Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / JUNE - Edited by Pierre A. Calasanz

Ayala Mu­seum mounts “Fer­nando Zó­bel. Con­tra­pun­tos” at the Venice Bi­en­nale; a look at the Cul­tural Cen­ter of the Philip­pines’ up­com­ing ex­pan­sion; Martha Atienza un­veils a new video in­stal­la­tion at Art Basel in Switzer­land; and more.

The last time the works of Span­ish-Filipino artist Fer­nando Zó­bel (1924-1984) were shown at the Venice Bi­en­nale, they were on dis­play at the Span­ish Pavil­ion, in 1962. Five and a half decades later, Zó­bel has posthu­mously re­ceived the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent the land of his birth, as the Ayala Foun­da­tion and the Ayala Mu­seum mount “Fer­nando Zó­bel. Con­tra­pun­tos” on the in­vi­ta­tion of La Bi­en­nale di Venezia’s or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee. The ex­hibit is cu­rated by Di­tas R. Sam­son, se­nior cu­ra­tor and head of re­search and pub­li­ca­tions of the Ayala Mu­seum, and Madrid-based artist Guillermo Paneque. “This ini­tia­tive is in keep­ing with Ayala Mu­seum’s long­stand­ing com­mit­ment to sus­tain in­ter­est and of­fer fresh per­spec­tives in view­ing and in­ter­pret­ing the artist’s works,” re­marked Mar­iles Gustilo, se­nior di­rec­tor of the Arts and Cul­ture Di­vi­sion of Ayala Foun­da­tion, as the show was an­nounced. The works se­lected for “Con­tra­pun­tos,” one of 22 shows tak­ing part in the “Col­lat­eral Events” por­tion of the Bi­en­nale, are drawn from the years be­tween 1957 to 1962, a pe­riod said to re­flect the de­vel­op­ment of Zó­bel’s sig­na­ture style, an amal­ga­ma­tion of the tech­niques and in­flu­ences from the West and the East. This is best demon­strated in his Sae­tas se­ries, named af­ter a Span­ish li­tur­gi­cal song, and the Serie Ne­gra, or Se­ries in Black. If you have ever won­dered how Zó­bel was able to achieve such fine, straight lines in the Sae­tas paint­ings, here’s the se­cret: he used a hy­po­der­mic sy­ringe filled with black ink, per­haps in­spired by his early univer­sity days at the Univer­sity of Santo To­mas, where he stud­ied medicine. (He later moved to Har­vard, study­ing lit­er­a­ture and history.) Zó­bel was also a great pa­tron of the arts, both in Manila and in Spain, cham­pi­oning the works of Filipino modernists Vi­cente Manansala, HR Ocampo, and Ar­turo Luz, and was in­stru­men­tal in the found­ing of the Ayala Mu­seum in Makati and the Museo del Arte Ab­stacto Es­pañol in Cuenca, Spain. On­go­ing un­til Novem­ber 26, Fon­daco Mar­cello, San Marco 3415, Calle del Traghetto o Ca’ Gar­zoni, Venice, Italy; bi­en­nale­zo­bel.ay­ala­mu­, la­bi­en­

thE FInE LInE From top: Saeta Blanca So­bre ocre, 1957; Icaro, 1962; un­ti­tled (white Sy­ringe piece), 1957; num­bre 344, 1960.

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