Lopez Museum changes status to “It’s Complicated”

Ever had an annoying ex who couldn’t take a hint and would insist on dragging you to Sunday “family” dinners? (Sama ka naman) Or that co-worker who was nice enough, but made you strangely uncomfortable? Life is full of the strange, and sometimes twisted, relationships we get into with other people, each one unique and at times utterly confusing.

In a fitting nod to the times, The Lopez Museum and Library, in partnership with Tin-aw Art Gallery, launches It’s Complicated, the institution’s first exhibit for the year. Together with guest artists Mike Adrao, Leslie de Chavez, and Ea Torrado, the museum invites you to explore one of the most psychotic…er… complex relationships of all, the one between one-time colonizer and the people of the ex-colony.

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You really want to see this, trust me.


Aptly named after the social media catchphrase, It’s Complicated juxtaposes classic pieces done by works by Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Juvenal Sanso, Bencab, Ang Kiukok, and Jerry Elizalde Navarro with newer pieces commissioned from Adrao, de Chavez, and Torrado. The clever selection and placement of the displays tickles your sense of irony, and can leave you either chuckling or bitter – your choice.

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The artist and his art, another intricate relationship. There’s just tons of them on display in these halls.

In a series of installations of mixed media, Leslie de Chavez turns your attention to the concept of colonization, not just within the context of our history, but as an ongoing process. Anyone reading this blog on an iPad while sipping on a Starbucks latte – you know what I’m talking about. Handling the sensitive topic with cutting wit and a dash of humor, de Chavez creates a critical lens through which viewers are startled into awareness and realization.

One of my favorite works of de Chavez is a series of machine-embroidered panels that transcribes Jose Rizal’s poem, Sa Aking Mga Kababata, into jejemon. HA! As in hahahaha! (or, rather, jejejeje)

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Lingual degeneration or evolution?

The jejemon panels are in the same room where everything else is old – literally hundreds of years old. A book of prayers in Alibata caught my interest, as well as one of the earliest cartographic records of the Philippines EVAR MADE. So, technically, you’re in a room where you understand absolutely NOTHING, and yet you’re still wowed.

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I love love LOVE this old prayer book in Alibata. I bet it smells like the wisdom of the ancients.

Choreographer and dancer Ea Torrado drives home a powerfully feminist point in her three-channel video installation depicting one of the most iconic female fictional characters in Philippine literature, Jose Rizal’s Sisa. She translates Sisa’s search for her missing children as a metaphor of post-colonial identity, linking it to the oftentimes hopeless search for the desaparecidos and victims of extrajudicial killings that litter the Philippines’ political history.

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Photo not mine! The lithe and lovely Ea Torrado modernizes Sisa’s story and makes you wonder about what should qualify as crazy these days.

Her gripping rendition is grounded in the concepts of modernity and progress, and is presented tete-a-tete with one of the museum’s most prized pieces, the iconic España y Filipinas by Juan Luna. Both works of art talk of moving forward, but the former begs to ask – at what cost?

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Alone time in Lopez Museum?

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Yes, he did that all by hand. How blown is your mind right now?

One of the most mind-boggling works of art I have had the pleasure to see personally is Mike Adrao’s collection of framed charcoal on paper pieces. Titled “Colony”, these larger-than-life, delicately drawn columns seem to writhe and morph before your eyes, depicting transformation, change, and evolution. The work not only represents the various forms of colonization our country has undergone, but also reference the interplay of living culture and never-ending adaptation.

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Here the artist poses with one of my favorite works, and one that speaks to me most deeply as a Wiccan living in a primarily Catholic country.

Take the time to drop by the museum and check it out. You might also want to look into the various events, artist talks and workshops happening all throughout the duration of the exhibit, including It’s Complicated: Relationships in the Social Media Age (June 28, 2-4pm; PhP120) and It’s Complicated, the Concert (May 31, 2-4pm; PhP300).

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This was fun, as is all things with giant bugs and Michael Jackson are.

Complicated is curated by Ricky Francisco and Ethel Villafranca. It will run from February 21 to August 2, 2014. It is presented with support from Tin-aw Art Gallery. For more information, call Tina at 6312417 or email lmmpasig@gmail.com

Lopez Museum and Library is located at the G/F Benpres Bldg., Meralco cor. Exchange Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Museum hours are 8-5pm Mondays through Saturdays except Sundays and holidays.

Tickets are PhP100 for adults, PhP60 for elementary school children with valid IDs, and PhP80 for high school and college students with a valid ID as well as for senior citizens.

Like it on Facebook and then follow @buhaykuneho on Twitter for updates and reminders on museum events!

Like it on Facebook and then follow @buhaykuneho on Twitter for updates and reminders on museum events!

I just had to put this in.  Love watching passionate people talk with each other, even though I'm not a part of the conversation.

I just had to put this in. Love watching passionate people talk with each other, even though I’m not a part of the conversation.

See it.  Because everything gets to be complicated at one time or another, and because art is soul food, and because you love, love, love your country.

See it. Because everything gets to be complicated at one time or another, and because art is soul food, and because you love, love, love your country.

Spread the word!

    posted on by Little Bunny posted in What's hot and happening

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