Onchangco carries out ‘Revenge of the Cute’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


People often expect contemporary art to be dark and shocking.


But BBC filmmaker Matthew Collings has argued in his documentary “Impressionism: Revenge of the Nice,” that the source of this sensibility could be traced to the 19th-century Impressionist practices of the likes of Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne.


They were avant-garde precisely because of their insistence that beauty be the starting point of any work of art.


Artist Carlo Ongchangco works along this idea in his new show at Galerie Stephanie, “Revenge of the Cute.”


“MY JOURNEY of Love and Music”

Not your normal exhibition, it takes the concepts and characters of Ongchangco’s narrative practice and re-imagines them through a plethora of different styles and media—painting, sculpture and video installations. And for this exhibit, Ongchangco has partnered with fashion house Mossimo to create one-of-a-kind clocks with acrylic paintings of his characters.


Although superficially described as “cute,” the paintings on closer inspection yield various layers.


Ongchangco uses aspects of magic realism to convey narratives in “one-shot” paintings. Populated by a hodgepodge of fairy-tale characters and pop-culture figures, the paintings are rendered in the artist’s characteristic animé style.


“Mechanic for Hire” shows Miffy, a popular character created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna in 1955, and Marvel superhero Iron Man trying to fix a wagon. The work is decidedly narrative but with the slight underpinning of magic realism in the unlikely encounter of these characters.


Similarly, “Green Latern” depicts the titular DC comic superhero reaching for the lantern that charges his power ring. In the background is Miffy at the counter of a candy store.


“HULK Ride”

Ongchangco explores other media and fuses them with own canvas works. “My Journey of Love and Music” combines painting and sculpture to depict the story of a dancer on an adventure to find herself.


Ongchangco also teams up with animator and former Team Manila designer John Roi Abcede in animating his characters and projecting them on a space on one of his paintings, effectively bringing the painting to life.



His worldview comes from his experiences after college. Having graduated with a degree in Interior Design from University of Santo Tomas, he became co-owner and creative director of White Box Studio Gallery from 2007 to 2010,


He is now creative director of Red Fish, an art apparel label known for its highly original graphic T-shirts.


“Revenge of the Cute” opens June 18 and runs until July at Gallerie Stephanie, Unit 1B Parc Plaza Bldg., 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Quezon City. Call 7091488; e-mail galeriestephanie@yahoo.com; visit www.galeriestephanie.com.

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