Just Mad 6: The Emerging Art Fair (Madrid, Spain)

Booth B2.02

February 2015

Press Release

Contemporary Art from the Philippines

Owen James Gallery​is pleased to present some of the leading contemporary artists from the Philippines.

The four artists, all based in and around Manila, are: Mariano Ching​, Dex Fernandez​, Dina Gadia​and

Robert Langenegger​.
 

While Southeast Asia has blossomed in the global contemporary art market over the last 10 years, Manila

stands out in many ways from the region. The art coming out of Manila is dynamic, colorful, and makes

use of a wide variety of materials. The emerging artists of Manila do not attempt to simply bridge traditional

art / craft techniques with conceptual practices. Instead, they reflect the deep impact of colonialism under

Spain and the United States, and the topsy­turvy nature of their current political reality and recent history.

The Philippines​has been transformed through colonisation far more than any other country in the region,

partly because it was colonized for so long. There is an ongoing struggle in the country to define itself, to

reemerge from the past and to become whole again. In these art forms the pervasiveness of Catholic

traditions, as introduced by the Spanish, are heavily contrasted with disillusionment over the Church’s

inability to confront the overpopulation, political corruption, and the squandering of economic resources

that is so rampant in the country. The images of American pop culture, from inane movies and television

shows to comic books, brand­name luxury products and fast foods are often used not in admiration, but in

defiant rejection of their presumed authority.
 

The four artists presented here have distinct methods and points of view: Ching​is best known for his

surreal drawings and paintings of disfigured subjects; Fernandez​transforms photographs with the colors,

designs and symbols of graffiti; Gadia ​collages pieces of comics, advertisements and ephemera;

Langenegger​paints intentionally awkward and disturbing caricatures of life. All of these artists, however,

are united in their rawly energetic, conceptually adroit, and humorous approaches to the modern world.

The pure freedom of expression found in these works is perhaps what best defines the current artistic

mood.