Explore these art exhibits around Metro Manila that explore a range of concepts that will make you stop, look, and think
In this month of September, there is an array of art for every kind of taste and community:
You can nosedive into the new Club Kino exhibit space, a gallery-slash-speakeasy-slash-cinematheque that channels the spirit of punk. Choose to get lost in the surreal worlds of both drawing and photographic mediums in the respective shows of Bjorn Calleja and Cenon at Mav. Or be privy to women-empowered presentations by Club Zonta and Alliance Française. Go deeper with the abstract aspects of the psyche with Rock Drilon, or confront existential questions with cyanotype prints by Eunice Sanchez.
If there is something in common among all these presentations, it is that the gallery scene this month is thriving with all manner of exhibitions that will stop you in your tracks.
1. Inaugural Group Exhibition, In the Shadows of This New World, curated by James Luigi Tana at Club Kino
A new gallery just opened along Chino Roces and it’s quickening the pulse of art spaces along the avenue. Last September 9, the gallery-slash-speakeasy and cinema space opened late into the evening with DJ sets and a live reading by Erwin Romulo.
The first impression the new gallery gives is a sense of “punk,” which makes sense with Tana’s curation of the inaugural show that takes after textual prompts from a London-based punk newsletter Alternative Strategies. Tana writes, “Punk in this context is more than just a cultural phenomenon— it is resistance in pure enjoyment, power in provocation, non-conformity in being atypical.”
The alternative space KINO, in collaboration with 1F_projects, provides a relaxed and inclusive environment for individuals and communities who share a passion for both art and music, aligning with the creative vision of owners Derek Tumala and Fred Sandoval.
Participating artists include Auspicious Family, Big Gat Gang, Celine Lee, Corinne de San Jose, Cos Zicarelli, Derek Tumala, Eric Bico, Erwin Romulo, Gary-Ross Pastrana, Gio Panlilio, Idan Cruz, Jake Versoza, Jan Pineda, Jason Moss, Kiko Escora, Mano Gonzales, Micaela Benedicto, Miguel Lorenzo Uy, MM Yu, Major Chie, Nice Buenaventura, Rhaz Oriente, Vermont Coronel Jr., Zeus Bascon.
In The Shadows of This New World is on view from September 9 to November 4, 2023. Located at 1E La Fuerza Plaza Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
2. Bjorn Calleja, The Triumph of Ignorance, curated by Norman Crisologo at Artinformal Makati
Entering the exhibit, the wall text reads “A Bulge of Misbehavior Exploding on the Throbbing Masses.” Calleja stands beside it. “This is my favorite part of the show,” he says with a grin.
While Calleja is known for his vibrant, graffiti-like paintings of misshapen, humanoid figures, for this show he undertakes a new project: Drawing. But it’s not just simple sketches, it’s charcoal, pastels, and colored pencils on a monumental scale. Straight and curving lines heave together to form masses that play with biology in twisted, somewhat vulnerable ways. Calleja dares to put together parts of figures like a puzzle, while his latest chosen medium to draw in layers leaves little room to start over.
The Triumph of Ignorance is on view at Artinformal Makati from August 31 to September 28, 2023. Located at C1 Karrivin Plaza Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.
3. Eunice Sanchez, sa ilog nagtatagpo at West Gallery
Cyanotypes are one of the oldest forms of photographic printing. The prints appear in distinct cyan-blue shades after exposure to ultraviolet light. Eunice Sanchez is one such emerging local artist known for her practice of cyanotype works, which she has been cultivating in recent years.
In this latest exhibition, Sanchez creates after a mortuary river ritual customary to her province in La Union. Despite the persistence of Christian funerary masses, her family tradition continues: The ritual involves shedding clothes at a point of water where the freshwater meets the sea. The works question this process of passing on, as she permutes elements of the water and nature into small and large cyanotype prints. Some of which lay in Petri dishes on a pedestal akin to a coffin. Mounted on the wall are poignant stop-motion images of a specter-like dream on video, alongside physical prints.
Sanchez explores the grand question of how one says goodbye to the dearly departed, as well as the departed self. She ultimately delves deeper to open up more questions such as — What do we owe to each other’s memories? What right do we have to forget?
sa ilog nagtatagpo is on view at West Gallery from September 14 to October 14, 2023. Located at 1104 West Ave, Quezon City.
4. Group Exhibition, Un monde éthéré vu par les femmes’ (An Ethereal World From Women’s Eyes) at Alliance Française de Manille by DF Art Agency
A woman’s gaze and a woman’s situation are distinct in the world. And while often it has been a situation wrought by discrimination, without a doubt, there have been women in history who have left legacies in the worlds of art, science, business, and technology.
This latest exhibition gives a platform to the women at present. The collaborative exhibition of DF Art Agency and Alliance française translates into art how women leave an “ethereal permanence… clothed in creativity, boldness, logic, innovative spirit” (Exhibition notes of Kim Escalona). The art made by women for women examines the vibrancy of the female spirit through the lens of rising Filipina contemporary artists. Their art styles and narratives blend in unified curation. Exhibiting artists include Jill Arteche, Anna Bautista, Kim Escalona, Tita Halaman, and Kara Pangilinan.
Un monde éthéré vu par les femmes’ (An Ethereal World From Women’s Eyes) at Alliance Française de Manille is on view from September 14 to October 7, 2023. Located at 209 Nicanor Garcia, II, Makati City.
5. Group Exhibition by Zonta International (District 17), Her Story in Color curated by Danilo Rayos del Sol at Galerie du Soleil and Hyatt Manila
American artist Judy Chicago once said, “A feminist artist is not just a woman with a paintbrush.” Her Story in Color: Celebrating diversity & creativity of women presents a powerful show exhibiting women, by women. The narratives touched on move through ideas of strength, resilience and empowerment.
Established artists include the master painter Lydia Velasco, flow artist Jo Uygonco, renowned teacher Eileen Bondoc-Escueta, sculptor Marge Organo, and groups such as the Taguig Artist Group, Floral Artists of Manila, Lambana Women Artists of Angona. The show features a diverse range of work, with multiple contributors, all with a single aim: “to build a better world for women and girls” to pursue their dreams and positively impact their own communities. Zonta, an organization well-known for their women’s rights projects, is mounting the exhibition with fundraising of all proceeds to the foundation’s programs for education and empowerment.
Her Story in Color: Celebrating diversity & creativity of women is on view at Galerie du Soleil from September 9 to 25, 2023. Located at 9d Bagong Calzada Pateros, Metro Manila. The exhibit will continue at the Grand Hyatt Manila from September 26 to October 1, 2023. Located at 8th Avenue Corner 35th St., Taguig.
6. Rock Drilon, Visayan Rhapsodies 2 at Finale Art File
Since moving back to Iloilo, Visayas native Rock Drilon has been nourishing the grassroots community of art, culture, and advocacy. His latest exhibition at Finale Art File continues from a past exhibit done in 2018.
With two older works and multiple new large-scale works, the art world veteran transmutes the vibrant energy of his local city with paintings in the style of “automatism” – an artistic technique with elements of psychoanalysis and psychiatric art. The undulating lines layer in raw yet organized patterns that touch on the human psyche, capturing his decades of artistic excellency combined with his current life as an artist.
Visayan Rhapsodies 2 is on view at Finale Art File from September 5 to 23, 2023. Located at La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Chino Roces Ave, Makati City
7. Cenon at Mav, REJUV ME at Pintô Art Museum
Creative duo Cenon Norial III and Mav Bernando are well-known in the editorial world for their distinct executions in fashion photography. Their renown has also extended to the art world with stunning, surrealistic still-life photos at major presentations such as at Art Fair Philippines.
Meanwhile, these latest works continue the duo’s practice of pushing the photographic medium to the limit. Their creative talents merge together in a new suite of photos in REJUV ME, touching on the “contemporary obsession with rejuvenation” (Carlomar Arcangel Daoana). The models collide with bubble-like balloons on sloping flesh while maintaining the artists’ unique sense of crispness, elegance, and experimentation. Through this presentation, Cenon at Mav explore the balance between the pursuit of flawlessness and actual self-care.
REJUV ME is on view at Pintô Art Museum from September 10 to 30, 2023. Located at 1 Sierra Madre Street Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo City.
8. Kobusher, Plus One at The Grey Space
After being online for three years, The Grey Space has finally opened its physical gallery—and it is impressive. The open floor layout features industrial columns in the space. While metal bars stand in place of white walls to hang the artwork.
Apart from the 11-man group exhibition Variance, the solo presentation Plus One features the work of enigmatic artist Kobusher. After a long career as a creative director, Kobusher continues to cultivate his practice in painting. The artist re-works distinct figures in popular culture to literally twist the visual narrative into new images.
Plus One shows pairs of recognizable figures, now morphed, from Fred Flinstone and Barney to Mario and Luigi, Rick and Morty, and more.
Plus One is on view from September 16 to October 4, 2023. Located at 331 P. Guevarra St, San Juan.