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Manila, I'm Coming Home: Mutable Truths at the Ateneo Art Gallery


Manila, I'm Coming Home: Mutable Truths at the Ateneo Art Gallery
Mutable Truths at the Ateneo Art Gallery

'Mutable Truths: Perspectives in Philippine Contemporary Art Practices' opened on October 1, 2017 at the Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila coinciding with this year’s Ateneo Art Awards and opening of the Ateneo de Manila University’s museum and creative hub, Areté. 

A homecoming exhibition, 'Mutable Truths' features works from Ateneo Art Awardees who have done their residencies and exhibited in La Trobe Art Institute in Bendigo, Australia. The Ateneo de Manila University has had a partnership with the La Trobe Art Institute for a total of 17 years. In 2003, the Ateneo Art Awards was established and the La Trobe Art Institute provided a residency to the artist who won the award. 'Mutable Truths' celebrates the partnership between both universities and features artists who have been a part of the residency program from 2005 to 2014.

The exhibit featured a multitude of works of different mediums from vastly different artists, ranging from painting, sculpture, sound, and video. The ten artists exhibited in this show included Poklong Anading, Martha Atienza, Lyle Buencamino, Charles Buenconsejo, Buen Calubayan, Marina Cruz, Kawayan de Guia, Leeroy New, Mark Salvatus, and Ronald Ventura.

"Gates" by Mark Salvatus

"Shared Residence" by Poklong Anading (left) and "No Fighting in the Museum" by Lyle Buencamino (right)

'Mutable Truths' opens with Mark Salvatus’ video work, Gates that greets the viewer as they enter the museum. Rather apt as the opening work, Gates features a looping video of the opening of various gates in Manila. 

Going further through the galleries, the viewers are met with Poklong Anading’s Shared Residence a project to foster an engagement with the community at the Ateneo de Manila University by giving them the opportunity to borrow artworks for a semester, as well as Lyle Buencamino’s large-scale paintings of fist fights entitled No Fighting in the Museum meant to play with the notions of rules and etiquette in a museum setting.

There are many works on display at 'Mutable Truths,' all tackling and exploring different ideas and situations. Some works were personal: Buen Calubayan’s Instructions on Viewing the Landscape rather bare-bones work wished to talk about Philippine art history and situate himself in it by presenting various material he has found through the course of his research. In a similar light, Marina Cruz’s embroidered paintings talked of memory and personal history by having embroidered stories atop paintings of traditional heirloom Filipino clothing, while in Martha Atienza’s minimalist Resolution A.468(X11) she aimed to capture the feeling of living on a ship by exhibiting sound and recreating the vibrations on metal. 

"Resolution A.468(X11)" by Martha Atienza

"Grotto" by Leeroy New

Other works tackled the relationship between man and animal, such as in Ronald Ventura’s  sculptural works and works on painting. Charles Buenconsejo’s video work with CCTV footage blurred the line between audience and participant. Leeroy New’s mesmerizing and alien-like grotto sculpture talked of the traffic situation in the Philippines, while Kawayan de Guia wished to bring to light the current political climate through his assemblage.

It’s an interesting time for Philippine art scene as it continues to grow and challenge traditional notions of art. Unlike famous art centers such as New York and Paris, the Philippine art scene and market is relatively young, with many collectors still favoring more traditional modes of art. For years, however, the Philippine art scene has been churning out unconventional works, perhaps just with limited reach. Luckily, exhibitions like 'Mutable Truths' provide an accessible venue to continue to educate the public on alternative art-making practices and hopefully inspire emerging artists to explore other methods of creating their works.


Mutable Truths: Perspectives in Philippine Contemporary Art Practices is on display in the Ateneo Art Gallery, Areté, Quezon City from October 1 to December 2, 2017.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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