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Robert Langenegger's 4-panel mural for ArtInformal

13 remarkable moments in Philippine art 2018

We asked collectors, curators, gallerists and avid art watchers to tell us which piece of work from the shows this year had the most impact. 
ANCX Staff | Dec 31 2018

We could think of a few of our own: the selling of the “Spoliarium” boceto at the Salcedo Auctions last September; the first Manila Biennale in February which got mixed reviews for both its art and its staging; the first time the spotlight was focused big time on photography at this year’s Art Fair Philippines, giving us one of the most moving, powerful installation works in recent memory, Carlo Gabuco’s “Ang Mga Walang Pangalan,” the real story of a girl who witnessed the murder of her father—but told in sound, pictures and atmosphere. There was Judy Freya Sibayan occupying the entire two floors of Calle Wright, the house-turned-art space of Silverlens, with her personal belongings. There was the Bruce Conner show at Bellas Artes Outpost. And the landmark exhibition of the Printmakers Association of the Philippines, celebrating its 50th year at the CCP last July.

But count on us always to think big (insert winking, tongue-out emoji here). For the small but equally powerful moments, we thought of asking other people: collectors, gallerists, and avid exhibition visitors—those whose tastes and points of view have surprised and impressed us over the years: What is that one art piece that caused a small quake in their hearts and minds (maybe wallets, too?) from this year’s shows?

Art, after all, begins and ends as a personal experience, and the answers we were able to gather reminded us of the works we could have given a little more attention to had we not been too busy getting another drink.

Anyway here goes: some of the most powerful art moments of 2018.

“Robert Langenegger's four panel mural (PICTURED ABOVE) at the show I curated for ArtInformal last April was probably the strongest most important work for me this year. It’s kick in the balls irreverence was absurd and funny, painful yet tasty. Closely followed by Oca Villamel’s dungeon installation at the first Manila Biennale. Haunting and timely. Site perfect.”


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Photography from @artspotting_mnl on Instagram

“Doktor Karayom translates his experience of seeing Juan Luna’s master oeuvre, Spoliarium, as a pivotal experience.” 


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Photography from @artspotting_mnl on Instagram

"Pindrops by Lena Cobangbang, from the Archivo 1984 show Declassified Field Notes from the Black Hole, May 2018. 1,500 cut out images of the the Manila art crowd. I’m awed by just the simple idea yet it speaks to all collectors and artists. Lena is an artist’s artist.”


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“Jose Santos' Order of Things was The Drawing Room's presentation at The Armory Show (New York) in 2018. The work was a milestone in many ways — in the context of the fair, a first for a Philippine gallery; and in its own context, representative of a window into our weighted histories through the imprints of objects from everyday life.”


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“If I had to choose one show/ artwork it would be the Zean Cabangis show in ArtInformal last November. As the title—“Somewhere, Anywhere”—suggests, I love how his pieces are open to the viewer’s interpretation. His use of various processes to achieve this abstraction is astounding. As a big fan of Zean, it’s inspiring to see his growth as an artist.”   


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The viewer as subject has long been a fascination for Annie Cabigting.

“A show that really struck me is Annie Cabigting’s Museum Watching show at Finale.”


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Photography from @traveleronfoot_gvm on Instahu.com

“Jose Tence Ruiz’s very powerful sculpture called ‘Grendel’ is the artwork that made my jaw drop this year. Taking his cue from the Beowulf epic where the hero cuts off the monster's arm in battle, Bogie reimagines this in ‘Grendel.' He appropriates the arm of an excavator, a machine associated with the murder of journalists in Mindanao and the destruction of ancestral lands. He renders it in wood, replacing one end with his signature cathedral construction—a structure associated with power and control—and the other end with tubes and cords trailing as if an appendage torn off from the body. 'Grendel' is a powerful and necessary metaphor of our time.”


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“Viewing art/going to exhibitions has been quite exhausting lately. Too many of the same thing fatigues and disenchants; disinterest sets in. Good thing with Instagram or FB I can just scroll through the slew of photos an avid documentarian posts. However, Lesley-Anne Cao’s exhibit The Hand, The Secretary, A Landscape last May in CCP defies digital spectatorship. It compels one’s own presence to be physically there, to engage you with the very activity of viewing."


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"Balikbayan Box by Jill Paz. Jill managed to turn this symbol into a work of art that speaks of the time it was created in, at the same time it tells her story—one that is echoed in many people’s lives.”


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Tropical Void by Louie Cordero, and Mending Figure by Allan Balisi. “These are gems.”


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Lani Maestro’s ongoing show School of Love at Calle Wright. “Quiet and healing.”


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“Porco Dio (Pare Eso Habeis Nacido/Tanto Y Mas) by Manuel Ocampo. Shown recently by Silverlens Gallery at the Art Basel Hongkong. Oil on linen, 9 x 11 ft, 1992, originally exibited in Los Angeles. Philippine art’s bad boy at his baddest best.”