Art, Exhibit, West Wing Gallery (Edge)

The President’s Office

THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE
08 January – 09 February 2013
G/F West Wing Gallery

Opening cocktails
08 January 2013, Tuesday, 4PM

Malacanang Palace, as the site of the Office of the President is recognized as a space related to authority, power, and a democratic tradition, among other things. However, while officially a space that is open to all, the exigencies of practical operation and security effectively bar the majority from entering the space. Hence, the seat of power is obscured from scrutiny save for a few glimpses as can be gained from occasional public broadcasts or inferred from documents such as those that roughly describe it in terms of architecture. Moreover, what we learn of what goes on in Malacañang is understandably mediated by discourses of confidentiality and national security and as such is almost always in shades of carefully controlled publicity. In addition to this heavy mediation, the permanent barricade preventing access to Malacañang from Mendiola cannot but add a sense of exclusion that compounds our perceived distance from the seat of power.

Buen Calubayan, Landscape Eternal 1, Oil on canvas, 24 x 72 in

Buen Calubayan, Landscape Eternal 1, Oil on canvas, 24 x 72 in

Not unlike Bluebeard’s forbidden room, such spaces induce an explorative curiosity in those barred from entry. More importantly, this exclusion renders Malcañang as an effective blind spot in the imagination, as a space upon which we can but project images based on related histories, hearsay, or suppositions.

It is with consideration for this character of Malacañang as an imaginative blind spot that the participating artists took on the task of representing the Presidential Office. Their construction of the interior features and contents of the Presidential Office are informed by their perceptions of its functions, significations, and history. In turn, as representations that serve as reflections of their own imaginations, the works also function as indices of the expectations, fantasies, and perceived relationships that overlay our collective imaging of the seat of power.

The exhibition is part of a working series entitled ‘Blind Spots,’ which explores restricted spaces as sites of imaginative construction.

The President’s Office runs until 09 February 2013. For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at +632 928-1927 (direct line), +63 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), +63 928-1925 (fax) or send an e-mail to vargasmuseum@gmail.com. You may also check our website at http://vargasmuseum.upd.edu.ph or like us at www.facebook.com/vargasmuseum.upd for more information.

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About Jorge Vargas

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.

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