Sculptures, digital photographs
Gaston Damag calls the bulul that remains focal in his practice as a colonial readymade – inversing the cult ideal of this Western representation of this rice god figure within art historical tradition. After all, he hails from the very community in which the rituals surrounding the bulul are performed. Taking from the material culture of the Ifugao, Damag puts to the fore the ambiguity that surrounds the reading of this figure: as it traverses inquiries of its artifact-ness vis-a-vis commercial distribution as a tourist souvenir and as an artistic strategy from which elements in art tradition configure themselves.
As Damag is first and foremost an Ifugao, the ethnographic symbols that he makes use of are in authentic proximity of their usage. However he is trained in a Western academy that did not only gather criticality towards their lineage of semiotics but also of formalistic devices. In a sense, the bulul is the cornerstone from which is works shape around in. While the idol grounds the culture he participates in, it also functions as a visual method of focus and deconstruction to open up the field of materiality. Often he uses industrial materials such as glass, neon and steel in modernist arrangements in space.