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International Exhibition: ALMOST THERE

Almost There horizontal banner

Almost There
2 March – 6 May 2017
Opening reception: 2 March 2017, Thursday, 6:00pm
Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

The Japan Foundation Asia Center and the Vargas Museum are pleased to announce Almost There, an exhibition at the University of the Philippines’ Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, co-curated by Patrick D. Flores (Vargas Museum) and Kyongfa Che (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo). This group exhibition is presented as part of the Japan Foundation Asia Center’s Condition Report, a collaborative art project with emerging young curators from Japan and Southeast Asia.

Almost There began with a proposition, a fairly open one, but sufficiently pointed so that it could facet an angle from which to consider certain urgent concerns that the current world is facing as well as the complex history that had shaped it. The other impulse was to create opportunities for curatorial knowledge to be marked and conveyed across the generations. This aspect was sensitive to the process by which curation was demonstrated as a practice and in which emerging curators in the Philippines and Southeast Asia participated in carrying out the curatorial task along with peers who have had more exposure and experience in the field.

The exhibition attempts to create resonance among a wide range of research, as well as of expressions of contemporary art from diverse parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America, areas with which the Philippine public has very scant acquaintance. In doing so, it attempts to open up a new scope of imagination and reflection to animate existing modes of knowledge, histories and subjectivities. That is, to find the potentiality of the political in this ever-shifting ambiguity.

Almost There responds to and tries to explore a phrase from a particular study of spiritual life and spectacle in a Philippine province. Fenella Cannell proposes the notion of “intimacy and power” to define the process of shaping affinity and sympathy with others. Such a process always involves the effort to imitate but not to repeat, to belong but not to assimilate, and to share the experience with mutual investments. At the same time, it is driven by interest, by the desire to be recognized, the aspiration to be visible. The exhibition explores this tension between distance and kinship. Thus, the title speaks of a gap, an “intense proximity” that does not quite touch the address, the place to be, or the destination as yet.

Included in the exhibition are works/projects by selected artists in various media including painting, sculpture, film/video, installation and performance, as well as small-scale curatorial projects by three Southeast Asian curators (Ayos Purwoaji Surip Mawardi, Lisa Ito-Tapang, and Lyno Vuth) that respond to a specific work by a participating artist or to a context drawn from the concept of the exhibition. Several works/projects include the element of direct, in-depth interaction with the public that spills out of the gallery space; a number of activities will be held in the form of walks, performances, lectures, and discussions throughout the exhibition period, many of which will take place at the architectural platform built by Nousaku Fuminori with Rosario Encarnacion-Tan at the Vargas Lawn.

Almost There is supported by the University of the Philippines Office of the Chancellor and Department of Art Studies. Vargas Museum is located at the UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City. The museum is open for viewing from Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. For latest updates about the exhibition, visit the Vargas Museum Facebook event page, call us at (+632) 928-1927 or send a message to vargasmuseum@gmail.com.

The exhibition will have collateral activities and performances until April 2017. Please check our Facebook page for more details and updates.

The exhibition will have collateral activities and performances until April 2017. Please check our Facebook page for more details and updates.

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The exhibition is composed of curators, artists and organizations from the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Japan and beyond. Exhibition is co-presented by The Japan Foundation Asia Center and supported by the University of the Philippines Office of the Chancellor and  Department of Art Studies. Scroll down for profiles of artists.

Artists Profile

Ivy Universe Baldoza (Philippines) is a filmmaker and video artist. She studied film at the Mowelfund Film Institute. She was a participant in the 2008 Berlinale Talent Campus, Germany and was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus’s Script Station and the 2008 Produire Au Sud Bangkok. In 2011, she was one of the filmmakers commissioned to create new work for the courtyard space of the Sharjah Biennale in 2011. Aside from Marciano, her other films include Shadows of Noon (2011) and Audio Perpetua (2014).

The works of Carolina Caycedo (USA/Colombia/United Kingdom) reach beyond the walls of the studio and institutions, initiating collaborations and developing public-engaged projects that explore “systems of movement and exchange, as well as processes of assimilation and resistance.” Through research and community work, Caycedo probes on policies, issues, and movements surrounding social and natural territories in the Americas. She received her BFA from Los Andes University in Bogota, and her MFA from the Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California. Her recent solo exhibitions include Carolina Caycedo at the Instituto de Visión, Bogota (2016); One Body of Water at the Bowtie Project, Clockshop, LA (2015); and Geochoreographies at rural public spaces in Hulia, Colombia (2014). She was recipient of several grants and awards, most recently including the Creative Capital Visual Arts Award and the Harpo Foundation Visual Artist Grant in 2015.

Cian Dayrit (Philippines) is an intermedia artist working with painting, sculpture, and installation. Straddling between fact and fiction, Dayrit’s works explore origins and histories, and their re-presentations in visual apparatuses, from the map, curiosity cabinet, and on to the museum. He received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from UP Diliman in 2011, where his final project titled Artefact X was awarded Most Outstanding Thesis. His recent solo exhibitions include Spectacles of the Third World at Tin-Aw Gallery (2015); Polycephalous at Art Informal (2014); and The Bla-Bla Archeological Complex at the UP Vargas Museum (2013). He participated in the group exhibition titled Exposition at the Lopez Memorial Museum in 2016.

Ho Rui An (Singapore) is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. He writes, talks and thinks around images, with an interest in investigating their emergence, transmission and disappearance within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Second Kochi-Muziris Biennale; Serpentine Galleries, London; LUMA/Westbau, Zürich); National University of Singapore Museum; QUT Art Museum, Brisbane; Para Site, Hong Kong; and Witte de With, Rotterdam. He is the Singapore desk editor for Art Asia Pacific and has contributed to numerous publications.

Winner Jumalon (Philippines) is a painter based in Manila. He received his BFA in Painting from UP Diliman in 2004. He was recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Thirteen Artists Award in 2009 and was named one of the Ten Outstanding Artists by Nokia Philippines in 2008. His recent solo exhibitions include Chispa (Spark) at Art Fair Philippines (2016); Juramento at Yavuz Gallery, Singapore (2015); and Against the Tide at Art Basel Hong Kong (2013).

Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada/France) works with installation, video, sound, and performance. She is interested in the areas of Afrofuturism, anti-colonial struggle, belief systems, vernacular, and popular culture. As a filmmaker, her documentary work received two nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Kapwani received her BA in Anthropology and Comparative Religions from McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2002. In 2009, she received a diploma issued by the French Ministry of Culture upon completing her residency at Le Fresnoy Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing, France. Kapwani has exhibited internationally in the following venues and institutions: Centre Georges Pompidou, France; Glasgow Center of Contemporary Art, UK; Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo Almería, Spain; Kassel Documentary Film Festival; and Kaleidoscope Arena, Rome; to name a few.

Runo Lagomarsino (Sweden/Brazil) probes the link between memory and the colonial project in his works. He employs metaphors and fictions to explore histories and personal memories and to speculate on power relations, borders, exile, and displacement. He received his BFA from the Academy of Fine Art Valand, Gotehnberg in 2001 and an MFA from the Malmö Art Academy in 2003. From 2007-2008, he undertook the Whitney Independent Study Program. Lagomarsino has held numerous solo and two-person exhibitions, among them, West is Everywhere You Look at Fracesca Minini Gallery in Italy (2016); Lacuna at Mendes Wood DM; Carla Zaccagnini and Runo Lagomarsino at Malmö Konsthall; and They Watched Us For a Very Long Time at La Criée Center for Contemporary Art, Rennes (2015). He was recipient of the Barbro & Holger Bäckströms Award in 2014.

Shaped by personal memories of conflict and survival during the Vietnam War, the black and white photographs of An My Lê (Vietnam/USA) in Small Wars feature foliage, stunning landscapes, and staged battle scenes that reflect upon the implications of the War. She received her BAS and MS degrees from Stanford University and her MFA at Yale University School of Art. She was recipient of significant awards and grants, among them the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2012); The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2009); and the National Science Foundation, Antarctic Artists and Writers Program Award (2007). Lê has held solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Columbia College, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Johnson Museum in Cornell University, and PS1/MoMA Contemporary Art Center, New York; to name a few.

Employing photographs, videos, objects, texts, and installations in his works, Miyagi Futoshi (Japan) delves on notions of nationality, identity, and ethnicity. He is the creator of the blog American Boyfriend (2012 to present), a research-based project which seeks to explore sexuality and political issues in Okinawa, his birthplace, and a city that maintains a US military base. Miyagi was one of the finalists of the Nissan Art Award in 2015. He has participated recently in the following exhibitions: Time of Others at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and the National Museum of Art, Osaka and The Vision of Contemporary Art 2015 at the Ueno Royal Museum (2015); and his solo exhibition titled American Boyfriend: Bodies of Water at the Kyoto City University of the Arts Gallery (2014).

Nousaku Fuminori (Japan) is an architect and Assistant Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology where he also received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor of engineering degrees. In 2008, he worked with Njiric+Arhitekti, an architectural firm based in Zagreb, Croatia, before establishing his own firm, Fuminori Nousaku Architects in 2010. His project “House with Hall,” a combination of living and work environment with spacious interiors that maximizes natural illumination, received the Tokyo Residential Architecture Prize (2010). In 2013, the firm’s project, “Guest House in Takaoka,” which they made by renovating and repurposing his grandmother’s house, won first prize from SD Review. The work of Nousaku Architects was part of the Japan Pavilion exhibition titled en: art of nexus at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2016), which received Special Mention.

Philippine Educational Theater Association (Philippines) was founded in 1967 In its early years, the company developed a People’s Theater dedicated to social change and empowerment, particularly of marginalized communities. PETA introduced plays written and performed in Filipino. Prior to transferring to its new performance venue in 2005, most of PETA’s plays were performed at the Dulaang Rajah Sulayman, an open-air theater in Intramuros, Manila designed by Leandro Locsin. It has produced a significant number of plays since its founding in the late 1960s and is committed to artistic development, education in theater and the arts, and development through its strong outreach component.

Shen Shao Min (China/Australia) works with intermedia, among them kinetic sculptures made of animal bones to reflect upon the Anthropocene and its consequences to human desire and artificiality. Exploring intersections between the real and the imaginary, Shen has also worked with hyperreal sculptures of humans and animals. His bonsai works are “living installations” that provide insight on implications of power and control in creating beauty. Shen Shao Min has participated in numerous exhibitions, among his recent solo shows are: Keep Upright at Klein Sun Gallery, New York (2017) and There is No Problem at the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou, China (2015). His works have been exhibited in the following venues and institutions: Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Kunst Museum Bern, Switzerland; Musée D’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France; Singapore Art Museum; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; to name a few.

Maria Taniguchi (Philippines) is an intermedia artist working with painting, video, and installation. She received a BFA in Sculpture at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman, in 2007 and an MFA in Art Practice at Goldsmiths, London in 2009. Taniguchi’s works explore processes and translate concepts, frameworks or systems into abstracted forms. She is recognized for large-scale paintings rendered with patterns akin to brickwork in a series she began doing in 2008. She has exhibited extensively both locally and abroad. She was recipient of the Ateneo Art Awards in 2011 and 2012 and the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists in 2015.

Adrienne Vergara (Philippines) is a Sipat Lawin Ensemble Player and a freelance actor for stage, TV, and film. She studied Theatre Arts at UP Diliman and Noh Theatre at Yokohama University for a short stay scholarship program. As a mascoteer and character performer, Vergara has performed at Hong Kong Disneyland and Hello Kitty Cruise for Star Cruises; to name a few. At the Karnabal Festival organized by Sipat Lawin in 2015, she launched Yenyen de Sarapen, an independent/independence mascot who is keen on exposing the plight of fellow mascoteers through research, performance, and advocacy. Yenyen has performed in the following venues and institutions: CCP Pasinaya 2017, Human Rights Day Alab ng Puso at Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Hugoungan (interaction with the Lumad) at the UP Theater, and the Asia TOPA Festival in Melbourne, Australia.

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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.

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