WASAK! Reloaded is a group exhibition exploring the Filipino contemporary art landscape and is accompanied by a major hard copy publication WASAK! Filipino Art Today published by European publisher DISTANZ Verlag. The show is a continuation of the well-received group exhibition presented in Berlin in 2015, and will travel to Gazelli Art House in London in 2017.
Exhibiting artists include: Zean Cabangis, Buen Calubayan, Louie Cordero, Jigger Cruz, Marina Cruz, Kawayan De Guia, Alfredo Esquillo, Ian Fabro, Nona Garcia, Robert Langenegger, Jason Montinola, Pow Martinez, Manuel Ocampo, Norberto Roldan, Kaloy Sanchez, Rodel Tapaya and Ronald Ventura.
The underlying motivation of WASAK! and its accompanying publication is to shed light on the fascinating contemporary art currently being produced in the Philippines. By offering an overview of Filipino contemporary art, WASAK! aims to provide an emblematic contextual compendium. Uniting a selection of leading protagonists across generational lines, genres, and media, the exhibition presents snapshots of current artistic practices from the Philippines.
The 17 participating artists have witnessed the social and political upheaval of Philippines’ recent history. Most of these artists spent their maturation grappling with local events that have transpired such as: natural disasters like earthquakes and floods; political unrest in the form of coup d’état and calls to presidential impeachments; political ineptitude in the form of corruption and briberies; and longstanding bouts with poverty and urban overpopulation. This selection of artists have nurtured, or at least, directed their ideas into the reality that is Manila, the nation’s capital, from where most of the country’s bizarre undulations spring.
Although much of the artists´ work is inspired by their own localities, these artists continue to seek their place among the rest of the world. Through the jumble and mess of their own ground zero—which is a country of broken histories, a nation of lush influences, and a people constantly having to live despite of something—their art continued to become, individually, more diverse and yet collectively, as a single exploded view. ‘Wasak’ is a Filipino word that means “in ruins.” When used in the vernacular, it means “wrecked,” or as a more encouraging interjection—it can also mean “going for broke.” It is a term that signals a hazard.
In this field of scattered landscapes, of broken narratives and loose continuity, what then could be ascribed as Philippine Art? The artists represented in WASAK! have come from the different potholes this gap has created, which explains the varying degrees how their work tries to explain not only a locality, but their own place in art history.
The 17 artists covered in WASAK! provide us with an opportunity to experience the different directions they have wandered into a chance to view a small course of history that is finding its way into the arts.
- Norberto Roldan, "Hex", 2015. Courtesy of the artist and ARNDT Singapore
- Ronald Ventura, Manstar, 2013-2015. Courtesy of the artist and ARNDT Singapore