“It says something for me. I don’t plan to communicate. I’m painting for myself. If it says something to the audience, it’s just coincidence,” said artist Manuel Ocampo when asked what his artworks aim to say or hope to achieve.
Ocampo was among the artists in attendance at the recent opening and homecoming of the Venice Biennale’s Philippine Pavilion Exhibit at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Benilde School of Design and Arts Campus in Malate, Manila.
The MCAD Manila gives thanks to the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the office of (former) Senator Loren Legarda in support for the facilitation of Manila’s homecoming of the Philippine Pavilion exhibition from the 57th Biennale di Venezia.
Venice Biennale, which has been running since 1895, remains the stage for art where countries come to represent themselves.
The exhibition’s title, “Spectre of Comparison,” is drawn from the novel “Noli Me Tángere” by the national hero Jose Rizal. Originally written in Spanish as “El Demonio de las Comparaciones,” this enigmatic phrase is a framework for the practices of Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo, artists representing the Philippine Pavilion.
Senator Loren Legarda (recently proclaimed as congresswoman of Antique province) gave an emotional speech and recalled how she ha battled for years for funding and support so that the Philippines could participate again at the Venice Biennale after its first and last participation in 1964. The country reentered in 2015 at the Art Biennale.
The 57th Venice Biennale, Philippine Pavilion Exhibition will run from May 23 to July 20.
Watch the full video to see the beauty of the Philippine Pavilion (Report by Daisy Liezel Cuison)