DUELO: A healthy battle of skill between master and protégé

“One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil. And why, then, should you not pluck at my laurels? You respect me; but how if one day your respect should tumble? Take care that a falling statue does not strike you dead! You had not yet sought yourselves when you found me. Thus, do all believers — Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you.”

That splendid quote by Friedrich Nietzsche in his work “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, was mentioned by Carl Jung in one of his 1912 correspondence letters to his mentor and peer, Sigmund Freud. Unfortunately, the Fathers of Psychoanalysis’ camaraderie ended in a break-up and never returned to being “friends”.

When I heard about Art Portal for Contemporary Art gallery opening a new exhibit called “DUELo”, a two-man exhibit by Dominick Pilapil and Rey Bollozos, this immediately reminded me of Jung and Freud; but hopefully, these two brilliant local artists’ relationship won’t end up the same, ill-fated way. I was assured during my interview with Dominick Pilapil that DUELo’s concept is coming from a healthy perspective between a mentor and his protégé “battling it out” on canvas with the artistic techniques and skills as their weapons in the composition and style in the discipline of realism.

The exhibit features two artists coming from different generations—Rey Bollozos is an established and more seasoned artist and teacher, while Dominick Pilapil is one of Rey’s students and an emerging artist that have garnered a well-deserved following and admiration for his works in his own right. DUELo aims to promote the essence of healthy competition amongst art practitioners and to solidify the presence of the classical techniques of realism especially in its application in the contemporary art scene.

Whilst viewing the curated artworks in the exhibit space, (although given that they were only through photos sent to me by Alfred Galvez) I was nevertheless having a hard time distinguishing the artist from portrait to portrait because, indeed, the similarity in execution and style is a bit uncanny. Therefore, I asked Dom: “So where is the “duel” that is happening here, when it would seem like it is more of an amalgamation?” He responded: “Well, it is inevitable that Sir Rey and I would have a similar palette because I am quite under his tutelage as of the moment, but I guess I am growing into an artist in my own way, and I am grateful because what is healthy for me is that I feel I have nothing to lose since I know that I am on the right track given that you could hardly distinguish our works, so it is a testament that my technical skills have very much progressed. It’s always an honor for me to be a challenge towards Rey’s level and it would be more arrogant if I didn’t do my best; because what matters most is the opportunity, and I am very much grateful to Art Portal and Sir Alfred as well because of his generous critic and support during this exhibit.”

Well thus spoken, Dom, and how well you have repaid your maestro by making him so proud, I’m sure! Please support and visit the “DUELo” exhibit at Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art at 1-A Paseo De Legaspi, 115 Pelayo St., Davao City.