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    Sale 2616

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 November 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 339

    KIKO ESCORA (b. The Philippines 1970)

    Forbidden fruit

    Price Realised  

    KIKO ESCORA (b. The Philippines 1970)
    Forbidden fruit
    signed and dated 'KIKO ESCORA 2008' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    95¼ x 71 7/8 in. (242 x 185.5 cm.)


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    Magnificently tragic, Kiko Escora's subjects are captured in all their awkward dignity and mysterious sensuality. The present lot, Forbidden fruit, is a portrait that captivates, its colossal size drawing viewers into a scene of acute intimacy displayed as though under a harsh lightbulb. Escora maintains his penchant for unnerving visual energy - his portraits suggesting remoteness at the same time also the nagging feeling of intense familiarity.

    Unlike his iconic series of portraitures of the edgy and fashionably sensitive crowd from urban culture, Forbidden fruit is distinctively part of a more introspective body of work that is more haunting and melancholic. His visual device of cropping has become an intense magnifying mechanism, the pose of his subject is zeroed into the sorrowful angle of the head. The tension and suspension of the painting are in a shocking degree as compared to his other portraits. Everything about Forbidden fruit leaves no room for relief. Escora's adept play with symbolism and the depth of light over the surface of the human body make the subject uneasily provocative, almost erotically charged. The concentration on the head and neck, as well as the lack of any clues on the background, can only hint at emotions and energies so intense, so forbidden, that they can only accumulate in demise or some equal tragedy.

    Escora is attentive to the telling signs of desperation. What invites his attention is not a particular physical feature but a certain bearing in expression, pose, or gesture that would give away a subject's uncompromising claim on his life. He derives inspiration from the urban underground - its disasters, dreams, beloveds and lovers.