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The Spectre of Comparison Debuts in Manila After Run in 2017 Venice Art Biennale

May 24, 2019

Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday led the opening of the homecoming exhibition of The Spectre of Comparison at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) after its successful run as the Philippine Pavilion exhibition at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.

The Spectre of Comparison, curated by MCAD Director Joselina “Yeyey” Cruz, features the works of Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo. The exhibition looks at how the artists see the events of the Philippines and their adopted countries through an inverted telescope, comparing it to the experience of Jose Rizal’s protagonist in Noli Me Tangere, Crisostomo Ibarra, who experienced a double vision when he gazed out at the botanical gardens of Manila.

Aside from the works that were part of the Philippine Pavilion—Maestro’s No Pain Like This BodyThese Hands, and Meronmeron; and Ocampo’s Twelfth Station and Tortas Imperiales—the artists included new works for the homecoming exhibition. From the original 14 benches of Meronmeron, Maestro included additional benches for this exhibit and a sound installation, An Unconventional Lullaby; while Ocampo included Libre and Why I Hate Europeans.

“We are proud to welcome home The Spectre of Comparison, the exhibit that represented the Philippines in its participation at the Venice Art Biennale in 2017,” said Legarda, visionary and lead advocate behind the Philippines’ participation in the Venice Biennale.

Legarda adds, “This exhibition questions the processes with which our identity as a nation has been formed, our curious condition as an archipelago of varied languages and ethnicities brought together by this modern construct; that these processes occurred in the context of hundreds of years of colonialism and occupation is not insignificant. The Spectre of Comparison ensures it is impossible for us to comprehend who we are without the painful hauntings of our history.”

The Spectre of Comparison homecoming exhibition is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, in partnership with MCAD.

It is open to the public from May 23 to July 20, 2019 at the MCAD, Benilde School of Design and Arts (SDA) Campus, Dominga Street, Malate, Manila.