Due North: Ronald Ventura and Santi Bose at Vargas Museum

From "Watching The Watchmen", Ronald Ventura at Vargas Museum

“As a Filipino, I find the bulul such an iconic figure.  It immediately comes to mind once I think of sculpture that’s uniquely ours.  So I thought to myself, how would you present the bulul as contemporary art? How would you take it beyond its being a cultural symbol?” Continue reading

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Hong Kong Intervention, Alfredo + Isabel Aquilizan’s Address, and Sandra Palomar and Nolet Soliven’s Flesh at UP Vargas

Artists Sandra Palomar and Sun Yuan

I’m a big fan of Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.  Ever since I saw Angel, a hyper realistic sculpture of a dead angel splayed on the ground, I have sought to keep abreast of their work.  Made from silica gel and fiberglass, the most striking feature possessed by the wrinkled seraphim is a pair of molted wings.  His feathers have withered away, and instead, he is left with wings of flesh and bone; they resemble chicken wings after they’ve been dressed. I saw it when it came up for auction last year.

Continue reading

Disco Bombs, Suspended Leaps, and Shadowplay Explode At UP Vargas Museum

The UP Vargas Museum seems to have become a pretty exciting space this past year.  While it had always housed an important

By Jose Tence Ruiz

collection of paintings and memorabilia, it has transformed into a significant venue for contemporary art. In the past few months, we have seen a series of  exhibits by artists represented by Manila’s leading commercial art galleries.  Consequently, university students have gained access to works by artists critical to the current art scene.  Credit must go to curator Patrick Flores. And this latest trio of shows that he put together, all three that opened simultaneously this week,  definitely underscores this  development . Continue reading

Profiles of Courage: Juana Change Portraits at the UP Vargas Museum

You gotta hand it to Mae Paner.  First, she creates an alter ego that fearlessly takes on the political issues of the day.  As Juana

mark justiniani parting

Mark Justiniani, "Parting"

Change, the obese and vulgar personality she adopts on You Tube broadcasts, Mae has

winner jumalon supercalifragilistic

Winner Jumalon, "Supercalifragilisticespialidocious"

created  a cult phenomenon.  Now she publicly challenges herself to lose weight, to take on a healthier lifestyle.  But not before allowing 36 artists to document her in all her voluptuous glory.  She lets it all out—stomach folds, cellulite ripples, Rubenesque buttocks and arms—naked, for  all of us to see.  The exhibit notes say that we should expect the artists to mount Part II sometime before the May 2010 elections.  Mae will then reveal her, hopefully, much more svelte self.  In the meantime, let’s enjoy her hefty proportions while we still can!

winner detail

By Winner Jumalon, detail

kawayan de guia

By Kawayan de Guia

Two untitled pastels by Charlie Co

Two untitled pastels by Charlie Co

As with exhibits of this magnitude and variety, I can’t help but choose my favorites.  Kawayan de Guia‘s photograms top my list.  He prints them on glass mirrors, and when viewed from different angles, his images distort like holograms.  He frames his pieces in a sunburst pattern from cut  oil cans (literally Baguio oil!) which seem reinforced with wood underneath.  His frank, grotesque, in-your-face treatment of Juana induce just the right amount of cringe that I look for when deliberating on art.  He piles on the humor too.  In one of his pieces, he juxtaposes a stretched out Juana against a sweatshirt that reads “Physical Education”.  Another shows a pensive Juana perhaps dreaming of  her beauty underneath the blubber.

benjie reyes ng nakalabit

Benjie Reyes, "Ng Nakalabit"

I also loved Mark Justiniani‘s pieces.  No one works with pastel the way he does.  His oil on canvas piece, Parting, is vintage Mark.

The show also aims to raise funds for Mae to continue her You Tube productions. What a great way to do so!

kiri and julie

By Julie Lluch and Kiri Dalena

Pangatawanan Mo Nah! runs from 5 to 15 November 2009 at the UP Vargas Museum, UP Diliman, Quezon City.


entrance instal

At The Entrance


Brenda Fajardo, "Angel's Wings"

Brenda Fajardo, "Angel's Wings"


lee paje ang bote ni mae

Lee Paje, "Ang Bote-buti Ni Mae"