Raymundo Albano: Texts

This anthology introduces the writing and the textual work, alongside the poetry and curatorial and graphic design, of the artist-curator Raymundo Albano. It addresses the concerns of Albano in the intersecting fields of the creative, the critical, the cultural, and the curatorial. It is to these that Albano speaks: the discourse and practice of art making and instilling it with presence in the world of ideas, exhibitions, and the particularities of lived life. This is the ecology of the writing, its province.

In Albano’s agenda, roots, basics, beginnings (taken from an eponymous exhibition in 1977) matter, and primarily because they constitute the material through which process or method takes place. Whatever may be inferred or alluded to or intuited in the long duration of the creative struggle emerges from lineage, technology, and origin. Whether critique comes in to complicate or interactions intervene, the “intelligence” of the material cannot be severed from the “integrity” of the lifeworld from which it is generated and through which such lifeworld is reinvested. Some would call this “context,” others would say it is “impulse” or “urge.” Whatever it is that may be brought to our attentiveness as that which excites what we broadly reference as art, it should stir up a world that is, in the imagination of Albano, “suddenly turning visible,” a condition quite akin to Michel Foucault’s “sudden vicinity of things.”

Ayco, Bose, Imao, Junyee

The Knowledge Production and Circulation component of PCAN identifies research themes and topics pertinent to the vision of the proposed network. For its pilot research project, it undertakes archival research on Philippine artists Jess Ayco (1916-1982), Santiago Bose (1949-2002), Abdulmari Imao (1936-2014), and Junyee (Luis Yee Jr) (born 1942). Born or based in the regions of Bacolod, Baguio, Jolo, and Los Baños, the artists represent the disparate conditions and production in Philippine modern and contemporary art. Their artistic practices have since been translated beyond province and nation, decentering the national and global privileges of Manila and the west, and altogether broadening the scope of locality.

The pilot research project offers timelines and historiographies of the aforementioned artists based on annotated bibliographies of extensive compilations of primary sources and a meta-critique of historical surveys. In mapping and retracing their places in the master narrative of Philippine art, the project reflects on the constructed notions of “region” and the “contemporary” and the former’s presence in the latter.

Traversals/Trajectories: Expansive Localities

This is an exhibition to launch the Philippine Contemporary Art Network. It explores ideas of the region and the different “practices of placeness” in Philippine contemporary art by tracing numerous strains of place making in the works of artists from different localities across the Philippines. Art by emerging artists are presented alongside more settled ones, allowing one generation to speak to another by way of art. The exhibition examines negotiations of the global by gathering various practices of making and claiming place through contemporary art. It subsequently attempts to formulate ideas of the contemporary by way of a pliant and porous local, giving form to an attitude sharply described as a “restless worldliness.” Collateral activities are organized with the exhibition, including a discussion platform to examine impulses underlying the curatorial —those that frame and activate localities in their assertion of claims to place against an overarching globality.

An Ecological, The Obligatory

Within the frame of Public Engagement and Artistic Formation, this initiation outlines the ground for accumulating and reviewing resources (institutions/ infrastructures) and references (actors/agents) for the research direction of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network. It sets four terms into motion: the public/s, engagement, the artistic, and formation. The method
of temporarily collapsing the clusters of “public engagement” and “artistic formation” aims to design pathways for reading the multiple gaps and intersections across practices of access, exchange, custodianship, and reception in the Philippine cultural sector.

It is loosely divided into four segments: Scenes of Access, Patterns of Exchange, Modes of Custodianship, and Fields of Reception. These rubrics are generative intermediaries in studying attachments and affiliations in the contexts of artistic production, and in the histories of institutions and institution building.

Initially, it elects three ecologies of practices: Los Baños through the Philippine High School for the Arts and the International Rice Research Institute; Siliman University as an interface to liberal (arts) education in Southern Philippines; Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art at Mindanao State University through the journal archives of the Institute of Islamic Studies at University of the Philippines, Diliman.