Filipino surrealist artist Jon Jaylo presents first solo exhibition at EY Asean Art Outreach program

  • Share

Titled Cabinet of Curiosities, Jaylo pays tribute to the best teacher in life – adversity – by defamiliarizing common objects through surrealism

Singapore, 2 December 2013 – EY opened Cabinet of Curiosities by Filipino surrealist artist Jon Jaylo at the EY Gallery last Friday. This 15th exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program runs from 29 November 2013 to 28 February 2014.

Jaylo’s work is a reminder that surrealism is alive and well, persisting as a meaningful reference for the artist’s particular visual sensibility – one where ordinary images are combined in unusual ways to suggest another, perhaps a darker plane of reality or mysteries of life.

In presenting Cabinet of Curiosities, Jaylo was “inspired by the ordeals we all endure and tackle, and more specifically the pain we experience.” He said: “The paradox of life is that pain is an aphrodisiac for strength, clarity of thought and even confidence. While in the throes of a trying time, one is blinded by the trials and tribulations. Yet, one must benefit from the journey. I sought to explore this dichotomy in my latest series to pay tribute to the best teacher in life: adversity.”

In Cabinet of Curiosities, Jaylo retains his artistic stamp of lyrical poetry and theatrical portray of ordinary images in intensely brilliant colors and unfamiliar context. He has collected the strange and the sundry to create an exhibit of works that mediate with the world, albeit one created from his imagination. He displaces the meaning of ordinary images such as apples, houses, keys, and dominoes by removing them from their expected context and defamiliarizing them. His artworks play around a fantasy and dream world where he allows one to daydream and momentarily escapes to where one feels liberated of all physical components and is free to climb, travel, and fly through.

About Cabinet of Curiosities and exhibited works

(Source: Curatorial review by Roberta Dans and Victor Ocampo)

Cabinet of Curiosities is Jaylo’s first solo exhibition in Singapore as part of the EY Asean Art Outreach program. All the paintings in this exhibition form a collection that celebrates the strange and numinous and explores dreams and unconsciousness as a form of reality. In The tale of two travelers, it shows two persons improbably moving an old house across an ominous blue ocean. Their domicile restricts their vision, yet they blindly move forward. This is a metaphor perhaps for immigrants who struggle towards new land, hoping from greener pastures across the dark waters. The house is the duo’s container, the vitrine that keeps them seemingly safe yet cuts them off from reality.

Unlocking knowledge is a work featuring an antique key about to open an improbable lock on a red delicious apple. It is the traditional symbol for the fruit of knowledge of good and evil but the sort of knowledge that it contains remains a question.

This exhibition also features Finding humility, where a headless king sits on a tower of dominoes. A mysterious hand is shown to the left, perhaps to take it slowly apart. The painting is a parable on humility. It suggests that the impending disaster befalling the king is a reminder to those who have grown mighty. Yet, no matter what greatness they have created or how powerful they have grown, something can and will inevitably tear it down.

Please see Appendix A (pdf, 344.4kb) for a list of the exhibited works.

About the artist, Jon Jaylo

(Source: Curatorial review by Roberta Dans and Victor Ocampo)

Jon Jaylo was born in 1975 in Manila. Jaylo has earned himself a slew of art patrons that are drawn to his enigmatic works that narrate “a massively deep philosophy of thought through a theatrical rendition of intensely brilliant colors that seem to amuse its audience and present a status of intellectual complacency”.

From 2008, Jaylo started to receive international exposure through exhibitions around the world. He participated in the Uiwang International Placard Art Festival in Kyunggi-do, Korea and exhibited in Beyond Borders III in Singapore in 2008. In 2009, he showed in Magistrates in Berlin, Germany and was part of KunstArt 2009, the sixth International Art Fair in Bolzano, Italy. He also showed Tabi Tabi Po in San Francisco, California in the US. In 2010, he returned to Germany to exhibit Unlocking an Enigma in Berlin, and Art Fair 21 Strychnin Bloom in Cologne. In 2012, Jaylo showed at The Distinction Gallery in Escondido, California and thereafter showed Methamorphosis at CoproGalleries in Santa Monica, California with an international group of artists. Last year, he exhibited Reverie & Odyssey at Artesan Gallery + Studio in Singapore, Vanishing Folklore at Strychnin Gallery in Berlin, Germany. In early 2013, in an international group exhibition, Jaylo showed in Painted Sound at Flower Pepper Gallery in Rome, Italy.

His major exhibitions in Manila throughout the last six years have included: Boxed, in the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Peculiar People in 2007, Unexamined Failure, Beautiful Sins, Rekindle, and Sweet Tragedies in 2008. Exhibitions that showcased his works in 2009 were Art 2 Heart, Chaos and Harmony, Art for Youth’s Sake, Illusional Disfunctional, Iskwalado, Clarity, Seeing You, Seeing Me, and Twelve by Nine in various galleries in Manila.

In 2010, most of his exhibitions were overseas, but Jaylo had two shows in Manila. He took part in an exhibition in the Vargas Museum entitled CANVAS: Everyday Filipino Heroes, and

Theatre of Reveries. In 2011, he presented at Imagining Identity: 100 Filipino Self Portraits and Mirage at the Ayala Museum. In 2012, he exhibited Duo at the Ayala Museum followed by a group exhibition RE:VIEW 2012 at BenCab Museum.

About EY Asean Art Outreach program

This is the 15th exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program. The program was started in October 2007 with the dual objectives of promoting the development of art in the region and contributing back to the community, as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility program. 20% of the sale proceeds from the exhibitions are donated to three local charities: the Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), the NCC Research Fund and Club Rainbow (Singapore).

Specifically for this exhibition, EY has included an additional option – the Singapore Red Cross – for buyers who may wish to contribute to this charity in aid of the Red Cross Haiyan Relief victims that recently devastated Central Philippines.

The past 14 exhibitions have raised over S$178,000 in total for the three local charities through the sale of works of Singaporeans Ron Wong, Ho Sou Ping and the late Chua Ek Kay; Vietnamese Hà Mạnh Thắng, Lý Hùng Anh and Phạm Huy Thông; Myanmar Zaw Win Pe and Nay Myo Say; Malaysians Chong Siew Ying, Hamir Soib, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Umibaizurah Mahir and Kow Leong Kiang; Java-born New Zealander John van der Sterren and Filipino Marina Cruz.

The EY Gallery is located in EY’s office at One Raffles Quay, North Tower, Level 18. The exhibition is open to the public on Tuesdays (12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.) and Wednesdays (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.), from 29 November 2013 to 28 February 2014. Viewing is by appointment only. The public is encouraged to call +65 6535 7777 to make an appointment at least three days before visiting.


About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, a member of the global EY organization.