2 May – 29 June 2017
The practice of Buen Calubayan (b. 1980, Philippines) interweaves politics, religion, history, and identity combining the autobiographical with the art historical in a continuous process of re-contextualization. In his works, the historical influence of Western canons on Filipino art and his own personal struggle to find validation as an artist often merge with broader reflections on the greater state of affairs of his country and the problematic writing of its socio-cultural histories. His most recent solo shows include Biowork at Ateneo Art Gallery, Quezon City, Philippines (2015) and Idiot Knows No Country, La Trobe University Visual Arts Center, Bendigo, Australia (2014). He has presented his paintings, performances, sculptures, and conceptual works in international group exhibitions at the Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea and at Kunstvlaai: Festival of Independents, Amsterdam, Netherlands, amongst others. He received the 2013 Ateneo Art Awards for the project Spoliarium which reinterpreted an iconic painting by Filipino master Juan Luna and was awarded the 13 Artists Award by the Cultural Centre of the Philippines in 2009.
Illustrating a new way of seeing, Buen Calubayan’s Instructions on Viewing the Landscape is an long-term exercise in seeing the bigger picture, literally and figuratively, which subtly challenges notions of national identity and colonialism. Articulated through a complex set of rules, this conceptual work is an investigative device aimed to unpack the history of late 19th century Filipino art – a period of significant political changes propelled by the revolutions against the Spanish rule. In re-examining and reviewing the landscapes of celebrated painters Juan Luna (1857 – 1899) and Félix Resurrección Hidalgo (1855 – 1913), the artist locates their vanishing points and brings to the fore unexpected tensions between the viewer and the artwork. Over the course of his residency, Calubayan will extend the scope of the project in order to pinpoint the metaphorical vanishing points in Singapore’s landscape, locating their historical, economic, and religious coordinates.
Buen Calubayan’s Instructions on Viewing the Landscape formulates a method of understanding the world and negotiating our position in it. It takes the form of a diagram and a set of instructions that allow us to unpack the patterns of representation and the processes of perception. In his lecture, Calubayan will employ the rules of perspective in order to locate the vanishing point in several 19th century artworks related to the representation of the Philippines to foreground “the bigger picture” and locate our current position within an expanded landscape. Framing techniques and temporal and spatial coordinates are discussed as a way to organize and archive nature and history.