ART CENTRAL 2018

27 March - 01 April 2018

Art Central Harbourfront,

Hong Kong

JOVEN MANSIT

About the Works

The works of Joven Mansit are post-colonial examinations of the Filipino identity in crisis—a mutable and mutating entity that grapples with the weight of historical baggage and the present claims of modernity. Referencing and appropriating old Filipiniana photographs (usually of men and women wearing fin-de-siècle dresses and ornaments), Mansit is notable for disrupting figurative harmony by introducing seemingly off-tangent and dissonant elements as a way of questioning and unsettling the arrogance of the past, historical records, and the collective memory.  

 

In this suite of works, Mansit resuscitates the portraiture of yore, complete with the degradation of the medium of the photographic image. Two figures are depicted either submerged in water or, perhaps more accurately, in the process of disappearance. Each wearing a pair of horns, all go about their lives in utter nonchalance, with most of them directly looking at the viewer. Their gaze accuses not so much because of the appearance of this incongruous physical appendage but how it has been violently sawed off, which robs them of a vital protection. Possibly, the horns allude to a pre-colonial connection to the animal kingdom, as evidenced by a man shown beside a beast of burden that has grown a pair of stupendous horns. This symbolism notwithstanding, Mansit has created a series of paintings that re-imagines the past through the lens of the uncanny.   

About the Artist 

Based in Antipolo, Rizal in the Philippines, Joven Mansit has had five solo exhibitions to date: Vignettes (Canvas Gallery, 2016), Surface Tension (Pinto Art Museum, 2015), Ulat Panahon [Weather Report] (Boston Gallery, 2012), Dimas Alang (Art Verité, 2011), and Camera Obscura (Boston Gallery, 2008). He has also participated in various group shows, such as in Taipei, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. In 2013, he was shortlisted in the Ateneo Art Awards, a prestigious competition in the Philippines that honors notable exhibitions by young and mid-career artists.

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JOSE LEGASPI

About the Works

No one in the Philippines has arguably come close to the iconography that Jose Legaspi has evolved through the years, which features a terrifying, pared-down, monochromatic realm that has the shades and textures of nightmares. Through figures possessed of dark intent, he maps out the deepest areas of the human soul where the most profound fears reside, confronting the viewer with a mirror-image of a version of himself he doesn’t wish to see. Sinister and deeply unsettling though they may be, the paintings are irresistible in their magnetizing power, searing their image on the retina and the mind. The works of Legaspi are difficult to avert one’s gaze from. They are also unforgettable.

 

In works that seem to be connected by a narrative thread, Legaspi presents to the viewer his vision of a post-apocalyptic man, seated on a chair evidently deranged or crouching on all fours, his skin breaking into boils or leprosy, which is Biblical in its associations and horrific effects. Here is a figure that has gone past beyond breaking point, physically and psychologically ravaged. His predicament seems to be helpless as he inhabits a house bereft of creature comforts and reduced to its most severe silhouette. In one painting, the walls have closed in, claustrophobic, the man gone. His absence in the context of this unforgiving environment seems like a respite. In certain cases, Legaspi seems to affirm, death could be more preferable to life.

 

 

About the Artist

Jose Legaspi is one of the most notable artists from the Philippines working today. With a career spanning almost 40 years, he has had solo exhibitions in, aside from his home country, the United States (Phlegm, Art in General; Performance at the home of Shirley Nakao), Hong Kong (Nightmare Obsession, Flipside), and Australia (Profane Corpse). He has also participated in group shows in England, Japan, China, the US, and the Netherlands, among others. His works have also been featured in various international publications, such as Contemporary Asian Art, published by Thames & Hudson.

 

 

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GUERRERO HABULAN

About the Works

In works that explicate the various layers that constitute biography, Guerrero Z. Habulan problematizes the idea of a unified, coherent self—a fictive invention that is promulgated to side-step the paradoxes of living in the contemporary moment. His stylistic and thematic approach is necessarily overlapping, complex, highly textured. By so doing, his works are less of a composition than a composite of elements, at once amplifying and subverting each other. At home in the liminal space of opposing energies, Habulan transforms the pictorial surface as a highly-charged stage on which to evoke human destiny as a state of flux. 

 

In this suite of works, one sees a central figure whose head is crowned by another head: that of an old man in one painting, and that of what appears to be a classical sculptural rendition of Mother Mary in another. This superimposition of faces underscores how the past (and the history of art itself) constantly impinges upon the present by way of genes or influence, as if to affirm that we are all but accumulations of lives already lived and traditions already established. Serigraphic details such as cranes and pulleys, which convey perpetual building and transformation, introduce a mechanical element to what could have ended up as the slick surface of hyperrealism. The old and the new, the figurative and the abstract, the hand-drawn and the mechanically-produced all jostle together in these works that flesh out the manifold contradictions of self, identity, and history.

 

About the Artist

Guerrero Z. Habulan is a full-time artist based in the Philippines. He has had ten solo exhibitions in the Philippines and Singapore, with Disneytopia (BenCab Museum) as the most recent. A multi-awarded artist, Habulan gained recognitions from the 18th Metrobank Young Painters Competition and the 35th and the 36th Shell National Students Art Competition. In 2012, he became an artist-in-residence at Artesan Art Gallery in Singapore. Recently, Habulan was one of the recipients of the prestigious Thirteen Artists Awards of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

 

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KEB CERDA

About the Artist

Keb Cerda is an artist based in the Philippines. He finished a degree in Advertising at the Technological University of the Philippines. He held his first solo exhibition, Powerplay, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2015. He has also participated in various group shows such as in Boston Art Gallery, Pintô Art Museum, West Gallery, and Art Verité, among others. He describes his art as a “psychological voyage” that intrigues the viewers “in the many features of painting” while giving them “a worthwhile visual experience.”

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