The Japan Foundation, Philippine Contemporary Art Network, and University of the Philippines Vargas Museum present the culmination of the 2018 Curatorial Development Workshop. Opening on the 7th of December at six o’clock in the evening, exhibitions curated around the central concern of ‘space’ by the five participants Karl Albais, Pristine De Leon, Jay Nathan Jore, Carlos Quijon, Jr., and Christian Tablazon will be on view at the museum’s 1st and 3rd Floor Galleries, and 2nd Floor Video Rooms until 7 March 2020.
Karl Albais’s “Tao at Kalawakan” (Man and Space) aims to initiate a curatorial synthesis that looks at art and science praxes in the Philippines with humanistic eyes. Contextualizing outer space, stars, and celestial bodies as vernacular for dreams and aspirations, and the sky as frame for humanity’s psyche, Karl employs the treatises of anthropology, archaeology, architecture, and photography to gaze upon the Philippine cosmos. The exhibition component of “Tao at Kalawakan” featuring a work on astrophotography by MJ Magallon will be on display at the museum’s 3F Landing. Collateral events “T&K Talks: Contemporary Discourses in Picturing the Cosmos in Philippine Context” and an Urban Astronomy Workshop (in partnership with the Philippine Astronomical Society) will take place in 2020.
Pristine de Leon’s “Built on Sand” presents works by artists Brisa Amir, Czar Kristoff, Nathalie Dagmang, Arvin Dimalanta, Doktor Karayom, and Alvin Zafra that respond to the act of construction and the ways in which public space is occupied, owned, controlled, and transformed. Spanning points of interest from the conceptual, the representational, the material, and the social, these works momentarily share a space to dialogue with one another and to ask, “how can visual art address crisis and conflict that remains ever outside it?” risking the meeting of divergent practices in visual art and social engagement. Built on Sand will be on display at the museum’s 1F West Wing Gallery and Video Room.
Jay Nathan Jore’s “Humble Objects” interrogates the systems of valuation and discourse that form and inform contemporary design practices in Cebu. In its context as a UNESCO Creative City of Design with a celebrated and export-driven furniture design and product manufacturing industry, the project attempts a historical and social re-reading of Bisaya aesthetic practices by looking into improvisations in display stall and furniture constructions by inventive vendors, the design interventions on transport carts by maneuvering stevedores, and the density of quotidian activities and trading practices that give rise to human interactions. The exhibition component of Humble Objects will be on view at the museum’s 2F Landing, with supporting photos, video documentaries, and essays to be published on a website.
Carlos Quijon, Jr.’s “a knowing intimacy or a life” prospects the myriad ways in which artistic forms and practice participate in imaginations of social life, particularly that of intimacy and its interfaces within and without the exhibition. Five artists elaborate on these considerations: Rocky Cajigan looks at intimacies of identity and place as these interplay with the intricacies of the ethno- and geographic; Lesley-Anne Cao gathers objects she produced in the span of a year to question an artistic practice made productively vulnerable in its reliance on the expertise of others; Kat Medina subjects a collection of shells to processes that interweave the exhibitionary with the archaeological, looking at the thing itself as a method of creating, concentrating, and dispersing intimacy; Indy Paredes fabricates elements of the Vargas Museum architecture into awkward and skewed recreations, interrogating imaginations of the built environment; and Lee Paje renders genitalia as unremarkable outdoor furniture, aiming to understand intimacy in relation to form in the context of the exhibitionary. “a knowing intimacy or a life” will be on view at the museum’s 1F Lobby Gallery and Landing.
Christian Tablazon’s “Variations of the Field” seeks to plot a course of Anglo-American colonial institutions and knowledge systems via the networks of circulation of the big leaf mahogany; from its donation from British India to the Makiling Botanic Gardens to the ordination of the Makiling Forest Reserve by American governor generals, development under the Commonwealth and launch as recreation site by Marcosian New Society. All culminate in the exhibition proper at the Vargas Museum, with the bulk of its art collection moored on works produced during US occupation. The artists Allan Balisi, Bea Camacho, W. Don Flores, Aaron Kaiser Garcia with Komunidad X, Gym Lumbera, Shireen Seno, Tekla Tamoria, Sidney Valdez, Gail Vicente, and Tanya Villanueva create works that invite us to consider the intimate affair between natural history and violence, and the entanglement of nature with culture and state histories. Variations of the Field will be on view at the museum’s 3F Galleries and 2F Gallery Video Rooms.
The 2019 Curatorial Development Workshop Exhibitions will run until 7 March 2020. For more information, contact the Vargas Museum at (+632) 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), (+632) 928-1927 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also check our website at http://vargasmuseum.upd.edu.ph, Facebook via https://fb.me/vargasmuseum.upd and Twitter via @UPVargasMuseum for updates.