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Monday, September 7, 2009

RINGO BUNOAN : 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SHORT-LISTED


RINGO BUNOAN- “Archiving Roberto Chabet” at Vargas Museum Basement

Bunoan’s focus on the art and accomplishments of artist and mentor Roberto Chabet breaks through the methods and issues of archiving, and raises the profile of the ‘artist/archivist.’ The project locates the history of Philippine conceptual art within the immense volumes of Chabet’s work, represented in this exhibit within pages of a text document and the endless whir of the scanner that translated all these into digitized data. This is the body of evidence, actualized but not really understandable, legible to specialists and scholars at most.

The larger part of the installation informs the sight. These are the re-constructions of early Chabet works that have escaped documentation— installations lost, installations unrealized, with Bunoan as the medium and executor of these realizations. But access is denied. The door is locked and the only view is through the glass, recalling Chabet’s tactic of locking the gallery door, and raising as well the futility of achieving intimation. It stresses the defeat of an absolute knowing.

The artist as archivist similarly faces irreconcilable ambiguities. For one, Bunoan challenges our notion of what an archivist is: a digger of cold hard facts, working only with what is concrete and evident. By applying the artist to the gaps of what is ‘known,’ does she sacrifice the purity of data to bring the art to light, to place it back into our grasp and consciousness? The veracity of ‘origin’ also figures here. Having blurred the lines between reproduction and homage, how does she open the access to a critical assessment of the works? To these queries, art remains answerable, but more so does the discipline of archiving.


Notes by Karen Ocampo Flores


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