Between the Street and the Mountain: Four Artists from the Philippines

26 July - 2 September 2016 Shanghai
Press release

ARARIO GALLERY is proud to present Between the Streets and the Mountains: Four artists from the Philippines, a group exhibition of Filipino artists, including Geraldine Javier (b. 1970), Leslie de Chavez (b. 1978), MM Yu (b. 1978) and Buen Calubayan (b. 1980).


The history of the Philippines is a tumultuous and convoluted one. Several thousand years of culture, history and prosperous years of sultanate and empire, subsequently wasweakened with Ferdinand Magellan's expedition in 1521. Since then, the Western power's aggressive imperialist and colonialist campaigns, followed by the eruption of World War II, left the island in an constant upheaval, leaving the country entangled with the much uglier and greedier side of the world history. However, since their independence from Spain and America, and overcoming the occupation of Japan, the modern and contemporary Philippines have revitalized the intertwined world history and culture by making it uniquely their own. The four artists participating in this exhibition and their works are the fruition of such historical and cultural legacy.


As one of the awardees of Cultural Center of Philippine Artist Award in 2003, Geraldine Javier's paintings are visually mesmerizing, yet the viewers cannot easily brush off the sense of silent tension. Despite the feminine sensitivity of the subjects, one can discern a lesser innocent and elated message nuanced through various hidden manipulations. The three works by Javier, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella's New Ride, and Alice in No Man's Land depict girls precariously hanging on a branch of a tree. The spikes around the frame also complicate the tension that lead the viewers to contemplate farther behind the elegantly rendered painting.


Another painting work, Study for Subjugating the Nuclear by Leslie de Chavez, an already renowned artist with a wide fan base, will be shown together with his installation work, I just can't stop loving you. Interested in exploring the topics of the Philippines' history and recent cultural dialogues, the artist starts his work with a simple sketch which develops into a painting that resembles old gold leaf murals in the local Filipino churches. De Chavez's broad subjects, yet undeniably personal narratives create an exceptional body of work.


Buen Calubayan, also a winner of CCP Artist Award in 2009, will be exhibiting Instruction on Viewing the Landscape, a conceptual installation work that 'illustrates a way of seeing a given world.' Comprised of eight different elements, the entire work reveals itself when exhibited together and activated the by the viewer. Calubayan explores the identity of being an artist, to be more specific, of being a Filipino artist and what surrounds and influences him.


The exhibition title, Between the Streets and Mountains, is clearly illustrated in MM Yu's photography works. Her works demonstrate striking irony of beauty and chaos found on the city streets in the Philippines that are captured through the artist's eyes, which are later juxtaposed together connecting each other sharing the artist's complete message. Her works can be easily related to any urbanites who appreciates the aesthetics within disarray.


The four artists through their diverse use of medium and wide array of interest will attempt to convey an exhaustive understanding of contemporary art in the Philippines. The exhibition will continue from July 16th to September 2nd, 2016.

Installation Views