Friday, April 16, 2010

Cargo and Decoy | Roberto Chabet

“Cargo and Decoy” by conceptual artist Roberto Chabet was first installed over twenty years ago at the Pinaglabanan Galleries.

“Cargo and Decoy” is the last of a trilogy of works, which began with “Russian Paintings” in 1984 and “House Painting” in 1986. In these exhibitions, Chabet utilizes his signature material - store-bought plywood boards. It is a material, which has become not only the surface and support of his paintings, but to a large extent its subject matter and content.

“Cargo and Decoy” derives its title from the South Pacific cargo cult in which stick and stone decoys of the white man’s aircrafts are made to attract the white man’s cargo of material goods. Chabet explained that all art-making shares this illusory aspect of the cargo cult. The work has to do with the recognition that the art object, which is often taken as a decoy for reality, is reality itself. He added however “meaning in art tends to shift unpredictably. In the wink of an eye, the real may revert back to being a decoy.”

More than 20 years later, Chabet’s “Cargo and Decoy” remains to remind us that “the art object as decoy - as illusion - is often more interesting.

On view until April 18 at MO_Space, Bonifacio High Street. For inquiries, please call 856-2748 or email

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