RAM Lecture: Artists from the Philippines
Jul 28, 2016 Thursday 19:30 - 21:00
Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai 20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District)
The Philippines suffers from over-population and devastating typhoons, but the people are resilient and the landscape beautiful. There is a vibrant art scene with several very strong artists who though attentive to local issues and concerns are fully aware of current shifts in art thinking and practice. Four of those artists, Buen Calubayan, Leslie de Chavez, Geraldine Javier and MM Yu, are currently showing at Arario gallery in an exhibition entitled Between the Street and the Mountain: Four Artists from the Philippines.
As a city Manila is extreme: overcrowded and in constant flux. For artists this can be inspiring or infuriating. All four artists studied there: two of these artists live there; two now outside the city. Manila was where the first “Chinatown” outside China was established: several of the artists are ethnic Chinese or partly so. The Spanish colonisers brought Catholicism. In no other country is it still so powerful. The Americans brought consumerism. These things along with the indigenous culture have shaped the artists. But they are also things they react against: very few artists go to church.
Three of these artist make paintings but also installations. This is unusual but typical of the Philippines. The fourth, MM Yu, having trained as painter mainly works with photographs. Likewise, an unusual number of the leading artists, like Javier and Yu, in the Philippines are female.
Professor Tony Godfrey will introduce the talk by explaining the history of art in the Philippines, what is particular about the Philippines and its art scene. He will also talk about the work of MM Yu and Leslie de Chavez. Buen Calubayan and Geraldine Javier will talk about their own work
TONY GODFREY, b. 1951 writes, curates and teaches. His books include Conceptual Art (1998 and soon to be translated into Chinese) and Painting Today (2009). He teaches at Ateneo University, Manila and the University of Plymouth where he is a professor. For many years he led the MA in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute. He moved from Britain to Asia in 2009 and has worked with artists from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and The Philippines. Future projects include an exhibition of fifteen Filipino artists in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, books on artists in Indonesia, on the English artist Nigel Cooke and a global history of Contemporary Art. He currently lives in the Philippines.
GERALDINE JAVIER, b. 1970, worked as a nurse before becoming an artist. Since winning the Ateneo Art award in 2004 she has been recognized as one of the leading painters and artists of South-East Asia. She had her first one person show in 1996 and since then she has also had one person shows in Germany, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. Her work often deals with issues of death, loss and mourning, but can also be witty or humorous. Increasingly her work is to do with making a closer relationship to nature. Her paintings and installations, which are frequently combined, often use fabrics, insects and other natural materials.
BUEN CALUBAYAN, b. 1980. Won the Ateneo Art award in 2013 and is acknowledged as one of most interesting younger artists in the Philippines. He combines a conceptual approach to art making with gestural painting. His complex ongoing project bio work seeks to understand how he as an individual and an artist relates to the religious, cultural and art history of the Philippines. His paintings are presented paradoxically both as good, vigorous paintings and as examples of ways of working. At the same time as he researches his surroundings he is researching himself.
Free admission, reservation is required.