Travelling taught me a lot about life, love and art. It was my trips to Europe that truly exposed me to Art. It was here where I discovered the different art movements, the masters and their work. It was also here where I developed my fascination with non-traditional and more experimental type of art… So every time I travel abroad, I would always seek out Contemporary & Modern Art exhibitions, and in Lisbon I was told to check out the Museu Coleção Berardo.
When the guy at the entrance conducting a survey found out I was from the Philippines, he told me that there’s a Filipino artist on exhibit at the Berardo museum. Imagine my timing!
It is a dream for almost every artist to be shown in well-respected galleries / museums abroad. I was lucky to see works of Filipino photographer Emmanuel Santos at Museé d’art et d’histoire du Judaisme and Filipino International artist David Medalla at Jeu de Paume in Paris.
From the Solitude of Place to a Vanishing Horizon
This exhibition claims the collective mnemonic that modernity has tended to ignore over the course of the twentieth century. The tensions bred by the spaces of political, historical and cultural confinement, intersecting with our daily lives, are re-articulated in the discursivity that these works both present and raise. Like circles within circles partaking of neither horizon nor exteriority, in a space where contemporary life is consumed in planetary suburbia, the scenarios constructed here invoke realities that have ceaselessly ravaged the production of the visual arts in the past two decades. (http://www.e-flux.com)
You must probably be wondering now who this Filipino artist is.
It’s no other than MANUEL OCAMPO.
Manuel Ocampo is a painter who plays with religious and cultural symbolism and iconography. Ocampo has been a vital presence on the international art scene for over twenty years and is now the most internationally active contemporary artist from the Philippines.
Ocampo is known for fearlessly tackling the taboos and cherished icons of society and of the art world itself. During the 1990s, he was noted for his bold use of a highly charged iconography that combined Catholic imagery with motifs associated with racial and political oppression, creating works that make powerful, often conflicted, statements about the vicissitudes of personal and group identities. His works illustrate, often quite graphically, the psychic wounds that cut deep into the body of contemporary society. (http://sodgallery.dk)
I saw some works that really fascinated me, like the ones by Adriana Varejao and Jannis Kounellis. I also watched the (25 min) video of Justine Triet showing a massive student demonstration/riot that took place in Place d’Italie (Paris), which was very near where I used to live. The scene from the video was very tense, it totally hooked me from beginning to end.
Visiting museums and seeing works of art up-close is, in a way, like travelling. Inside this museum houses different artists from around the world. Here, I was able to witness a part of their hiStory, I was able to get a sense of their culture and I was able to travel around their world, all for free. And like every after trip, I came home inspired.