To the Beauty and Infinite Complexity
In Angelo Tabije’s Theory of Unnatural Selection, the artist fully embraces what he has embarked on in his previous exhibitions — that of exploring the limits of human capacity to adapt to his surroundings and not only go through personal transformation, but to alter the space he exists in, as well as the objects within his reach.
Tabije’s recent works satiate his curiosity, and ours, as he presents modified human forms tangled with vegetation, bones, pipes and chassis. Pistons and valves are interconnected by cables, hoses and springs, birthing new creatures with uncannily familiar features that have to be scrutinized more closely to be recognized.
Imagine portrays two nymphs frozen in dance, their graceful limbs caught in flowing fabrics, twisted hydraulic parts and wings with feathers that resemble lethal steel blades. Covered in technicolored daubs of paint, they resemble lithe machines preparing for a fatal war. Lady with a Robot pays homage to the Renaissance Master Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Lady With An Ermine. Only, instead of the subject’s hand caressing a tame ermine with its silky coat, she pets a robot pet resembling a steampunk ancestor of BMO from Adventure Time. Mistress Gallerani’s visage is covered with flowers growing out of metal parts, her beauty enhanced by the mystery of velvety blossoms veiling her gaze. Modified animals also exist on Tabije’s canvas, Experiment 01 and Experiment 05 showing colorbar-rendered, hybridized beasts more mech than organic, with only their eyes showing natural features while a humanoid in Extinct prowls with a dinosaur skull, animal skeletons, tails and cartilage emerging from his body.
Theory of Unnatural Selection with its collection of fantastic images seems to posit how far we are from choosing modifications through gene manipulation, selective breeding or human assemblage, with the milestones that technology provides. There is no limit to the imagination, and our capacity for reworking the physical body is yet to be fully explored. Who is to say if animals may be attached to machines and artificial intelligence in the near future, like real-life Tamagochis from our childhood? A lot of existing inventions used to be unfathomable, but now we are slowly realizing that scenes we have only experienced in movies might actually come true – brains downloaded into computers, travel to different planets lightyears away, maybe even finding new planets to habitate. What is next in human evolution and what is possible, can anyone ever really tell?
Perhaps we should ask Charles Darwin who first mentioned artificial selection in the 1859 first edition of his work On the Origin of Species, when he wrote:
Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by his powers of artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and infinite complexity of the co-adaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may be effected in the long course of time by nature’s power of selection.
Perhaps we should also ask Google, Stephen Hawking, Stan Lee, or Siri.