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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Opening reception of Visualizing Sound at the 3F Galleries - 9 February, 6pm Exhibition runs until 16 March 2019. Visualizing Sound is an exhibition that presents the collaboration between artist Gerardo Tan, musicologist Felicidad A. Prudente, and master weaver Sammy Buhle. The exhibition reflects on the translation of forms through the work "Rendering", a video and audio documentation notated in modern sound symbols, which are then translated into visual images, and in turn interpreted in textile by the ikat method. Complementing this is another work by Tan titled Speaking in Tongue (inspired by an indigenous chant from Kalinga called sogna) that tries to articulate the production of vocal sounds resonating from a singer’s mouth. Thus, the exhibition Visualizing Sound becomes an intersection of modes rooted in tradition and enriched in multidisciplinary contexts. The Vargas Museum Education Guide for the show can be downloaded via link over at our Facebook page.
Vargas Museum Education Guides for our February 2019 exhibitions are now available online. The study guides are designed for discussions and activities for classes in Humanities, Art Studies, Anthropology, Fine Arts, Cultural Studies, History, Political and other Social Sciences. It is encouraged that course tutors/teachers have a pre-visit to the exhibition before the class’s actual visit. The education guides may be reproduced. For pre-visits and tours, please inquire via Go to our Facebook profile page for the links!
Now at the 3F Galleries: Opening reception of Visualizing Sound by Gerardo Tan, Dr. Fe Prudente, and Sammy Buhle. Open to the public!
"Letter from a Mermaid to His Father" by Russ Ligtas is currently installed at the 3F Landing for "Transpersonal, instructions" exhibition which is on extended view until 9 March 2019. Russ Ligtas studied Painting at the University of the Philippines Cebu. Currently based in Manila, his performed personalities "operate via autobiographical intermedia forms combining action, artifact, and chance" as presented in the following sites and engagements: Visayas Biennale, Fringe MNL Festival, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Bangkok Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Spielart Festival in Munich, and more. He was a mentor at ARTery Artist Mentorship Program in 2015 and was also a fellow at the Iligan National Writers Workshop and the Cornelio Faigao Memorial Writers Workshop. He played the lead role in the film "Miss Bulalacao" in 2015. In 2016, he received the Alvin Erasga Tolentino Choreography Award and the CCP’s Koryolab grant. He spent a few months in New York in 2018 as an Asian Cultural Council Fellow.
Visualizing Sound by Gerardo Tan, Dr. Fe Prudente, & Sammy Buhle opens tonight at 6pm! Everyone is invited. #textile #fabric #music #translation #indigenous #contemporary
Visualizing Sound by Gerardo Tan, Dr. Fe Prudente, and Sammy Buhle opens TOMORROW, 9 February, Saturday at 6pm. Everyone is invited to the reception. For more information, please contact 928-1927 during office hours.

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