Art, Exhibit, North Wing Gallery (Landing), South Wing Gallery

Enjoy Division

13 October – 03 November 2011
3F North and South Wing Galleries

The Kitchen Sink

This exhibition was initially hosted late last August by Light & Space Contemporary, an artist-run space. Two days after the exhibition opening, the gallery, in an exercise of managerial fiat, banned the show’s curatorial essay and took it down without prior consultation or discussion. This lack of consultation prompted the publication of the essay online accompanied by a call for dialogue.  When asked for an explanation by the exhibiting group, the gallery responded to the group in private and cited its right to remove any material that they deemed harmful (nakakasira) to the gallery and persons associated with it. The question of why and how the said essay warranted such a response was never sufficiently answered.  Upon being told that the essay was integral to framing the exhibition’s critical stance, the management responded only by saying that if that was the case, the show itself was “lame.”  With this, the artists collectively decided to pull the exhibition out of the gallery.

Apparently unsettled by the position they found themselves in, and facing inquiry from the artistic community, the management failed to produce any coherent defense of their actions. What ensued instead was a confused mix of profanity, attempts to defame (calling us anarchists, thieves, vandals) and discredit (accusing us of groupthink), red baiting (calling us communists), and threats of violence, all while invoking the gentrified auspice of “maximum respect.” It was also suggested that we find another gallery to ‘play with.’  We did.

The Book

The exhibit was initially conceived as an opposition to the self-serving distortions foisted upon the Philippine art scene by persons such as Malaysian curator Adeline Ooi whose statements in a local daily sought to promote a particular group of artists by smugly denigrating another.  As such, the exhibit sought to present the possibility of critical exchanges between different approaches and modalities of practice while espousing a broader examination of the interpenetrating influences that inform Philippine contemporary art.

Since then, the actions of the gallery management have exposed their cooland pluralist pose of tolerance as part of that old courtly sham that allows artists and audiences to elide debate and criticism in their exchanges.  Pending a concrete basis for rejecting the exhibition’s critical stance, we cannot but surmise that by their actions they sought to protect their interests as a commercial space at the cost of fostering criticality.  While this may be expected of highly commercial galleries and showrooms, this puts paid to any pretense of Light & Space Contemporary being an ‘alternative’ space.  Such a mix of censorship and thuggery, masked by an appeal to “maximum respect,” contributes to an anti-intellectual climate that stifles discourse and critical exchange.  This cannot be abided. Criticism, as an intervention in the ways with which we see, think, and act upon the world, as the evaluative mirror and discursive hammer that shapes thought and guides action, is indispensible to social practices such as art production.Put simply, those who suppress criticism and discourse outright have no business running a gallery, and cannot but renounce any claim to art.

In remounting this exhibit, we do not merely wish to recoup lost exhibition time.  We wish to stress the importance of a vigilant engagement with art practices, be it in terms of producing objects, performances, or texts, or in the varied relationships and interactions that constitute the field of art.  It is with this vigilance as well as the possibility of discourse and criticism upon which it is founded that we are able to render the field of art legible and cogent, give it conceptual shape and gravity, and make matter out of so much light and space.

-Antares Gomez Bartolome


About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

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.


One thought on “Enjoy Division

  1. “Intuitive space” is merely the illusion space created by using artistic methods to trick the viewer into seeing depth, volume and mass on a two dimensional surface. Intuitive space is sensed or ”felt” on a two dimensional plane. Intuitive methods of space control include overlapping, transparency, and other applications of spatial proportion. In a “Theory of Light and Shade” I will show how to create intuitive space by using “Light Logic”.

    Posted by las artes | November 12, 2011, 6:10 am

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Green Go Home featured artist: MIKE ADRAO

Initiated by Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija, the project collaborates with seven contemporary Filipino artists. Mike Adrao creates an image based on a photograph from of the People Surge rally in Tacloban in 2014.

Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) landed in the Philippine eastern coasts of Leyte and nearby provinces in November 2013. A year after the calamity that killed more than 6,000 people, simultaneous rallies happened in Eastern Visayas, Bohol, Zamboanga, and Metro Manila to denounce the government’s ineptitude in giving services and aid. People Surge is an alliance established in Tacloban City on 25 January 2014 by the survivors of the typhoon and it has organized mud walks to commemorate the Yolanda event. Green Go Home by Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija is at the 1F Galleries of the Vargas until 18 November 2017. Through collaborations with seven contemporary Filipino artists, images of recent protest actions in the Philippines are drawn on the walls of the Vargas as the exhibition progresses. 
According to Vu and Tiravanija, “the provocation inherent in Green Go Home is positioned against the subtle underlying subtext of U.S. interventions, and colonialist attitudes, towards its neighbors in Latin American from Mexico southwards: an antagonism that has cost many lives and much strife. In the imagery itself, the presence of each character-from films to music to personalities of resistance-reveals itself to the viewer as addressing the condition of the graffiti text. The grid holds up the statement and reinforces the layers of interpretation, readings, and misunderstandings. Green Go Home is meant to be a wall of resisters, and of resistance.” On Saturday, 19 October 2017, the museum will be open as usual with viewing hours from 9am to 5pm. However, please be advised of heavy traffic inside the university campus due to the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test). Here are some photos from last Saturday's opening reception of Green Go Home at the 1F Galleries. More photos can be viewed at our Facebook page. #TomasVu #RirkritTiravanija #BuenAbrigo #MikeAdrao #RenzLee #GabbyNazareno #ArchieOclos #IggyRodriguez #JoTanierla #drawing #mural #protestArt #resistance #socialsculpture Here is "Membranes" created by artist-educator Yan Abeledo
for the exhibit ">upgrade | homo sapiens sapiens" currently on view at the 3F Galleries. Thanks to @eyascapes for the photograph. Described as “social sculpture”, Green Go Home dwells on, magnifies, and renders the gesture of protest looming, urgent, and lively in current time and present political life. Conceived by collaborators Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija, it has been organised in Colombia, the United States and Spain. This year, Green Go Home goes to UP Vargas Museum. Through collaborations with contemporary Filipino artists, images of recent protest actions in the Philippines will be drawn on the walls of the Vargas as the exhibition progresses. The exhibit seeks to review our notions of history by contributing a specific history of protest through interactions with the audience. The Vargas develops a timeline of protests to be accompanied by discussions as an integral part of the exhibition.” Mike Adrao’s artwork is based on a photograph of People Surge Tacloban published in, 11 November 2014

Green Go Home runs until 18 November at the 3F Galleries. Thanks to @tinawartgallery for the Instagram photograph. Third week of viewing: >upgrade | Homo sapiens sapiens | Yan Abeledo runs until 27 October 2017. The image is an installation shot at the 3F Galleries of two sculptural works titled Adam™ and Eve™ with corresponding printed texts and graphics on sintra boards also created by the artist. The exhibit raises questions on the human body and the ethical interventions on it. The allure of the commercial aspect of this venture may attract visions of the future, yet with it comes uncertainty.

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