PHL Pavilion Event Showcasing Medalla Goes to Guggenheim and Giardini

August 13, 2015

Internationally renowned Filipino artist David Medalla will perform at the Philippine Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.


Medalla’s performance titled Pangarap sa Panglao (Dream in Panglao) will be done in collaboration with Adam Nankervis, and in conversation with the curator Patrick Flores. It will be held at the Philippine Pavilion in Palazzo Mora, Strada Nuova, Venice, Italy on August 20, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.


Medalla will also have collateral events at the Serra dei Giardini on August 18 and at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on August 22.


According to Flores, Medalla’s performance at the Philippine Pavilion is a revisit of his previous sorties in Venice, such as in 1964, when his sand sculpture was set up at the Villa Foscari in a nocturnal exhibition.


Flores explains the link between the Philippine Pavilion and Pangarap sa Panglao. 


“The Philippine Pavilion, titled Tie A String Around the World, rests on an argument on world-making and the formation of empires. From the vantage of Genghis Khan, the first film ever made on the conqueror directed by Manuel Conde and co-written and designed by Carlos Francisco, the Pavilion lays out its premise while placing it within an exceptional lineage. The film is key to the proposition of the Pavilion, affording it a long arc from early modernity to a contemporary global time in which the Philippines is in the midst of a dispute over parts of the West Philippine Sea, which is being claimed by China. Around the film, the installation of Jose Tence Ruiz and the multi-channel video of Manny Montelibano generate discourses on this current predicament. Medalla’s performance further inflects the argument of the Pavilion on the saga of empires and the resistance against them,” said Flores.


The performance is based on “telekinethetic dreams” and figuring in one of these dreams is the intriguing legend of the pirate Li Ma Hong, “who fled China at the end of the Ming Dynasty and came to the Philippines.” In Medalla’s words, Li Ma Hong was a kind of “hero (or more accurately an anti-hero)” of his boyhood.


The performance likewise alludes to the T’ang Dynasty artist Wu Tao-tzu, the 20th-century writer Lu Hsun, and the explorer-scholar Antonio Pigafetta of Vicenza, whose chronicle of the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan inspired the idea of space-time relativity.


Senator Loren Legarda, the visionary behind the Philippines’ return to the Venice Art Biennale after a 51-year absence said, “Medalla is a dynamic and inspiring icon in contemporary art. He is celebrated and globally renowned but remains Filipino through and through. He is known for engaging concepts which defy category. His performance at the Philippine Pavilion adds another dimension to our exhibition.”


Medalla’s performance is a collateral event of the Philippine Pavilion accredited by la Biennale di Venezia.


The Philippine Pavilion, titled Tie A String Around the World, is the only national pavilion that represents the Philippines at the 2015 Venice Art Biennale. Curated by Flores, it features the works of Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco (Genghis Khan), Manny Montelibano (A Dashed State), and Jose Tence Ruiz (Shoal).


The Philippines was invited to participate in the 56thInternational Art Exhibition by Mr. Paolo Baratta, President of la Biennale di Venezia, through a letter he sent to National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairperson Felipe de Leon, Jr., who is the Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion.


The Philippine government funded and fully supported the Philippine participation, which was made possible through the joint effort of the NCCA, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board.