“Nothing grows well under the shadow of a big tree.”
That statement is attributed to the great sculptor, the Romanian Constantin Brancusi. An apprentice in the studio of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Brancusi realized that, though he may learn all the rudiments and techniques of sculpture, he will always remain in the shadow of Rodin, who was renowned throughout Europe for his works such as The Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais; and the iconic “The Thinker.” Departing from Rodin’s studio after only a few months, Brancusi was determined to discover for himself a new language for sculpture. Soon, he introduced a revolutionary style of simple geometrical shapes, sleek and suggestive of avian and phallic forms. Brancusi said: “I seek not the outer forms but the idea, the essence of things.” In the Philippine sculptural scene, undoubtedly one sculptor who casts a giant shadow is the late Eduardo Castrillo, renowned for his monumentally scaled historical monuments that ubiquitously dot the entire archipelago. Moreover, Castrillo created table-top and free-standing works that actually define his authentic design-aesthetics once freed from the demands of representing heroic figures.
Progeny of Castrillo is the siblings Nixxio and Ovvian, who, from childhood, were both exposed to the art of their father. Not surprisingly, both Nixxio and Ovvian were drawn into the art of sculpture. Nixxio, in particular, was manager of the Castrillo studio when the late maestro was still alive, thus exposing him to all the aesthetic and technical challenges of sculpture. No better training can be had by any young aspiring sculptor. To his credit, Nixxio, instead of being defeated by the constant comparison with his father, forged ahead and pursued his own vision. Spring-like Growth
On view at Galerie Roberto is Nixxio’s solo exhibition billed as “Inizio: New Beginnings.” Appropriately, it is the gallery’s opening year of the exhibition, and symbolically, a new beginning for Nixxio. Though still visibly influenced by his father’s design aesthetics – in particular, the allusion to irregularly shaped rectangular forms that propel themselves into zigzagging and upward movement that symbolizes spring-like growth – there are striking pieces that distinctly point a new direction for Nixxio. One is the bold and evocative “Observant”, a massive-looking chain of linked and interlocked forms in elegant equipoise. Another is the rising and streamlined stainless-steel “My Brother’s Keeper.” Still another, a burgeoning display of Nixxio’s sculptural prowess, is “State of Calmness”, an abstracted efflorescence of concave forms, hollowed-out space with the exuberance of flaring metallic petals.
There are obligatory pieces, of course, such as “Crucifixion” and traditional themes such as “Sharing God’s Grace,” depicting a young boy straddled across his father’s shoulders, with both their arms held up high in exultation. For this viewer, the work is a touching allusion to the late maestro Eduardo Castrillo and his son Nixxio, stepping out of a great shadow and casting his own light in Philippine sculpture.” – CID REYES