Regional Perspectives: Chabet 50 Years

Complete & Unabridged, Part I

18.02.2011 ¡V 26.03.2011

Artists: Agnes Arellano | Bernardo Pacquing | Bert Antonio | Crispin Villanueva Jr. | Dan Raralio | Elaine Roberto-Navas | Felix Bacolor | Francesca Enriquez | Gaston Damag | Gerardo Tan | Jet Melencio | Jojo Serrano | Jonathan Olazo | Juan Alcazaren | Juni Salvador | Lani Maestro | Mona Santos | Nilo Ilarde | Pardo de Leon | Popo San Pascual | Raul Rodriguez | RM de Leon | Roberto Chabet | Rock Drilon | Ronald Achacoso | Soler Santos | Retired Artist | Trek Valdizno | Waling Waling Gorospe | Yolanda Perez-Johnson

Curators: Gary-Ross Pastrana, Ringo Bunoan & Isabel Ching

Following on the success of Roberto Chabet¡¦s solo show, ¡§To Be Continued¡¨, the Osage Art Foundation (OAF), together with the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts (ICAS) are presenting the second in a series of four exhibitions held in Singapore and Hong Kong, featuring Roberto Chabet, one of the Philippines¡¦ most influential contemporary artists, and 29 acclaimed and emerging Filipino artists whom he has taught and mentored.

Since its founding in 2004, the Osage Art Foundation has been promoting cross cultural understanding through art exhibitions between Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines. OAF recognises that more needs to be done to develop the cultural conversations happening within Asia, and as part of its mission to foster a deeper regional consciousness of the arts within Asia, OAF has launched a new platform, called ¡§ Regional Perspectives¡¨, and is initiating it with this four-part exhibition series. These exhibitions will establish new precedents in making the case that certain key artists from the region have a larger international significance.

¡§Complete & Unabridged, Part I¡¨, which opens at ICAS on 17 February, and ¡§Part II¡¨, which will open in Osage Kwun Tong in Hong Kong on 4 March, is a major exhibition of over 80 contemporary artists from the Philippines, all of whom studied with or were mentored by Roberto Chabet at the University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts, or at key artist-run spaces in Manila. Curated by Ringo Bunoan, Isabel Ching and Gary-Ross Pastrana, the wide range of works featured in the exhibition include painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, photography, and video. Reflecting the diversity of interests and practices in Philippine art today, they are connected by a continuing discussion on alternative forms and ways of thinking about art ¡X issues that Chabet has consistently raised through his own art, his curated exhibitions and teachings.

Since his first exhibition in 1961, Chabet has been instrumental in establishing the foundations for contemporary practice in the Philippines. His works, ranging from painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, to installation, resist easy categorisation. Using mostly ordinary and found material, he takes an inclusive approach to art, searching for the sublime not just in abstract ideas but also in the immediacy of the quotidian and the commonplace. Beyond the significance of his artistic practice, these exhibitions will also explore Chabet¡¦s influence as a curator and educator.

The solo exhibition ¡§To Be Continued¡¨, which opened 13 January at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and runs till 11 February, is a historic presentation of the artist¡¦s work and career. It brought together for the first time several of the artist¡¦s signature installations using plywood, neon, and various found objects.

At the opening, Ringo Bunoan, one of the exhibition curators said: ¡§We are very happy that this show has been realised after all the hard work and preparations. A majority of his works were lost and were reconstructed based on photographs, so it was very moving for all of us working on the project to see the works finally installed at the ICAS.¡¨

Bunoan further elaborated on the importance of the show: ¡§This exhibition is the first time Mr. Chabet¡¦s works are being shown to audiences outside Manila, and it provides an opportunity for others to see a different facet of Philippine art, one that challenges common and stereotype representations.¡¨

Charles Merewether, Director of ICAS, said that the Chabet exhibition series was a great way to kick off the new year for the Institute, and it sets a standard for projects at ICAS. In anticipation of the group show, ¡§Complete & Unabridged, Part I¡¨, Merewether commented that it was very fitting for Chabet to have his first show outside Manila at an arts college, given his significant contributions as an educator.

Lee Weng Choy, Director of Projects, Research & Publications, OAF, believes that ¡§it is crucial to bring significant artists from countries in Asia to wider audiences across the region, to spur further debate and discussion, and through talks or publications, build a base of knowledge that is shared throughout the region and the world. We hope with projects like the Chabet series of exhibitions, we can contribute to the development of the arts in Asia.¡¨

Agnes Lin, founder of OAF, added: "In order for contemporary art in Asia to develop further, it¡¦s also important that there be a wide-base of support. Art is a social responsibility, and OAF feels that it and other arts organisations have a role to play in lobbying for more resources for the arts, from the government, corporations as well as private sponsors."

Alongside the opening of ¡§Complete & Unabridged, Part II¡¨ in Hong Kong on 4 March, will be ¡§Intermediate Geography¡¨ at Osage Soho. This installation was first displayed in 2005 as part of Chabet¡¦s series of annual simultaneous exhibitions at Finale Art Gallery and West Gallery at SM Megamall in Manila, and will be reconstructed for Osage Soho. ¡§Intermediate Geography¡¨ is like a reminder of the dichotomies between the known and the unknowable; the expressible and the inexpressible; private and public; oneself and the other; art and non-art.

¡§To Be Continued¡¨, ¡§Intermediate Geography¡¨ and ¡§Complete & Unabridged, Parts I and II¡¨ are part of ¡§Chabet 50 Years¡¨, a series of projects organised by King Kong Art Projects Unlimited throughout 2011 ¡V 2012 at various venues in Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila in celebration of fifty years of Chabet¡¦s pioneering conceptual work and his role in shaping Philippine contemporary art.

The Asian Cultural Council (ACC) is pleased to reconnect with Mr. Chabet as one of the partner organizations of Regional Perspectives: Chabet 50 Years. Mr. Chabet is one of the first artists from the Philippines to receive a fellowship from the ACC in 1967, which supported him to travel to the United States to observe museum practices in preparation for his appointment as the founding museum director of the Cultural Center for the Philippines in 1968. Founded in 1963 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the primary emphasis of the ACC is on providing individual fellowship grants to arts professionals from Asia to undertake study, research, observation and creative work abroad.