The Meticulous Recordings of Larissa Tiggelers
The extensive preparations for the December Fiesta, one of Batan’s largest yearly events was in full swing by November. At odd hours, sounds of teens practicing marching band sets infiltrate every street and corner. From drum heavy versions of the years’ summer hits in percussion and xylophone, became the unexpected challenge to the typical quiet studio practice of Larissa Tiggelers. Choir practice also became more frequent during this time and often amplified through church speakers. Landscaping for civic spaces would start early before the sun intensified, filling the morning with the incessant whir of grass cutters. In addition to these sounds, the regular call of roosters, neighbourhood dogs, vehicular horns, stray cats, chirping birds, church bells, bats and unseen critters all contributed to the environmental symphony of Batan.
Larissa Tiggelers completed her Residency amidst this collective buzz. Presenting such a jarring contrast to the requisite conditions for her process-driven art practice, there seemed to be only two options from which to respond, to embrace or reject. It's to Larissa’s credit that her focus remained steadfast and embraced the local clamor despite the drastic shift taken to adapt in such conditions.
The work she embarked on during her one month stay began by first gathering information and inspiration. This stage for many artists present an unknowing that can be frustrating and slightly frightening. It can also be quite freeing. Anticipating this, Larissa made no specific plans for her time at the Residency. Rather, she simply remained open for change, however that may manifest.
In the studio, Larissa carefully prepared several pre-cut watercolour paper slated for painting. She collected paint colours by translating visual stimulus into a sketchbook of colour swatches.
During a memorable trip to Mambuquiao beach about a half hour drive from the Residency, Larissa harvested a collection of soft hued corals which would later provide the palette for several paintings she completed. Other colour combinations were taken from the extensive private rock collection at Elmo’s House, once owned by the Residency’s namesake.
Days were also spent creating small scaled paper mâché vessels made with recycled paper and homemade rice paste from the kitchen pantry. Not fully ground to paste, Larissa was deliberate in retaining some of the rice kernels as a nod to its materiality. The rice paste dried a translucent grey which allowed some of the paper texture to show from underneath. The vessels were small in scale, holding about the same volume as two hands cupped together. Pigmented from a combination of acrylic as well as natural colouring taken from an assortment of flowers, these objects also imbue the same thoughtful and delicate qualities her paintings possess.
Remnants of Larissa’s material play are remain scattered around Elmo’s House. Unfinished and maquette works sit on surfaces in the studio while others have been placed in the room she once inhabited. They are now residual artifacts of her Residency lessons and discoveries, including the first set of vessels she made painted in opaque periwinkle, before she experimented with more natural pigments. A pair of sculptures made from a bluish grey plastic jute woven into formed wire now sit again a studio window.
Philippines as it permeates the studio with newness for international artists, can easily be exoticized and appropriated through the work. Larissa left behind some work as it was too close to mimicry of filipiniana crafts encountered numerous times in markets and stalls around town. Instead, she took delicate plaster and paper casts, affirming her role as observer without claim. The casts, works on paper, and natural dyed vessels were taken back with her, some as artworks others as recordings of her experience or beginnings for new works.
Throughout her many explorations in the studio, Larissa Tiggelers has been consistent in approaching the work with sensitivity to her surroundings.
Throughout her many explorations in the studio, Larissa Tiggelers has been consistent in approaching the work with sensitivity to her surroundings. By being open for change, her time in the studio was not hampered by expectations. The overwhelming distractions were not distractions, but taken in stride as part of the environment from which to learn and investigate.
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