How kinetic sculptures can mesmerize

How kinetic sculptures can mesmerize

Ivan Co fills Conrad Manila with paracosmic art

HAVING a rich imagination since childhood put Ivan Co on the artistic path, even as he pursued a career as a third-generation jeweler. Thus, it was no surprise that he arrived at the equally intricate craft of kinetic sculpture.

The psychological term “paracosm,” which refers to a complex world imagined over the course of many years, inspired Mr. Co. Each of his semi-precious gem-and-metal alloy sculptures is unique in their assemblages and movements, as if their swaying, dancing parts are their own complex world.

To kick off 2024, the Conrad Manila hotel is displaying 10 of these kinetic sculptures, which utilize gravity and balance to dazzle passersby.

The 28th exhibit in the “Of Art and Wine” series at the hotel’s Gallery C is called “Paracosm,” and it puts the spotlight on Mr. Co’s alluring kinetic creations. The exhibit invites viewers to take a close look at each pendulum and swiveling part in the exhibit.

Thanks to his background as a jeweler and his exploration of ornate sculpting since 2018, Mr. Co’s craftsmanship shines through in each intricate piece, made of his own alloy concocted from gold, silver, copper, zinc, and nickel.

“We all know that the world is at war with distractions. I also experienced that, especially during the pandemic, so one of my callings is to bring people back into focus through my work,” said Mr. Co at the exhibit launch on Jan. 9.

“Originally the first work I ever did was for me. I make sure my work has the quality to make people focus, just staring at it. That’s my goal,” he added.

While the exhibit’s title suggests the pursuit of higher ideals and awakened thought, its simple goal of letting viewers meditate as they watch the parts move and interact makes it intriguing and even hypnotic for the general public.

The Orbis collection has gemstones placed within the metal alloy sculpture revolving around each other, akin to celestial bodies that share an axis but spin on various planes. Meanwhile, the Rotundum pieces highlight parts that rotate and swing around yet maintain a beautiful balance.

In the lobby of Conrad Manila is Labyrinthian, the biggest piece at over five feet tall. It seems almost like a plaything, as it needs to be wound up before its crystal marbles glide down the slides of the complex system, sometimes setting off chimes that ring out — undoubtedly the most fascinating work.

Fabio Berto, Conrad Manila’s general manager, said at the launch that the exhibit is meant to be a strong start to the year, parallel to “the hotel’s commitment to provide patrons with touches of luxury and splendor.

“Ivan Co’s artistic mastery has also brought pride to the country, as he is the only Filipino invited to be featured in The Official Platinum Jubilee Edition to celebrate the late Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign,” he said.-

For Mr. Co, the exhibit is a prelude to even larger, more complicated creations, his belief being that imagination is the most powerful aspect of human consciousness. “These swiveling pieces came from that innate calling to think, explore, and create outside the limits of what the eye can see,” he said.

“Of Art and Wine: Paracosm” is on view at the Conrad Manila’s Gallery C until March 16. — Brontë H. Lacsamana