Dashing Through Manila’s Art Scene (ie Catching What I Can)

Annie Cabigting, Warhol's grave, for "Black and White Under A Shroud of Gray and Gray"

Apologies for the sparse postings, but somehow, a project we undertook a few months ago has morphed into Art Fair Philippines 2013, and now it seems that every free minute of the day has been devoted to that beast!  For more information—yes, shameless plug!—please do check out www.artfairphilippines.com or https://www.facebook.com/artfairph Continue reading

All Around Town: DAGC Gallery, Pablo Fort, Manila Contemporary, Blanc Peninsula, and Pinto Art Gallery

Noi Gonzales, "Pakikisama", at Pinto Art Gallery

I’ve been stranded in the seven kingdoms of Westeros these past few weeks, ensnared by the five mammoth volumes of The Game of Thrones.  I thought it high time to come back to reality, to catch up on Manila’s art scene—my original form of escape.  I wanted to see some exhibits that were due to close, and to make sure I made it to some of this weekend’s more promising openings.

My two-day art binge took me from the heart of Taguig’s Global City, to the streets of Makati and yonder, all the way up to the hills of Antipolo. Continue reading

Post No Bill at Manila Contemporary

Alwin Reamillo, "Untitled (Crab Eye)", shredded bank notes and mixed media on crabshell in plexiglass

I approach group shows with trepidation, frequently hoping I don’t find a hodgepodge of pieces haphazardly thrown together merely to make up the numbers. Although Manila’s most recent group exhibits (at least the ones I’ve managed to catch) have not given cause for complaint.  Neither does Post No Bill, just opened at Manila Contemporary. Continue reading

Maria Jeona’s Teenage Mutant Fantasies

Maria Jeona Zoleta, "Playground Love"

Even with a title like Tricky Sexy Sodomy or The Case of The Attention Seeking Whores, by Maria Jeona’s standards, you could call this show restrained.  No bloodstained feminine napkins, no panties and bras hanging anywhere.   Certainly a touch more circumspect than we’ve seen from her before. Continue reading

Maya Munoz and Kiko Escora Deliver Short Frictions

Maya Munoz, "Untitled V"

Maya Muñoz and Kiko Escora enjoy a reputation for consistent work.  Their two-person exhibit, Short Frictions, now on its second week at Manila Contemporary, does nothing to dispel this notion.  You could even say that Sidd Perez, the exhibit’s curator, succeeds in prodding them slightly from their norm.  This  has resulted in pieces that do them both credit, Maya more so than Kiko, in my opinion. Continue reading

Hate Mail at Manila Contemporary

Kaloy Sanchez, "Flightless"

It must be the season for group shows.  The third one I’ve seen this month, Hate Mail, at Manila Contemporary, is the second in a series of exhibits that, per the wall text, “…looks at visual linguistics in relation to communicating fundamental human emotions…” It comes after Love Letters, which the gallery, fittingly enough, mounted close to Valentine’s Day. Continue reading

Momentously Monumental

Elmer Borlongan, "Pag-ahon"

I never thought I’d wish Manila Contemporary had more space.  But when an exhibit like Monumental comes along, even the vast proportions of Metro Manila’s most capacious gallery seems crowded. Continue reading

Lui Medina’s Raptus

Lui Medina’s Raptus, currently on view at Manila Contemporary, stands out for its marked contrast to anything else on exhibit in

Lui Medina, "After Raptura"

Manila today.  She has brought us wall- bound works notable for their minimalism and restraint, a break from the exuberant bursts of color and riot of figures that fill the walls of other galleries this month.  I thought it a welcome change, equally as enjoyable, even if diametrically opposed, to the street art at West Gallery or the Mariano Ching and Dex Fernandez exhibits at SLab. Continue reading

Bad Boys at Manila Contemporary

"Wandbild" by Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen, "Wandbild"

First, graffiti in a museum.  Now, tattoos in a gallery.  Witness as Bad Boy art turns legit, and Manila’s welcoming response to this development.  A show that carries a title as provocative as Painting With A Hammer To Nail The Crotch of Civilization with artist Manuel Ocampo as the curator is bound to draw in the art scene denizens.  Throw in work by his colleagues, the likes of international art superstars like Albert Oehlen, plus free tattoo sessions on selected days of the show’s run, then you even get the dwellers of the alternative art scene to trek to Makati.

Manuel Ocampo mural

Continue reading

Clouds and Wings, Alwin and Juliet

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mutya ng Pasig", one of the restored pianos

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mutya ng Pasig", one of his restored pianos

A friend of mine described it as an art lover’s show.   And with good reason.  Alwin Reamillo continues to channel his family’s involvement in local piano-making into art pieces, producing large and small wall-bound assemblages and three restored pianos.  Clouds and Wings is a two-person exhibit with Juliet Lea, and aside from both artists’ individual works, they also show collaborative pieces.

Installation of four large-scale wings

It’s the first time that I’ve seen Manila Contemporary mount an exhibit without a cast of thousands.  What a difference it makes when the space allows us viewers to enjoy an artist’s work in-depth.  Although I am familiar with Alwin’s piano projects, and I know that the Singapore Art Museum acquired one of his pianos for its collection, I have not actually seen any of them before.  Here he shows one grand piano inspired by Nicanor Abelardo, embellished with image transfers and found objects.  He treats  his wings in a similar vein, finishing these off with the gloss that you use on actual pianos.  The wings take their name from the shape of the grand piano’s awning.  He names four of the bigger ones after seasonal wind directions:  Amianan, Katimugan, Kanluran, Sirangan.

Alwin Reamillo, "Katimugan (Southern Wing)"

I suppose I can safely say that both artists work a lot with image transfers.  Although Juliet also exhibits a series of paintings on wood of mainly polka dot patterns.  These remind me a bit too much of Yayoi Kusama’s work.  I prefer her Cloud Books, charcoal cloud drawings on book paper.  And I thought she did really beautiful work for Garden Of Delights, where she put her image transfers on printed fabric.   Two other pieces on printed fabric  were done in collaboration with Alwin.  All these works on fabric spilled over with rich details that you won’t ever get tired of.  Well, I wouldn’t.

Juliet Lea, " Nevada Enewotok Atoll Bikini Atoll Johnston Island" and "Maralinga Malden Isand Christmas Island"

I missed the piano performance on opening night, but I did catch the random playing that ensued the rest of the evening. The tinkling of the keys, the free-flowing wine, and hors d’oeuvres from Cibo’s adjacent commissary—not a bad way to spend the early part of a Saturday evening.

Clouds and Wings runs from 19 June to 11 July 2010 at Manila Contemporary, Whitespace, 2314 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.  Phone (632) 844-7328 or visit http://www.manilacontemporary.com


Alwin Reamillo, "Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano"

Portrait of Nicanor Abelardo on the grand piano's soundboard

Another detail, grand piano

Alwin Reamillo, "Cloud Piano"

Juliet Lea, "Cloud Painting"

Juliet Lea, "Garden of Delights"

Juliet Lea and Alwin Reamillo, "Humayo Ka Satanas, sapagkat ito ay nakasulat, Wala kang ibang sasambahin kundi ang Panginoon Mong Diyos at tanging Siya lamang ang iyong paglilinkuran"

Alwin Remillo and Juliet Lea, detail of "Humayo Kayo at Magparami"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Mayon"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "R+J (Havana)"

Alwin Reamillo, "Palipad Padapo"

Alwin Reamillo, detail of "Palipad Padapo"

Alwin Reamillo, "Strung Back"

Alwin Reamillo, "Tutubi/Helicopter"

Taking a turn on the piano

A view of the exhibit