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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ramon Diaz: Sumo @ NOVA Gallery

Sumo Ramon Diaz From 16 March to 6 April 2012, established Filipino artist Ramon Diaz presents his most recent artworks at Nova Gallery. The one-man show will feature 19 works on paper that capture the allure of the traditional Japanese sport, sumo wrestling.

 Famous as a figurative painter, printmaker, sculptor and installation artist, Diaz shifts to ink on wet canvass to depict a sport that has captured his fascination since he was 11 years old when he first saw sumo wrestling match.

 One of the most iconic symbols of Japanese culture, sumo has come to represent the persistence of tradition in an age where social shifts, motored by technology, are happening in breakneck speed.

 Diaz's work is a call to a review of such developments. He implores us to look again at such customs, those that make the fabric of our identities but have begun to fray at the ages.It is no accident that he depicts scenes that show how regimented the sport is: from the dohyō-iri or ringentering ceremony to the detailing of the mawashi loin cloth worn by the wrestlers.

 This tension between opposing forces - old and new, lightness and gravity, man and rival - is magnified on the works that portray the different or winning techniques in a sumo bout. From a pulling body slam (yobimodoshi) to a double arm luck (kimedashi), Diaz attempts to freeze that very instant right before the victor makes the winning move.

 “It is these that I am most interested in. The calm at the eye of the storm. Not the before or the after nor the build-up to that instant,” Diaz says. In framing such scenes, he draws the viewer and the viewed into a distilled, focused point in time during the fight. This perhaps is what Henri-Cartier Bresson would have called the 'decisive moment'.

 That penultimate second just before a wrestler pins his opponent to the floor, when flesh becomes lighter than paper, and a fight ends with a single gesture.

 For more information call 392-7797 or send an electronic mail to or visit NOVA Gallery is located at Warehouse 12A, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.

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