Friday, November 18, 2005

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE ART KIND...

So I was at Tootie Crisologo's Xth birthday party last week when I was given the rare opportunity of meeting one of my favorite artists, Manuel Ocampo. And although the grapevine buzz ranged from ""He is a passionate and brilliant man" to "He is a total Grade A jerk", I dumped all reservations and decided to strike up a conversation. Naturally, I avoided obvious topics like his cover sleeve for Beck's album, Odelay and his paintings being banished to the basement floor at Documenta IX because of his swastika imagery (those sensitive Germans. Tsk..). Instead, I decided to venture into more benign territory like "Do you live here in Manila now?" Surprisingly, he replied "Yes". "How cool." I thought, "A successful Filipino artist of international calibre choosing to come back home to the third world and be inspired by it's triumphs and turmoils in order to pursue his career". Sadly, though, from that moment onward, it all went downhill. All I can remember through the champagne filled haze of the evening was him saying comments like: "So what? When you teach history on your tours, do you just make it up?" and "Maybe you just DON"T CARE about art" before leaving his wine glass and walking off in mid-conversation. Uh oh. Can't blame him though. My bad completely. I also remember myself saying things like, "You've been living here for two years? So how come I haven't heard much about you?" and "You know, if I was looking for art, I'm sure it wouldn't be happening in SM Megamall anymore. Maybe ten years ago, but Manila has moved on and Megamall has become just another commercial wasteland." (referring to his gallery Finale Art File at the SM ArtWalk)" Because really, Finale Art File. For shame. You have one of the best and most relevant Filipino artists in your stable (along with other brilliant artists like Geraldine Javier et al) and yet we never read of him in the papers or magazines or TV shows. You don't even have a website for crying out loud. A little outreach and promotions wouldn't hurt him or the general public. That way, at least he wouldn't have to haul monographs of his work along with him to show to guests at parties.

Catch Manuel Ocampo's current show at the Finale Art File on the 5th floor ArtWalk, Megamall a level above the movie theatres and computer stores. It's an excellent show. I'd give more details but it's really hard finding anything on Finale Art File online. I hope this is a situation that will change very soon.

Above: Manuel Ocampo, Heridas de la Lengua, 1991. Oil and Canvas with chewing gum in wooden frame. 71 "x 61". Thank you www.uwrf.edu for the link.

12 Comments:

Blogger Mayumi Masaya said...

classic, carlos!

11/28/2005 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Diong said...

Love your art blog!

Totally agree about lacking exposure and current info with regards to Manuel Ocampo...

4/10/2006 11:39 PM  
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