PHL Successfully Concludes Participation in 2017 Venice Biennale

November 25, 2017

The Philippines has successfully completed its third consecutive participation in the Venice Biennale as it concludes The Spectre of Comparison, the Philippine Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.

The 2017 Philippine Pavilion, curated by Joselina Cruz and featuring the works of Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo, completed a six-month run at the Artiglierie of the Arsenale—one of the main exhibition spaces of the Venice Biennale.

Senator Loren Legarda, the visionary and driving force behind the Philippines’ successful return to the Venice Biennale after 51 years of absence, congratulated the curator and artists of the 2017 Philippine Pavilion.

“We are thankful for yet another successful participation in the Venice Biennale. This is a proud moment for us because we have mounted a Philippine Pavilion in the Arsenale. This only proves what we Filipinos are capable of and we will continue to prove this in our succeeding pavilions. As we close another milestone in our country’s history of contemporary art, I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who has made this possible, especially to our curator, Joselina Cruz, and our artists, Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo,” Legarda said.

As much as 7,000 visitors per day have visited the Philippine Pavilion since it opened last May 13, 2017.

The finissage or closing ceremony will be held on November 26, 2017 at the Fava Church in Castello where the Filipino community in Venice will gather.

The Senator thanked the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee and the agencies involved—the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and its chairperson, National Artist Virgilio Almario, who is also the Philippine Pavilion Commissioner, and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). She also thanked the Department of Tourism (DOT) for its support.

Legarda also said that The Spectre of Comparison will have a homecoming exhibition. In 2016, Tie A String Around The World, the Philippine Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Art Biennale, had its homecoming exhibition at the Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines; while Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City, the Philippine Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, is currently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila until December 29, 2017.

Meanwhile, Legarda ensured that the country will continue to participate in the next exhibitions of the Venice Biennale.

“We hope to be in the Venice Biennale for as long as it is here. Next year, we will participate in the Architecture Biennale and while we are preparing for that, we will also launch the open call for curatorial proposals for the 2019 Art Biennale. Moreover, to ensure continuity, we hope to enact a law institutionalizing the Philippine participation in the international exhibitions of the Venice Biennale,” she said.

For the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Philippine Pavilion will feature Edson Cabalfin’s curatorial concept, The City Who Had Two Navels.

“As we continue to participate in the Venice Biennale, we hope to enlighten more Filipinos on the importance of this endeavor. Art is important in fostering patriotism and nationalism. It is an enabler of development. Through our participation in the Venice Biennale, we hope that more Filipino curators and artists will be encouraged not only in exhibiting their craft but also in promoting the relevance of arts in nation building,” Legarda concluded.