Windows, doors, swings and ladders placed in thin air that provide glimpses of or lead to unknown dimensions; TV sets and masses of cloud for heads, flying houses – these are the typical stylistic features of Michael Vincent Manalo (born 1986), who hails from Manila, Philippines and currently lives in Taichung, Taiwan. His visual artistry focuses on photography, photo-manipulation and installations. He writes that his work has been influenced by “nostalgic and dream-like environments”, it often “documents their decline into post-apocalyptic, nightmarish creations.”
In Michael’s photos, water, sky, land and concrete walls merge into an undefinable element around and within which the human mind is at once free and frustrated. No matter how open and wide the atmosphere looks, there is always something left to imagine. A mystery forever hovers at the horizon that must be entered into. A hint of “the Beyond” – wherein space and time as we know have been transcended – is ubiquitous.
Michael explains further: “My inspiration comes from life – what happens between days, travel experiences. I derive inspiration from those moments at which I discover that a thread of similarity runs through different cultures, that everyone shares the same stories. That life and the human condition are really universal.”
“My aims as an artist have fundamentally stayed the same but I constantly stray from the path to take alternative routes. Earlier, I wanted to make art that could be a medium for awakening – awakening who? – those who live fast-paced lives and have forgotten to dream. Those who have neglected the sky, those who are unable to be still in this contemporary society as they run like rats to generate incomes for themselves. Gradually, I began creating art that could help people re-acquaint with memories and to re-evaluate themselves and the paths they have chosen. In general, I intend to be good at what I’m doing and hope to arouse the sleeping soul.”
Michael’s work has been exhibited in several countries apart from the Philippines and Taiwan – Australia, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, the UK and the US. He has won several prizes internationally.
More on his website (www.michaelvincentmanalo.com), Saatchi Art page (www.saatchiart.com/michaelvmanalo), Behance portfolio (www.behance.net/michaelvmanalo), Displate page (displate.com/michaelvmanalo/surreal-thoughts), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MVMArtworks/) and Twitter profile (@MichaelVManalo).