First uploaded December 14, 2018
The 2018 Art Piece/s
People Should Have Been Talking About
a yearend survey by diskurso.com
FOR a diskurso.com 2018 year-ending article, we decided not to come up with another "year's noteworthy art pieces" list like that one that we did in yearend 2015, seeing it as only a kind of navel-gazing practice.
Instead, we thought we'll democratize things a bit and wrote to a few select friends to ask them what to them was the single art piece (or literary book, or film, or music piece, or album recording, or whatever kind of work of art) from 2018 they thought people should have been talking about when it went public within the year period.
We told our friends (and friends of friends) that the piece they shall each be endorsing for this buzz list need not have been produced or first disseminated or exhibited or performed in 2018; that this may only have been republished or re-marketed or re-performed or -exhibited during the year.
So, without further ado, here are those buzz endorsements:
"Photographers should be aware that there are people like me who get rejected by galleries so many times but are still able to produce and show their works, independently."
BRIAN SERGIO endorses the pieces at the PROVOKE & Beyond exhibition inside the Hong Kong International Photography Festival of 2018 (HKIPF 2018) and Nap Jamir's Foto-Me and other pieces from his 2018 retrospective
"Apart from my photo book A Bastard Son, now available on shashasha.co, I would endorse talk about something that is lacking hereabouts, which is the understanding of photo books. That is, of photographers as authors using photography for book-making. A 2018 content of an exhibition outside of the country I can cite as something I wish Philippine art photographers or collectors talked about, as examples of those photo books or photo book content that appeared in a show somewhere, would be those pieces they showed at the PROVOKE & Beyond exhibition within the 2018 Hong Kong International Photography Festival, which ran from October 26 to December 2 this year at Hong Kong's L0 & L1 Galleries in the Kowloon district.
"This show was in conjunction with PROVOKE Magazine's 50th anniversary, and some of the works that had a big influence on my own works came from those photographers featured in that short-lived revolutionary magazine. Those works, many of which were in this exhibition, changed my perspective on photography, having come from an art background with little knowledge of this art medium. I thought that these photographers' works introduced a lot of possibilities for the medium.
"Apart from the pieces themselves, these photographers were unknowns who simply had ideas and just thought of launching an independent magazine that would feature their works. Much like what I did with my zines, with the difference that I had no one who shared my ideas about publishing, so that I had to do it alone, by myself. Photographers should be aware that there are people like me who get rejected by galleries so many times but are still able to produce and show their works, independently.
"As for the essence of the PROVOKE photographers' works themselves, just consider those hard black and white contrasts, called 'are-bure-boke', which produce grainy/rough, blurry, out-of-focus expressions.
"PROVOKE created a movement of experimentation in photography, even though the magazine only had three issues, starting in 1968. The group's impact was phenomenal, influencing a lot of Japanese photographers and even European photographers. It was a radical movement that sought to teach people how to read radical photography.
guests at Nap Jamir's September retrospective show. (Photo grabbed from the Facebook gallery of public photos by poet Marne Kilates; Kilates can be seen here at right)
"Another 2018 thing that people should have talked about and may still want to talk about ought to be those pieces in Nap Jamir's September 2018 retrospective show at Archivo 1984 Gallery at the La Fuerza Compound in Makati.
"I confess I was unable to attend the show, but I know Jamir's works, and it is quite rare to see a retrospective show of photography art here, and, furthermore, only a few wrote about it, or reviewed it, which was funny, and those who did did it mostly through their blogs or as Facebook statuses.
"Now, the Jamir work/s from the past I remember or am most fond of are those from his Photo Me series. The series consists of self-portraits from 1974. Using a mirror, Jamir expanded the possibilities offered by the Photo Me booth, by tricking the machine into photographing itself. I see this Jamir work as a good exercise in conceptual art using photography as a tool. Not that I care about whether people still want to talk about conceptual art or not. Because, for me, just as long as there's enough awareness about what's happening in current times, that's all I care about." - Brian Sergio, artist, photographer
Kamasi Washington and band performs the refrain of "Fists of Fury" at the 2018 Jazz Sous les Pommiers
Kamasi Washington performs 2017's "Truth" at WFUV
PARDO DE LEON endorses two Kamasi Washington performances on YouTube
"Living in Baguio, I could not view most of the art exhibits in Manila this year. In effect I would be doing a disservice if I handpicked one show, let alone one piece, as a visual arts buzz entry, without having seen most.
"Nonetheless, I am submitting a performance, no, two 2018 performances, by Kamasi Washington and his band, which artist and band and their performances I expected to explode on the global music scene since 2016 but somehow escaped much notice even with the critical success of their 2015, 2017 and 2018 albums. No Grammy nominations??
"Why am I endorsing this to the Pinoy art culture? Perhaps because not enough Pinoys are into jazz these days? And Washington can be said to have brought the potential of re-popularizing jazz to the younger generation.
"Thanks so much, diskurso."
And we agree with de Leon, who has allowed us to articulate further the significance of this act. After all, thanks to jazz's newfound fame gained perhaps through its conscription by popular artists such as Kendrick Lamar as well as through a reinvigorated British jazz scene (Washington's current label is British), it's clear that Washington has exploited the opportunity that came his way well by using jazz's potentials as program music to shape new visions, viz., liberating it from its usual associations with the executive class and throwing its context forth to where African jazzmen would usually bring it, to political heights of passion that mimic the jazz spirit of the good ol' days of unabashed fear/prejudice and segregation. Along with Sons of Kemet who are bringing us back to the era of ol' bebop and melding this genre with mention of revolutionary black women in their new album Your Queen Is a Reptile, and then such British acts as GoGo Penguin and Kamaal Williams who are also re-drawing the possibilities of fusion, Washington and his band go through the same historicism with their own set of throwbacks and reconfigurations.
Undoubtedly, the refrain lyrics in such a song as "Fists of Fury" that go, "Our time as victims is over. / We will no longer ask for justice. / Instead we will take our retribution," is timely while reminiscent, allowing jazz's tag as the thinking man's music to go a little bit more to the left of social liberal openness, thus finding Washington's alternative soundtrack to our times a lot of common ground with the rest of today's black race's more popular music genres. - Pardo de Leon, artist, music fan, and diskurso.com
detail of Alwin Reamillo's Marcelo H. del Duchampilar’s AleGloria, or The Pride Stripped Bare by Herr Batchelors, Même, at the Allegoria show, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, March-April 2018 (photo grabbed from the Facebook gallery of Michael Angelo Dagñalan)
JOJO SORIA DE VEYRA endorses deeper talk on an installation piece by Alwin Reamillo, as well as talk around two paintings by Jon Red, two large paintings by Ian Victoriano, and a painting by Jason Moss, all of which last five pieces de Veyra thinks deserved more notice than they got at the show where all of them appeared, namely the Allegoria exhibition at Altro Mondo last March
"Even before it was opened for viewing at the Allegoria show at Altro Mondo last March to April, I was glad Alwin Reamillo's installation piece on mass ignorance and its manufacture—baroquely titled Marcelo H. del Duchampilar’s AleGloria, or The Pride Stripped Bare by Herr Batchelors, Même—already gathered much talk among art goings-on watchers, which probably acted as one of the main prompters to making the show's launch one of the most-attended openings at Altro Mondo. Further talk about the piece, apart from those about the whole show and other particular pieces in it, lured art aficionados to visit the gallery in the launch's aftermath. It remains to be seen, however, if the buzz that happened around Reamillo's piece got the piece's intentions largely correctly.
"Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s purported allegory titled The Large Glass, Reamillo transferred one of the interpretations on the neo-dada piece to his own piece in order to reference a current Philippine mental problematic. We're talking about a reading on Duchamp's piece that says it was largely a mockery of the intellectual interpreters of the bourgeoisie during the time of dada art's or anti-art's revolt against the intelligentsia that created the horrors of World War I. Taking off from that take on Duchamp's piece, in his own work Reamillo parodied the recurrent anything-goes mouthing of the anti-intellectual Duterteist and Marcosist mythmakers of our present time to mirror the Duterte government’s Marcosian manipulations of the truth and then the masses' gullibility towards these. Because there's no way of knowing as yet whether the critical talk on Reamillo's installation deeply dived into Duchamp's alluded piece and allegorization and then into Reamillo's own allegorization of fake truth-making and fake truth beliefs, I am endorsing further talk on it especially by art historians trying to record current art history as it passes.
Jon Red's Business with Pleasure
"Of course I could immodestly say that all of the pieces in that show (curated by diskurso.com) were all worthy of talk, but I think worthy discussions could have been culled, too, from, say, Jon Red's Business with Pleasure, that it didn't seem to get from attendees. It was a work, after all, that challenged us to consider the duality of seriousness or serious attitudes and pleasure/fun attitudes in/towards drawing and painting, or specific stereotypes of abstract and certain pop imagery. Admittedly, the piece's seeming thesis could have been strengthened by the presence of more figures, a larger abstract space, or by a similarly-directed series of works.
Jon Red's Alakoholic
"Or from Red's other work, Alakoholic, about which diskurso wrote that 'the painting seems to have unwittingly associated alcoholic drunkenness with abstract painting ... It is here that the painting adds a dimension to the abstract genre, a dimension removed from the spiritual common among abstractions! Well, unless we are to say drunkenness and spirituality are really one.' Diskurso further noted that 'Alakoholic is not a mere depiction of drunken visuals, nor a mere elegy on aloneness and separation (carried by its conceptual concrete poetry). It becomes, likewise, an allegory of the triangle that exists between forgetting, remembering, and the alcoholic substances that ostensibly make one forget as well as remember.' Diskurso asked: 'And doesn’t that make an alcoholic substance (or cannabis-like drug), too, out of abstract images (abstraction as an alcoholic bottle of paint one mentally drinks alone)? And if abstract imagery is there to make us forget the "real world" for a better world, doesn’t it stand to frustrate itself with the emergent fact that abstract forms also make us remember?'
Ian Victoriano's Blind Man's Mirror
"Or from Ian Victoriano's Blind Man's Mirror, from which vantage point diskurso wondered 'if abstract art, or realism for that matter, isn’t an allegory in itself, since it (as well as realism) can actually already be an allegory of man’s vision (physical and consequent mental/psychological vision), further mental vision (conjectures, suspicions, investigations, analyses), and ability to "understand" reality (and the many versions of reality).' Diskurso, in trying to propose that abstraction need not always be about the artist but more about the viewer, added: 'What Victoriano intends to dramatize here is the fact that the viewer of this abstract work, or of another abstract work, or a non-abstract work for that matter, would always virtually approach the work of art blind. The reality that the art-piece viewer would intend to grasp according to his physical vision (whether it’s a vision made easy by the mimicry of verisimilitude or made hard by the abstraction of a mimicked haziness, darkness, or vagueness) is always going to be his mirror: how he sees things is how, and ultimately what, he is going to be.'
Ian Victoriano's AM/PM
"Or from Victoriano's AM/PM, about which diskurso asked the following complex question: '(Here,) Victoriano is allegorizing illusion, framed this time within the ideas of earlier and later, of morning and evening, of being within the light and being within the dark. And, given that he dramatizes all this vertically, is he also allegorizing the myth of hierarchies of reality, given that those who claim to be awake within the light and empirically humble within the dark may in fact be no more than victims of the same illusions of existence that everyone experiences like a jetlag in whatever moment in time, including the illusion of a humble empiricism?'
"Being a piece for a show on allegorical art, diskurso wrote further that the allegory itself 'is quite like that: like Victoriano’s piece, it tries to present a material object that allegorizes, but never independent of what it allegorizes. And this is so because the allegorical art piece is humble enough to note that it is but a conversation piece for a bigger subject, an instigator of sorts, a witness to an event, beyond which there must be a furtherance of investigations by the conversationalists, even if it (the art piece) includes itself among those up for investigation, and albeit the reality of what was referenced by the allegorizing object may in fact end up as itself replete with illusions. / After all, an allegory is a bunch of ideas upon (an) idea/s. Unlike art focusing on materiality, or verisimilitude, insisting on their solidity or veracity, the allegory remains afloat, with mere observations delivered to instigate questions and solutions, in the end to encourage democracy and Karl Popperian openness as a product of its closed texts’ healthy aggressions.'
Jason Moss' Kahon ng Maynika
"There were at least some audience reactions to these last four abovementioned pieces, and better responses to the other works in the show, especially in light of what the online catalog discussed about them, . . . but I was most surprised about the seeming no-buzz, at least as far as I know, that happened over Jason Moss' piece about an LGBT reality. Titled Kahon ng Maynika (Doll Box), this joins my list of endorsed items for further talk not because of its subject or theme. I'm not trying to be either accommodating or trendy in this year of LGBT triumphs in Western contemporary popular arts (in cinema, with The Favourite; Bohemian Rhapsody; Love, Simon; Boy Erased; Colette; McQueen; The Happy Prince; Vita and Virginia; and The Miseducation of Cameron Post; or in pop music, with albums like Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe, Chris by Christine and the Queens, Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides by Sophie, Lush by Snail Mail, Historian by Lucy Dacus, soil by serpentwithfeet, the boygenius EP by boygenius, Transangelic Exodus by Ezra Furman, Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) by Car Seat Headrest, and Love is Magic by John Grant). No, I am endorsing talk about Moss' piece because . . . in the words of the Allegoria catalog, 'as a disclaimer to the mirror’s bright hopes of liberation or accomplishment, Moss also dramatizes through the aesthetic of the painting’s coloration and treatment the issue of ugliness, ... citing the grottoesque, to raise the question concerning the ugly as a reflection of reality. This approach pits him against what could be shallow perceptions of the fine arts (or gay men’s art, for that matter) as a production mill for creations of beauty. Therefore, in this act, Moss allegorizes his own type of gay realist poetics, set in opposition to other gay personas’ aesthetics of glossy magazine idealizations (the contemporary version of classicism, here represented by the quasi-presences of a gay utopia [on the right side of the picture]).'
"To read more about the pieces in the Allegoria show, please click here to see the show's online catalog, in case you haven't been there yet." - Jojo Soria de Veyra, diskurso.com editor, painter
a part of the room in Lesley-Anne Cao's project titled The Hand, The Secretary, A Landscape at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last May. (Photo by Miguel Lorenzo Uy grabbed from here)
LENA COBANGBANG endorses Lesley-Anne Cao's project shown last May at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
"Viewing art / going to exhibitions has been quite exhausting lately. Too many of the same thing fatigues and disenchants, disinterest sets in. Good thing there's Instagram or FB, I can just scroll through the slew of photos an avid documentarian posts. However, Lesley-Anne Cao’s exhibit The Hand, The Secretary, A Landscape last May at the CCP defies digital spectatorship. It compels one’s own presence to be physically there, to engage you with the very activity of viewing―viewing because seeing is being is believing in sympathetic magic.
"I made some notes while there instead of taking photos. I wanted to see how I would remember without being too dependent on the camera.
"Do doubles or duplicates disappoint, ruined by the anticlimax of anticipation?
video projection in the middle part of the room. (Photo by Miguel Lorenzo Uy)
"The room is blue, the kind of blue you associate with file folders and sign pens and blueprints, the blue of a cyanotype, the blue of indelible inks.
"The room is divided into three. In the middle is a video projection of the potted plants placed by the roofless foyer. These plants are lined up, attempting to be a landscape of sorts. The video projection is reflected on the glass door (another double). The video is blurred or pixelated, it is disappointingly lo-res. On the left partition is a color photo of an ear adorned with tiny jagged rocks. Beside it is a framed silicone reproduction of the ear and the rocks.
"On the right partition is a box placed at the end of the wall. Nothing else is in this corner but this box made of rough plywood bearing still the pencil marks of its quartered measurements. A single spotlight beams upon its sole content―a gold-mesh burlap or what appears to be such. I have to tiptoe to look but there is a crushing realization of being dumbfounded when I look up to see a mirror placed directly above it. It is probably a means to see inside the tall box without having to strain down. But why do I still prefer to look inside the box to glimpsing its reflected view? Do I not trust the mirror? Because mirror creates distance and I’m looking at it with handicapped vision―through contact lenses that are a degree lower than my prescription glasses. With my contact lenses I have to read things at arms length, but the text sway in white gravy.
"In the roofless foyer where the potted plants are juts out a tall leafless branch with a hive of golden tiny bells which sways with the wind and glints with the droplets of rain. The gray mood blankets everything with forlornness and impossibility.
"I went to this show still hung over from marathon viewings of Westworld, so this quote from the TV series comes to mind : 'The real is the one which is irreplaceable.'
"And then some more:
"What we see are not what they seem. Vision is comprehension, perception is projection, . . . what more dreams.
"That branch with the hive of golden bells may as well be the golden apples of Hesperides in Cao’s mise-en-scene of the myth of viewing." - Lena Cobangbang, curator, critic
Photo grabbed from UGATLahi's Facebook photo gallery. To watch the video release on Wall of Damnation, click here.
LAYA BOQUIREN endorses two artivist works from the UGATLahi Artist Collective
"For this diskurso 'The 2018 Art Piece/s People Should Have Been Talking About' list as we near the conclusion of the year, I wanted to choose works exhibited in neither a museum nor a commercial art gallery.
"The University of the Philippines-based artist organization founded in 1992 called Ugnayan at Galian ng mga Tanod ng Lahi, otherwise tagged as UGATLahi Artist Collective, is known for making effigies that embody complex issues into potent signifiers that singe apathy.
"To review―an effigy is a papier-mâché sculpture paraded and burned in public demonstrations. Consumed by flames, they set our anger ablaze, hopefully not only for a moment. Though ephemeral, an effigy oftentimes becomes the visual centerpiece in a public demonstration. The issues amplified in that extreme moment, however, leaves a bitter aftertaste. Once photographed and shared in social media platforms and remediated in online news outlets, effigies acquire an afterlife.
"Across 2018, the collective has been painting on large-scale panels that can be disassembled/reassembled like the familiar puzzles for child's play. Two works come to mind: Wall of Damnation and Portraits of Tyranny.
"Wall of Damnation
"During the annual lantern parade of the University of the Philippines, a work titled Wall of Damnation was presented to the public. Recall that the lantern parade has not only been an occasion to display UP's pride of place but, in theory, would also be a moment to renew one's individual commitment to be a sacrificial body for the nation or the UP community's commitment to be a collective sacrifice for the national body politic. As UP students are sustained by the public, they are to serve as voices for the disenfranchised (not as instruments of fascism). UGATLahi sets an example by producing art works embedded in contemporary discourse with the capacity to produce discourse in turn―for context is always produced and not simply found. Instead of a mural meant to be stationary on a wall and admired for pure delight and disinterested pleasure, a wall that portrays damnation was carried to the lantern parade. The work initially showed what seemed to be a large-scale diptych showing the face of Ferdinand Marcos. The pale skin of the late dictator was reminiscent of a rotting corpse: around him and emerging from the orifices of his face were numerous worms that increases the perceived state of decomposition. This abject sight somehow signifies a system in continuous decay (nabubulok na sistema) haunted by the specter of Martial Law. However, the panel moved to reveal split-faces on two opposite panel. On one panel is the face of current Speaker of the House Gloria Macapagal Arroyo juxtaposed with that of Marcos. At an opposite panel is the presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos. At center is the face of Rodrigo Duterte. Somehow the three panels spread out during the lantern parade show personalities associated with state-sponsored violence, plunder, and the lust for power. The ghost of the past is enfleshed in the present, like a resurrected demon that cannot be easily exorcised. The panels make use of surreal elements to remind the public of a lived nightmare. The statement from the social media page of UGATLahi reads:
"Sa taong ito, nasaksihan at naranasan natin ang hayagang tiraniyang paghahari sa ating bayan. Sa maraming mapanlaban at mapanlikhang paraan, sama-sama nating inilantad at nilabanan ang panunumbalik ng sukdulang kasamaan sa mukha at katauhan ng mga tao at pamilyang mula noon at hanggang ngayon ay nagpasasa sa kaban at yaman ng bayan, lulong at nangungunyapit sa kapangyarihan. Ang Wall of Damnation o Pader ng Kapahamakan ng Ugatlahi Artists Collective ay nagpapaalala sa atin na maaaring manumbalik at maghari muli ang lagim ng batas militar sa buong bayan. Nahaharap tayo sa maraming hamon at kapahamakan sa darating na taon sa harap ng chacha, martial law at pambansang budget na pampataba sa mga kongresista. Kaya’t ang bawat pagsunog ng effigy ay sumpa na mag-aalab ang ating paglaban sa mga kapahamakan at panganib sa ating buhay at kalayaan. Labanan ang cha-cha! Labanan ang batas militar! Ipaglaban ang karapatang pantao, hustisya at tunay na demokrasya sa ating bayan! (facebook.com/UGATLAHI, accessed December 23, 2018)
"Wall of Damnation references some of the ways a nation can be led to its doom. With the Charter Change looming ahead that aims to remove the term limits of traditional politicians and the recent questionable budget allocations, it is as if the nation is being led to slaughter.
UGATLahi's Facebook release on Portraits of Tyranny
"Portraits of Tyranny
"The December protest in Mendiola in commemoration of International Human Rights Day also remembered the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the occasion, UGATLahi produced the work titled Portraits of Tyranny. To review, portraits are supposedly commemorative tokens of one's presence, prestige, and place in the world. They are commissioned by a privileged few and housed in museums or private treasure troves. However, here is the next generation of socially-committed young artists continuing the struggle started by their predecessors and producing portraits meant to be burned after their temporary display in a public assembly.
"The work contained 8 panels mounted on a sliding frame. Four of the panels show faces resembling Rodrigo Duterte. As a whole, the work refers to various nuances associated with his public persona as reported in the media, recorded on video, and remediated in several platforms.
"While the four faces may show nuances in Duterte's public personality, the choice of signifiers attack not so much a person but a system perpetrated by tyrannical agents of the state. (It is important to emphasize this for the benefit of some of our art world friends who are die-hard supporters of the current administration and who would insist that it is better to remain silent and support the efforts of their idol.) The image of Duterte is located along a grid of significations. On one panel, we see the face of Duterte in the form of a demon or the ruler of hell himself breathing profane fire. It is perhaps also a reference to his uncouth language? The demon spews hatred and malevolent will. In another, we see the image of Duterte enjoying a marijuana joint. Smoke comes out of his mouth and nostrils to indicate a power-addicted leader making hasty decisions in his wasted drug-induced stupor. Another panel shows the image of Duterte morphed into Hitler as indicated by the familiar mustache. Last but not the least is the image of Duterte with the nose of a dog―as a lapdog (tuta). The panels in Portraits of Tyranny remind us of the evils that plague a nation as written in the book Protest and Revolutionary Art by the late Alice Guillermo: imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.
"Each of the portrait panels is accompanied by panels that show scenes. They engage with a spectrum of tyrannical acts inflicting violations against human, civil, and socio-cultural rights.
"The panel showing the junkie Duterte is accompanied by another panel showing corpses marked by the carton placard with the words 'Pusher Ako' crudely written on it. Among the deceased is a man whose head has been covered. His hands are tied behind his back. Opposite is the familiar Pieta image―only this time, the deceased is soaked in blood and the woman takes him in her arms and weeps. The Hitler panel is adjacent to a scene showing hands behind bars and cuffed behind one's back. The lapdog panel is accompanied by another showing a fire dragon juxtaposed with the words 'build build build' with images that signify a construction boom: a tractor concretes facades and a seemingly endless terrain. At the bottom is an image of a man whose head is wrapped in a tubao. A bird in flight signifies biodiversity and agricultural fields show ancestral lands that sustain ethno-linguistic groups minoritized and disenfranchised by development aggression and a repressive state. The Duterte-as-demon panel is accompanied by the panel showing the landscape of Marawi being razed to the ground. We see the dome of a mosque and the tower of a church facing each other. Behind them are the police and a ground trooper from the army. These panels engage with a complexity of discourses on the war on drugs, extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, perilous anti-poor economic policies, and the continuing land problem. These discourses are aggravated by the state's subservience to imperialist powers (China and the US). Viewed from above, the 8 panels form a swastika that continuously rotates as the crimson flags of dissent are blown by the wind.
"To situate the work in context―the aforementioned rally included human rights groups and a multisectoral public raising their voices to call for accountability and justice for victims of violence. Contrary to right-wing supporters that automatically red-tag any form of protest, anger against the culture of impunity knows no political color and the commemoration of Human Rights Day invites the participation of human beings regardless of political allegiance. During the rally, members of progressive groups condemned the killings of farmers, Lumad elders, and labor leaders, among others. Representatives from the church dissented against EJK. Families of desaparecidos (the disappeared) called for the end of illegal arrests and human rights abuses. Youths held placards against the militarization of ancestral lands and the encroachment of private corporations and imperialist interests. Recall that the Philippines was one of the 48 countries which first signed the declaration in 1948, yet the range of protests and the rage in their voices only prove how far the nation has descended to the depths of living hell.
"To see young people engaged in socially-committed art, as well as being in the middle of the action and actively staging visual iterations of protest and struggle, is quite inspiring. In the midst of what Andrea Fraser calls an 'asset class' where spectacle and celebrity culture are merged, here are young artists producing protest art not to be inscribed in the commodity chain of art in the market but art that intends to fan the flames of discontent. These are not kids desiring to be auction rock stars but artists hopefully committed to serve the nation. Indeed, the kids are alright." - Laya Boquiren, curator
upper part of Roberto Feleo's untitled sculpture at the Ties of History: Art in Southeast Asia show, The Metropolitan Museum, 2018 (photo by Ian Victoriano)
IAN VICTORIANO endorses two sculptures by Roberto Feleo shown at the Ties of History: Art of Southeast Asia show at The Metropolitan Museum
"Ang ninonominate ko bilang artworks na sanaʼy nagkaroon ng mas malakas na buzz noong 2018 ay ang mga iskultura ni Bob Feleo sa group show nitong taon sa The Metropolitan Museum na pinamagatang Ties of History.
two photos showing two angles of Feleo's Magdiwang/Magdalo
"Para sa mga pamilyar na sa mga gawa ni Feleo, ang mga gawang kasama sa eksibit na ito ay katakamtakam sa paningin―gaya ng usual na gawa ni Ser Bob (dahil sa hugis at gamit niyang materyales, at sa kakulitan ng imahinasyon)―at nakakabighani dahil sa pagniniig ng anyo at 'kahulugan' sa mga ito. Nagpapakita na nasa ibang level na si ser.
"Paborito ko ang dalawang lalaking magkatalikod (pinamagatang Magdiwang/Magdalo) at ang walang-pamagat na mamang nag-aapoy (see photo atop this endorsement section). Striking sa unang tingin, pero lalong nagiging striking habang tinitingnan ng matagal. Parang ang bawat detalye ay nangungusap, at ang unang imahen ng artwork ay lalong lumilinaw, tumitindi, yumayabong kaysa naluluma, umiimpis at naglalaho.
"Lalo na kapag pinagnilaynilayan ang koneksiyon sa kasaysayan. Dito magsisimulang humigop (na parang magnet) o magluwal (na parang ina) ng mga ideya hinggil sa ating buhay bilang bansa ang mga gawa. Maraming artwork ang nagtatangkang gumawa nito sa Pilipinas, pero hindi ganito―kung saan ramdam na ang ideya at ang gawa ay tila naging isa, parang di mo alam kung sino ang nagsilang kanino. Sa pagkakataong ito, masasabing ang kasaysayan ay naging tula at nagkatawang-sining, o ang iskultura ay naging tula at naging kasaysayan." - Ian Victoriano, painter, writer
Arahmaiani performing Handle with Care in 1996 at the 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia. (Photo grabbed from here)
DAISUKE TAKEYA endorses the pieces at Arahmaiani's The Past Has Not Passed retrospective show of paintings, installations, and re-enacted performances at Jakarta's Museum MACAN, 17 November 2018 to 10 March 2019
"This retrospective exhibition of Arahmaiani’s journey as a cultural activist is quite relevant under the current political climate. Amazingly, her past works are not dated, not passé, are as timely now as they were then!" - Daisuke Takeya, Japanese-Canadian international painter, multimedia artist, performance artist, curator
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