The world is slowly becoming a place built on noise. There are empty noises, persuasive noises, and noises that are by-products of our everyday. And it is often overwhelming how these sounds both terrify and suffuse us with life.

As these noises surround us, visual artists Hideo Tanaka and Ciane Xavier succumb into a cathartic state of silence, creating surrealistic works that draw energy from a conscious quietude which were built from pieces of a distracted world. Their exhibition entitled “And Then We Pause” is catalyzed by their effort to take a moment to grasp the world at a standstill. The works in this exhibit portray a surrender to the sound of nothingness—a chosen silence that may become contemplative at one point, erratic on another. They question where their need for silence are drawn, and what noises will be made after it.

As Tanaka allows his subjects to contemplate within a dream-like state, distinct pieces like “Beyond”, “Balance”, and “Balloon” prove a contrasting sense of precariousness. His hyper-realistic paintings further invigorate vulnerability amidst the calmness, like the works reflect the society’s choice to not believe in the worst, no matter how delicate the hopes may be. 

Xavier, however, paradoxically contemplates on silence with noise. Her sculpture “Wake Up All Is a Dream” reminds us how the world’s uproars shaped the way we listen. The video animation that accompanies it aptly resonates the way people continue to stay “afloat” (not drown in silence), and live to witness the growth of both the noises and the silences they make. Her resin sculptures, bare and unapologetic, discern the need to be “naked” from the worldliness—a kind of noise that has been difficult to mute, yet deafening to let go.

“And Then We Pause” culminates as it suggests—we pause. We pause collectively and within. We pause for things that conduct orchestras of our being. We pause to get clarity. And despite the clamor that prevents us from yielding into a meditative silence, pausing pushes us to begin listening to the noise we wanted to create in the first place. 

And Then We Pause: Tanaka and Xavier on Creating Necessary Silences

notes by Grace Micah Oreiro
curated by Ricky Francisco