writings, projects and exhibitions of Clarissa Chikiamco

Thursday, August 11, 2011

End Frame 3 and Gallery NOVA present SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, an exhibition by Manny Montelibano

inviting everyone to my next curated exhibition opening this Saturday, 13 August 2011

End Frame Video Art Project 3, together with Gallery NOVA,

Presents SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, an exhibition by Manny Montelibano,

Opening on 13 August 2011, Saturday, 6.30 pm.

Artist Talk on 16 August, Tuesday, 6 pm. Exhibition runs until 9 September.

Visual Pond’s End Frame Video Art Project 3: Present, together with Gallery NOVA, presents Manny Montelibano’s Sorry for the Inconvenience, the latest exhibition of the 2011-2012 Philippine video art festival. The solo exhibition of Montelibano opens at Gallery NOVA on 13 August 2011, Saturday, at 6:30 pm with an artist talk on 16 August, Tuesday, at 6 pm.

Examining the idea of aggravating disturbances amidst the thrust for the public good, Sorry for the Inconvenience stages an audio-visual affront on the rhetoric of the politically powerful. In a gathering, manipulation and collision of declamations, the exhibition suggests of the all-consuming nature of dominance, which comes at both the impact and expense of others.

The show forms the fourth solo exhibition of the Bacolod-based Montelibano, who has been practicing as an artist and showing at various venues in Manila and the Visayas since 2002. Montelibano received his training through his experience as technical director at University of St. La Salle in Bacolod and through a 2004 director’s apprenticeship under filmmaker Peque Gallaga. Crossing fields, Montelibano is a member of the Black Artists in Asia Association Inc. and founded Bacollywood: The Visayan Film Festival. He also cofounded the production collective Produksyon Tramontina Inc. An active member of his community, he often shows in group exhibitions in his region. His other solo shows include Greater than or Equal to Infinity (Gallery NOVA, 2010), Escabeche: Filipino Sweet and Sour (Galleria Duemila, 2009) and PO Asa (Gallery Orange, 2008).

Montelibano’s Sorry for the Inconvenience is the second offering of End Frame Video Art Project 3, following Tad ErmitaƱo’s exhibition last January. Curated by Clarissa Chikiamco, the theme of the third edition, Present, refers to the current project’s focus on selected Philippine contemporary artists’ practices in video art. Throughout the festival, each artist stages a show presenting new video work in various venues from 2011 to 2012. Otherartists presenting for End Frame 3 include Claro Ramirez, Kiri Dalena, Yason Banal, Kaloy Olavides and Maria Taniguchi.

Sorry for the Inconvenience runs until 9 September 2011. Gallery NOVA, located at Warehouse 12A, La Fuerza Compound 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati Metro Manila, is open Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. RSVP for the artist talk at tel. no. (632) 392-7797 or +63922-8006925. For inquiries on Visual Pond projects and End Frame 3, call Rica Estrada at +63917-8170198 or email visualpond@gmail.com.

Brief statement on the reaction to Mideo Cruz's work

I am appalled and, at the same time, exasperated on the hysteria regarding Mideo Cruz's work Poleteismo which was exhibited at "Kulo" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I also condemn the closure and, in effect, censorship of the exhibition, the apparent result of the overwhelming threats against the people at CCP.

Regardless of the CCP being a state institution, the artist, like the other people in this country, has an absolute right to express himself, whether or not the majority will find this offensive. Democracy does not mean mob rule. There is a lot of rubbish as well being bandied about such as the art in CCP having to express Filipino values, Filipino identity. Pray tell, what are Filipino values? What is the Filipino identity? We are coming dangerously close to propaganda.

What kind of art would the majority like to find in CCP? Are we to put it to a vote? If we are to follow what the majority desires, we're going to wind up with a lot of terrible to substandard art in there. This is not to say that majority of Filipinos have bad taste. It is a natural occurrence in art that even works simply recognized as art are first recognized by a minority. It is why the art world uses the term avant-garde ("advance guard"/"front guard").

Mideo's work is not harming anyone (at least in the literal physical sense). He followed the guidelines of the allotted space by the guest curator, as selected by CCP. As a curator myself, I've seen a lot of works and exhibitions which I do not like but it does not give me any right at all to vandalize and/or remove it. If I don't like the work, I usually just ignore it. Sometimes I may discuss this with others but that is all.

For those who do not like Mideo's work, you can scream and beat your chest--you are well within your rights. But you should not take away that freedom from someone else.

It should be said as well that Mideo's artwork does not necessarily represent his personal views on religion. How an artist expresses his artistic identity can be very different from his personal identity. There are some artists who work autobiographically (think like van Gogh), which is the popular conception of the artist. Yet, many contemporary artists today work more like sociologists, doing interpretations and interventions from their observations on culture. Due to this nature, they are able to personally distance themselves from the work.

People are reading Mideo's work as an attack on Catholicism. I actually don't see the work that way. To me, his work is about iconography, colonialism and capitalism. But even if it were an attack on Catholicism, so what? Criticism against Catholicism - in particular Catholic fundamentalism - is fair. With the death threats that the artist has been getting, it just goes to show the great irony of certain Catholics and the Church in this country and also how object-oriented their faith is.