Town & Country (Philippines) - - OUT & ABOUT -

While stray­ing from its usual ex­hi­bi­tion style, the Lopez Mu­seum and Li­brary’s cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion, “Pauses of Pos­si­bil­ity” some­how re­mains faith­ful to its ground­ing in so­cial en­gage­ment and in ar­tic­u­lat­ing the na­tional nar­ra­tive. “Pauses” piv­ots on self-re­flec­tion and the si­lences found in pri­vate spa­ces; here, the per­sonal is put in the fore­ground and is taken as a spring­board for the po­lit­i­cal.

The quiet mo­ments free from out­side in­ter­fer­ence are all too of­ten as­so­ci­ated with the mun­dane and the sen­ti­men­tal. How­ever, they pro­vide the very ground­ing for our pub­lic selves. The po­lar­iza­tion cre­ated by the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate re­quires, per­haps more than ever, this step­ping back. At the junc­ture where rea­son seems to fail, where there is ease in bow­ing to the noise of un­founded opin­ions, we should heed the call for a par­tic­u­larly re­flec­tive kind of quiet.

From the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion, early works of fe­male artist Nena Saguil, a pioneering mod­ernist, is taken as start­ing point. Her life and per­sona di­vert from the norm of the past where women were ex­pected to re­main in the do­mes­tic sphere. Saguil’s in­sis­tence to pur­sue her art de­spite the ex­ter­nal and so­ci­etal pres­sures is em­blem­atic of this over­looked par­al­lel­ism of the per­sonal and the po­lit­i­cal. Her pref­er­ence to look in­ward, in turn, be­came a mir­ror­ing of the is­sues and hur­dles of the pub­lic space. The prac­tices of cel­e­brated con­tem­po­rary artists Ma­rina Cruz, Elaine Navas, Pam Yan Santos and Kara de Dios also tra­verse the modal­i­ties of mem­ory, in­tro­spec­tion, soli­tude, and wom­an­hood. What were ini­tially seen as merely di­aris­tic are, in re­al­ity, the con­tex­tual un­fold­ing of the artists’ sit­u­a­tions in life, with all its nu­ances and ob­sta­cles. On­go­ing un­til June 17, Ben­pres Build­ing, Ex­change Road cor­ner Mer­alco Av­enue, Or­ti­gas Cen­ter, Pasig; 631. 2417; lmm­ IRIS FER­RER

LADIES FIRSt Fon­tain­bleau (Pink Ab­strac­tion), by Nena Saguil (1954), and Big Heart, by Ma­rina Cruz (2015).

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