Purveyor of Knowledge and Emerging Publisher of Philippine Art
April 22, 2018


Dex Fernandez As He Likes It

by Christiane L. de la Paz

August-September 2017 -- Dex Fernandez began his art career in 2007, painting a repertoire of phantasmagoric images inhabited by angry mountains, robots with a diminutive sidekick, triangle-shaped flying saucers, androgynous octopus, bumblebees spitting fire, flying piranhas, stegosaurus with long neck and whales with shark teeth. Espousing Pop Surrealism in his early works, he demonstrated his imaginative spirit by depicting a place similar to the netherworld. The following year, he showed interest in graffiti, an activity taken up by the Pilipinas Street Plan, a group of artists who showcased ephemeral artworks on streets. During this time, he experimented with graffiti using ready-made Kraft paper which could stick in any street wall. Gradually, he combined his graffiti with collage on photographs to reveal new nuances. As Fernandez progressed in his art, he developed labor-intensive methods that made use of archival photos, pre-existing imagery, French curves, biomorphic forms and tangles of strange life forms, making his artworks architectural, topographical, biological, bawdy, cartoony, chaotic, orderly, placid and apocalyptic. He also did notable mural art projects, animations, children's book and zines that brought him his succes de scandale. More importantly, his art also won him a substantial following and inclusion in important exhibitions and residencies. Fernandez’s works have not been seen in any depth in local art museums and private collections and so for those, like me, who have not discovered his meticulously executed canvases, the only subsequent opportunity is in this month’s feature article. Here, he talked about his humble beginning, the institution where he received his training, the coup de foudre show that infatuated him to enjoy his art studies, the stint he did in Saudi Arabia and the evolution of his subject matter and more-is-more technique.

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Ginto A Golden Heritage From Our Filipino Ancestor

by The Artes de las Filipinas Research Team

March 2016--This exhibit feature ancient ornaments crafted by our Filipino ancestor from 700 to 1,200 years ago. These form part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Pre-Hispanic Gold Collection.

The illustration that depict how these exquisite gold pieces were used are from the Boxer Codex, a manuscript written in 1590 with colored drawings of ethnic groups in the Philippines at the time of their initial contact with the Spaniards.In the Philippines, the 10th and 14th centuries were years of political, economic, and social progress, when primary artistic and scientific development occurred. Unearthed gold ornaments manifest a rich material culture dating almost 300 years before Spanish colonizers discovered the island.

Of the metals abundance, the Spanish explorers who landed on the islands in the 16th century noted,” Pieces of gold, the size of walnuts and eggs, are found by sitting the earth in the island.” As gold was plentiful, ancient Filipinos mastered gold working and created splendid works of art that are exquisite demonstrations not only of the skillful.

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The San Miguel Arcangel Parish Church Argao, Cebu

by The Artes de las Filipinas Research Team

June 2016--The construction of this beautiful Baroque Rococo church was begun in 1734, the year after the parish was established by the Augustinian Order and was completed in 1788.

On the bicentenary of her completion-specifically from September 29, 1907 until September 29, 1988--the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel patron saint of Argao and the Argavanons through the Argao Parish by the Centennial Commission headed by Rev. Fr. Jose C. Canseko, parish priest and the steering council headed by Hilario G. Davide, Jr. restored her and her premises to their original beauty and grandeur—in gratitude to their forebears who built her in thanksgiving to God for the countless blessings He showered and continue to shower upon them, as an expression of the constancy of their love for our Lady and their devotion to their patron saint and protector and as their spiritual gift to the generations yet to come.

The feast day was fittingly climaxed by a pontifical mass with his Eminence Ricardo J. Vidal

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Break the Silence Over Fakes

by Jack Flam

April 2012 -- The press has recently been full of reports about forgeries. In Europe, fakes by Wolfgang Beltracchi have embarrassed a number of experts and collectors. In the US, a painting purportedly by Jackson Pollock that was sold for $17m is the subject of a lawsuit against the now-closed Knoedler gallery and its former president Ann Freedman. This “Pollock”, moreover, seems to be only the tip of the iceberg, since it appears to belong to a surprisingly large collection of pictures supposedly painted by leading abstract expressionist artists. This collection was allegedly brokered by a previously obscure dealer named Glafira Rosales, who is now said to be the subject of an FBI investigation. The names attached to the paintings Rosales allegedly handled include Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, as well as Pollock.

One of these paintings, supposedly from the “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” series by Motherwell, was recently confirmed as a forgery by the Dedalus Foundation as part of a court settlement. The foundation, which I head, is sponsoring a catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s work. Our experience with this and related works makes it clear how problematic the issue of authenticity has become for scholars, collectors, gallery owners, and foundations specialising in modern painting. Sharply rising prices and an increasing scarcity of major works have created a rich environment for forgers.

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Intricate, Beautiful, Raunchy: Japan Embraces Its Ancient Erotic Print Tradition

by Claire Voon for Hyperallergic

October 2015-- Ukiyo-e, the popular color woodblock prints of Japan, are globally recognized and renowned, but their raunchier examples tend to see less light, rarely going on public display. Known as shunga (“spring pictures”), these highly erotic scenes comprise a genre of their own, and an exhibition devoted entirely to them has opened for the first time in their country of origin. Shunga, currently on view at Tokyo’s Eisei-Bunko Museum, features 133 works shown over two consecutive display periods, with many attributed to familiar names such as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

The exhibition is preceded in scope by only one other show, which opened at the British Museum in 2013 and drew close to 90,000 visitors in three months. Nearly half of the works on display at Eisei Bunko come from the British Museum, with the rest borrowed from various Japanese museums and private collections. Open since mid-September, Shunga, too, is attracting so many people that organizers have been reporting heavy visitor congestion and 20-30-minute waiting lines. Despite the works’ popularity, their highly explicit nature is the chief reason behind their limited display in museums: as Japan Today notes, finding sponsors for large shunga exhibitions is difficult, and curators often express worry about public complaints. Ten establishments turned down requests to host Shunga before Eisei-Bunko offered its space, and the exhibit is restricted to museum-goers 18 years old and up (the British Museum advised parental guidance for those under 16).

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Accustomed Othering in Colonial Writing

by Sherwin A. Mapanoo

September 2015--There are at least three major discursive issues that can be extracted from the document, Customs of the Tagalogs written by Juan de Plasencia in 1589, if we are to put socio-political context into the text – first, the issue of authorship; second, the discourse of power in colonial writing; and third, the logic of binarism or the Occident-Other dichotomy. These are interrelated threads that probably constitute major segments of colonial historical writing in the Philippines.

The authorial voice or authorship plays a pivotal role in putting meaning(s) to this colonial text. The author, Juan de Plasencia was, in the first place, not a native Tagalog but a Franciscan missionary who first arrived in the Philippines in 1577. He was tasked by the King of Spain to document the customs and traditions of the colonized (“natives”) based on, arguably, his own observations and judgments. Notably, de Plasencia wrote the Doctrina Cristiana, an early book on catechism and is believed to be the first book ever printed in the Philippines. Such initiatives were an accustomed practice of the colonizer during the Age of Discovery to enhance their superiority over the colonized and validity of their so-called duties and legacies to the World. It is a common fact that during this era, the Spanish colonizers, spearheaded by missionaries, drew a wide variety of texts ranging from travel narratives and accounts of the colony to even sermons.

In this particular text, de Plasencia tried to avoid discussing the “conflicting reports of the Indians” through an “informed observation” to obtain the “simple truth.” This “truth,” however, is debatable, and the manner of how he actually arrived to his reports is even more problematic. The text foregrounds two important figures: the observer (de Plasencia) himself, with his own background, subjectivites and biases; and the observer’s subject

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Private Collections Art Book Officially Launched

by Artes de las Filipinas Web Team

October 20, 2009 -- EACOMM Corporation hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the publication of its first book project, Private Collections. Almost three hundred guests turned up at the Isla Ballroom 3 of Edsa Shangri-La Hotel to welcome the release of the limited edition art book and to have it signed by the art collectors.

The audience had a warm and unforgettable moment that Tuesday evening. Artists and distinguished guests from the business, arts and society stood in lines to meet and have a chat with Washington SyCip, Hans Sy, David Consunji, Joey de Leon, Napoleon Abueva, Charlie Cojuangco, Joel Jimenez, Eddie Chua, Patrick Reyno, Mark Villar, Julius Babao, Arsenio Tanco, Jovenal Santiago, Manny Zialcita, Gilbert Santos, Wilmer Hontiveros, Louie Ojeda, Mikee Romero and Alexander Tan, who were recognized and honored that night.

Private Collections is available online and at Fully Booked.

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