Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) and the University of the Philippines’ Jorge B. Vargas Museum (UPVM) recently announced, “Forces at Work,” a group exhibition envisioned by young, emerging curators from the Philippines and Japan. This group exhibition is presented as part of the Japan Foundation’s Run & Learn: New Curatorial Constellations project with the next generation of curators from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.
“Forces at Work” comprises curatorial projects from participants of the Curatorial Development Program, initiated by UPVM and JFM biennially since 2009. This year’s program included curatorial workshops by Patrick Flores of the Vargas Museum and Mami Kataoka of the Mori Art Museum. Aimed at developing and enhancing contemporary art curation in Asia, the program received proposals from the Philippines and abroad. From an impressive pool of applicants curators Con Cabrera, Merv Espina, Ricky Francisco, and Mayumi Hirano were selected.
Together with their counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, these four curators were invited to a short-term residency in Japan, visiting cultural institutions, museums, galleries, and independent artist run spaces in Yokohama, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Tokyo. With guidance from Kataoka, Yukie Kamiya of the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, and Yasuko Furuichi of the Japan Foundation, the curators further developed their proposals before returning to their respective countries to prepare for their exhibits.
With “Forces at Work,” the curators’ projects address the myriad forces shaping social life: Cabrera traces oppression and protest as substructure for new works; Espina explores the art market as site of political economies; Francisco focuses on catastrophe and the poetic responses to it; Hirano delves into the process of negotiation between local beliefs and scientific knowledge. As a whole, the exhibit explores the tensions between these competing forces; formidable and unrelenting, they form not only the foundations of society but also our own realities.
The Forces at Work exhibition will run until Jan. 28 while scheduled events includes: Conditions report of Working Artists Group’s Collections Management Service, Vargas Museum basement (Jan. 16, 2 p.m.); Press Conference #2: Selling the Right to Name a Pile of Garbage, Vargas Museum (Jan. 21, 3 p.m.); “WHITE NOISE” artist talk with Vermont Coronel II, Bru Sim and Derek Tumala, Vargas Museum (Jan. 22, 2 p.m.); Public evaluation of Working Artists Group’s Collections Management Service, Vargas Museum basement (Jan. 23, 2 p.m.); Artist talk and film screening by Michelle Hollanes Lua, Jake Vamenta and Boyet de Mesa on the film Remembering Sendong (a film shown in the 2012 Singapore Biennale) and the multi-site/multi-city performance Kalig-on in solidarity with those affected by Yolanda, Vargas Museum (Jan. 28, 2:30 p.m.).