Art, Exhibit, Main Gallery (Kawilihan), Museum

Track Changes | The Native Strain: Guillermo Tolentino and Aurelio Alvero


The Native Strain: Guillermo Tolentino and Aurelio Alvero
2F Main Gallery

This curatorial experiment tries to explore the process of making exhibitions within the permanent collection of the Vargas Museum. It seeks to initiate conversation between the collection and the other objects outside it. This is imagined to deepen the discourse of the collection as it interacts with a wider constellation of things in the art world and the larger social context. Needless to say, it activates the space of the permanent collection, rendering it more unstable, and therefore, open to critique and reconstruction by the copious and cherished belongings of the institution, from coins and stamps to documents, from memorabilia to photographs and rariora.

The initial exhibition focuses on an unexplored theme in Philippine art history. It refers to the nativist disposition of the sculptor Tolentino and the curator-poet Alvero, who went by the nom de plume Magtanggul Asa.  This is exemplified in the research on Philippine culture, the penchant for the occult, the invocation of dead heroes of the national pantheon, the allusion to an ancient Philippine lifeworld, and the attempt to summon a classical and civilizational discourse of the past. In many ways, the collection of art becomes an index of self-consciousness, a modernist gesture for “nation” and thus turns into a “living tradition.”

Alvero helped the collector Jorge Vargas conceive the framework of the Vargas Collection as revealed by founding papers in the museum’s archives. Their careers flourished during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines from 1941 to 1945, a season of orientalism and at the same time of an intense struggle for liberation. Both Vargas and Alvero were accused of collaborating with the imperial government; both performed key roles in defining the “Filipino” through the modernity of art and the ethic of collecting its representations.

Relating Tolentino and Alvero to Vargas is particularly intriguing as it gives us a glimpse into the aesthetic and political implications of making art, making nationalisms, and making museums in a time of war and rising from its ruin.

 

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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.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Track Changes | The Native Strain: Guillermo Tolentino and Aurelio Alvero

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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 vargasmuseum@gmail.com. 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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