore with seductively brilliant color and highly refined technique. Figures from Filipino mythology and its strong oral tradition are referenced through the artist’s gruesome monsters and zombies. unique and elaborately decorated in vibrant colors, features an ornate mash-up of pop and religious iconography. By combining these elements, varied and obscure (to westerners), with imagery appropriated from Cordero’s assorted interests including kitsch, Indian advertising, cult American b-movies and pulp horror, the contrasting influences reflect the complex diversity of the artist’s heritage, itself. There’s surprisingly no fear in this room either, despite the gore that’s in these statues around me, despite those stab wounds that ultimately look shallow, that aren’t so much about a literal killing.