PH Pavillion officially opens in Venice Art BiennaleMay 12, 2015
MANILA, May 12 — Art and politics merge as the Philippine Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia officially opened today at the Palazzo Mora in the northern Italian city of Venice.
Entitled “Tie a String Around the World”, the Philippine Pavilion curated by Dr. Patrick D. Flores, takes Manuel Conde and Carlos Francisco’s film “Genghis Khan” as a starting point and curatorial reference for two contemporary projects by Jose Tence Ruiz and Manny Montelibano.
Conde’s “Genghis Khan” was a germinal Philippine film made in 1950 in Manila and Angono that was screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Film Festival in 1952. It was co-written and designed by Francisco.
At a tangent to film, the work of Jose Tence Ruiz, “Shoal”, is a spectral ship of metal and velvet evocative of a vintage vessel that the Philippines has run aground on the reef in 1999 and has since been a military garrison that hosts a small detachment of Filipino troops on the West Philippine Sea, the disputed part of the South China Sea.
For his part, Manny Montelibano presents the multi-channel video piece, A Dashed State, which is also a comment on the geopolitics of the West Phillippine Sea. It dwells on the atmosphere of a lush locale, particularly the sound of epics and radio frequencies that crisscross the expanse, and the vignettes of seemingly uneventful life ways of the islands.
A vernissage was held to officially open and preview the exhibition. In attendance were Philippine Senator Loren Legarda, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairman Felipe de Leon who is also the Commissioner of the Pavilion, and a high level delegation from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as well as distinguished guests from the world of Venetian politics and art scene.
It is only through the combined efforts of the NCCA, the DFA and the office of Senator Legarda that allowed the Philippines’ participation this year after an absence of 51 years. The last time the Philippines participated at the Venice Biennale was in 1964.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Evan Garcia represented the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario during the event. Philippine Ambassadors in Europe led by Philippine Ambassador to Italy Domingo Nolasco, were also on hand to lend support to the Philippine participation at the Venice Biennale.
In his message read by Undersecretary Garcia, the Foreign Affairs Secretary said that the Philippines is proud of the diversity and multifaceted aspects of its arts and culture, and looks forward to sharing with the international audience the emergence of the country as an important and rich cultural force.
Commissioner de Leon emphasized the importance of being represented in this prestigious contemporary art exhibition saying that the Philippines now has a voice in the international cultural and artistic platform.
Senator Legarda who advocated the Philippines’ return to the Biennale, committed the country’s regular participation to the Biennale in order to generate more international appreciation for the country’s rich cultural heritage and diverse art scene.
She also announced that UK-based a-n News has declared the Philippine Pavilion as one of the top-10 must-see national pavilions at the Venice Biennale.
Curators, artists, directors of contemporary art spaces, Venice officials, Philippine media and European press attended the vernissage of the Philippine Pavilion.
The 56th Venice Art Biennale opened to the public on May 09 and will run until November 22. (DFA)