PHL Pavilion a ‘must-see’ at Venice Biennale, say int’l art groups

May 10, 2015

Two international art groups picked the Philippine Pavilion as a “must-see” at the Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition.

Fine arts auction house Christie’s and United Kingdom-based artists information company a-n both recommended the Philippine’s comeback pavilion “Tie a String Around the World” at the Palazzo Mora to their followers, especially those who don’t have time to view all the 80+ national pavilions.

Five decades after its first appearance at the international art event, the Philippines returned to the Venice Biennale with an exhibit that tackles conquerors and the West Philippine Sea territorial issue. The theme in keepping with the exhibition’s overall theme of “All The World’s Futures,” curated by Nigerian art critic and museum director Okwui Enwezor—the first African to curate the oldest contemporary art fair.

The Philippine pavilion is curated by art academic Patrick Flores. It features a newly restored version of the 1950 film “Genghis Khan,” directed by National Artist Manuel Conde and co-written and designed by National Artist Carlos Francisco.

The film is in dialogue with newly commissioned works by intermedia artist Jose Tence Ruiz and filmmaker Manny Montelibano.

Ruiz created his interpretation of the BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippines’ rusty and dilapidated outpost on the Ayungin Shoal. The installation art is titled “Shoal.”

Montelibano features a multi-channel video called “A Dashed State,” shot in the southern part of Palawan, a place relatively shut out from the rest of the world except for the constant intrusion of Chinese channels on the radio.

Despite being an early favorite, the Philippine Pavilion did not bag the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. The award went to Armenia.

Its pavilion “Armenity/Haiyutioun” tackles the Armenian genocide and diaspora and features Armenian diaspora artists.

Nonetheless, project advocate Senator Loren Legarda pointed out that the Philippines’ return to the Venice Biennale is already a great achievement.

“Our return to the Venice Biennale after 51 years of absence is a great achievement already and for the Philippine Pavilion to be regarded as a must-see pavilion is very rewarding. It makes me even prouder of our artists,” she said.

Before the Philippine team headed to Italy, the senator also confirmed during a reception in celebration of the country’s comeback to the Venice Biennale that “Tie a String Around the World” will be brought back home and exhibited at the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum, Flores’ home base, after its run in the international exhibition.

Venice Biennale will run until November 22.