“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
Come to Drawing at the Vargas Museum for the sheer pleasure of reveling in Jose Legaspi’s incredible skill. Continue reading
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.
The UP Vargas Museum seems to have become a pretty exciting space this past year. While it had always housed an important
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
When Apolinario Mabini drafted the Malolos Constitution, he included a treatise outlining ten points which he felt incumbent upon every freedom-loving Filipino to hold dear. With The True Decalogue, Mabini called upon his countrymen to love and honor God and country above themselves, to continually strive for the nation’s independence, to treat each other as brothers, to make sure that they only allow leaders who have been duly-elected to rule over them. Continue reading
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
Change, the obese and vulgar personality she adopts on You Tube broadcasts, Mae has
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!
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.
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!
Pangatawanan Mo Nah! runs from 5 to 15 November 2009 at the UP Vargas Museum, UP Diliman, Quezon City.