UP Vargas Museum, in cooperation with Art Informal and Box Plot, presents Terraforming. It opens on March 20, Friday, 4pm at the 1F Galleries and runs through April 30.
An exhibit of Mark Valenzuela’s and Pablo Capati III’s contemporary ceramics, Terraforming goes beyond its literal definition of earth-shaping to present the importance of the process of making ceramics and the way the artists use these works in order to re-create and re-examine the world around them. Since terraforming is the process by which the earth is re-created (to the point of being habitable for humans) in order to transform a planet or a moon, the exhibition is a reflection of the artists’ physical and conceptual practice of re-forming the earth and re-creating their own worlds – beautiful, yes, but also full of conflict, confusion, and (in)humanity.
The exhibition invites its viewers to look at ceramics not as a beautiful object that has been shaped by ceramic traditions and age-old techniques, but as a platform by which the artists reveal something of themselves and the spaces they inhabit. For instance, Valenzuela explores cultural hegemony and the relationship between the individual and the collective by focusing on how the outsider “terraforms” his/her new environment. This includes colonization as a form of “terraforming” and the process of mediating and preserving in transforming one’s environment. Capati, on the other hand, reiterates a deep connection with the earth and the elements. His biomorphic forms, which are unadorned and complex, infuses a sexual quality into his sculptural ceramics.
Linking their projects is a collaborative work in which the egg becomes the basis of symbols from fertility to sensuality, from birth to death.
Mark Valenzuela (b. 1980) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work combines ceramic installations and paintings through which he considers recurrent themes of conflict, displacement and confinement. He has been shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards and was one of the 21 Southeast Asian ceramic artists chosen to develop the permanent collection for the FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums (FLICAM) in Fuping, China in 2012. He participated in Artstage Singapore 2013 and Art Fair Philippines with Art Informal (2013).
Pablo Capati III (b. 1975) took pottery classes in Kobe, Japan and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He became a full-time potter by 2003, and established the pottery studio at Art Informal in 2004. He is also on the board of directors of PUTIK Association of Philippine Potters. Element, Capati’s first major solo exhibition in 2010, shows his mastery as a potter: his works either acquired a barnacle-clad texture or retained their smoothness, both being a “planned accident” of sorts. Pablo Capati combines the art form of pottery and the elements of earth, water, wind and fire.
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