curated by Manuel Ocampo

October 22, 2010 – November 21, 2010

Freies Museum, Berlin, Germany

Bastards of Misrepresentation: Doing Time on Filipino Time is a group show dealing with issues about aesthetic autonomy, social critique and the philosophical politics of expression, variant material economies and the alternate conditions of authenticity, and information distribution through shared affinities.  The show is about the cultural scene happening in the Philippines yet is not a definitive show about Philippine art. The show is not without irony aptly titled “Bastards of Misrepresentation” as the Philippines is a country with a hybrid culture; embodying the complexity of its heritage and colonial history while it’s political identity reflects the pervasive “misrepresentation” of its’ people.

The artists chosen represent the cutting edge of Filipino art in the last five years. Five of the artists, Gerardo Tan, Poklong Anading, Jayson Oliveria, Lena Cobangbang, and MM Yu have been Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 artists awards recipients. Anading, Oliveria and Yu have won Ateneo Art Awards and 7 of the 14 artists have been Ateneo Art Awards nominees.  Gaston Damag, Maria Cruz and David Griggs have made their names abroad in Europe and Australia. Romeo Lee and Pow Martinez have been highly visible as performers in the underground art and music scene in the country.

Seven artists will be doing site-specific works in the context of the city of Berlin to initiate a dialogue between the artists and the city creating visual ties inherent in both cities and engaging the audience in this cultural exchange. Poklong Anading will continue his “Anonymity” series using the immigrant community of the city and the city itself as a backdrop. Romeo Lee, the original Filipino Punk Rocker, will paint portraits of Berlin Punks on the walls of the Freies Museum. Maria Cruz, will make an installation of a Sari-Sari Store (A sari-sari store is a convenience store found in the Philippines. The word sari-sari is Tagalog meaning “variety”. Such stores form an important economic and social location in a Filipino community, much like the “Imbiss” stand ubiquitously found in Berlin) based on Bauhaus principles of form follows function. Gaston Damag will comment on the ethnic multi-culturality of Berlin. Pow Martinez will create cacophonic sound installation recording the Berlin Riots with that of the People Power revolution in the 80’s. David Griggs will install a large painted billboard that one sees in Manila everywhere and Bea Camacho will do a performance relating to the idea of separation and belonging, reflecting the universal sentiments of immigrants like herself.

The Freies Museum in Berlin has been chosen as the site for this exhibition because the Freies is a non-profit space actively taking into account the thriving art community and artists. The Freies is involved in redefining the museum’s civic role.  By providing services like Lawyers for the Arts which establish a bridge between the arts and the legal communities so that: artists and art groups may gain greater competence in handling legal and business aspects of their creative activities; the legal profession may become more aware of and involved in issues affecting artists and the arts community and, the law may become more responsive to the needs and interests of the arts community. The Freies is redefining the role of the museum by giving more importance to the artist.

Berlin has always been a liberal city, embracing new art movements and young talent. During the Cold War, West Berlin evolved as a laboratory for art, music, and literature. At the same time, like the Philippines during the Marcos era, the tough Socialist regime in East Berlin pushed artists underground where they created important political art. More than 400 galleries showcase works by artists who seem to account for half the entries of world-class art shows such as the Documenta in Kassel or the Biennale in Venice. The exhibition is scheduled to coincide with two of the most important art fairs in the city namely, the Art Forum Berlin, and Berlin Liste. It is during this time that the museums, galleries and private cultural institutions in Berlin present a multifaceted program of high-quality exhibitions highlighting the importance of this German city as a place that defines contemporary art as it is happening.

This exhibition will provide important opportunities for the artist involved by illustrating the diversity of practices currently being explored by the Filippino avant-garde. The exhibition will highlight the significant contribution this group of artist is currently making to the history of art in the Philippines, while embracing a new era of outward looking ambitious artists who are working hard to put Filipino creative communities on the world stage.