Special Exhibitions: Ryan Villamael, Art Fair Philippines

Ryan Villamael
The Link, Makati

Installation Views

About

    Behold A City, which Ryan Villamael first showcased at Silverlens Gallery, extols teh old grandeur of Manila, the nation's storied captial – the complex nexus of heritage, modernity, and all sorts of compulsions, political or otherwise, that attemp to define it. This is not Manila whittled down to a scale model but a re-imagination of the city by the artist in his order to approximate its complexity both as a physical, urban fact and an evolving concept. 

    For the fair, Behold A City features an entirely new topography and arrangement. The previous work was caught in a fire, eerily repeating the fate of Manila when it was carpet-bombed by Japanese forces, becoming the world's most devastated city after Warsaw during World War II. Just like its predecessor, the current work is an epistolary address to the country's seat of power, Villamael's "love letter to the city."

    Through his extensive use of archive materials (primarily maps), the artist, through his work and many other, meditates upon – and mediates – history, collective memory, the interpenetrating layers that consitute a locality. Villamael is the cartograopher of real places re-imagined through the geography of art, mapping out the contours and possibilities of a life within the realm of the collective. 

    Ryan Villamael (b. 1987) is an artist who has chosen to abstain from the more liberal modes of art expression to ultimately resort to the more deliberate handiwork found in cut paper. While his method follows the decorative nature innate to his medium of choice, from the intricately latticed constructions emerge images that defy the ornamental patchwork found in the tradition of paper cutting.

    His intervention into the fragile medium entails not just cutting but concept. By contemplating paper as a fraught site—after all, it is also the medium of books, maps, and other archival materials—he liberates the material to become an arbiter of meaning, one that traffics in the intersection of self and society, of biography and geography. His practice becomes a treatise of a unique vision that encompasses both the inner and outer conditions that occupy the psyche, which range from the oblique complexity of imagined organisms to the outright effects of living in a convoluted city.

    In 2015, he received the Ateneo Art Award with studio Residency Grants in La Trobe University Visual Arts Center in Bendigo, Australia, Artesan Gallery in Singapore, and Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK.

    Villamael participated in the 2016 Singapore Biennale and the 2018 Biwako Biennale in Japan. He has exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Para Site in Hong Kong, Mizuma Gallery and the Arts House in Singapore, ROH Projects in Jakarta, and the Metropolitan Museum in Manila.

Behold A City, which Ryan Villamael first showcased at Silverlens Gallery, extols teh old grandeur of Manila, the nation's storied captial – the complex nexus of heritage, modernity, and all sorts of compulsions, political or otherwise, that attemp to define it. This is not Manila whittled down to a scale model but a re-imagination of the city by the artist in his order to approximate its complexity both as a physical, urban fact and an evolving concept. 

For the fair, Behold A City features an entirely new topography and arrangement. The previous work was caught in a fire, eerily repeating the fate of Manila when it was carpet-bombed by Japanese forces, becoming the world's most devastated city after Warsaw during World War II. Just like its predecessor, the current work is an epistolary address to the country's seat of power, Villamael's "love letter to the city."

Through his extensive use of archive materials (primarily maps), the artist, through his work and many other, meditates upon – and mediates – history, collective memory, the interpenetrating layers that consitute a locality. Villamael is the cartograopher of real places re-imagined through the geography of art, mapping out the contours and possibilities of a life within the realm of the collective. 

Ryan Villamael (b. 1987) is an artist who has chosen to abstain from the more liberal modes of art expression to ultimately resort to the more deliberate handiwork found in cut paper. While his method follows the decorative nature innate to his medium of choice, from the intricately latticed constructions emerge images that defy the ornamental patchwork found in the tradition of paper cutting.

His intervention into the fragile medium entails not just cutting but concept. By contemplating paper as a fraught site—after all, it is also the medium of books, maps, and other archival materials—he liberates the material to become an arbiter of meaning, one that traffics in the intersection of self and society, of biography and geography. His practice becomes a treatise of a unique vision that encompasses both the inner and outer conditions that occupy the psyche, which range from the oblique complexity of imagined organisms to the outright effects of living in a convoluted city.

In 2015, he received the Ateneo Art Award with studio Residency Grants in La Trobe University Visual Arts Center in Bendigo, Australia, Artesan Gallery in Singapore, and Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK.

Villamael participated in the 2016 Singapore Biennale and the 2018 Biwako Biennale in Japan. He has exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Para Site in Hong Kong, Mizuma Gallery and the Arts House in Singapore, ROH Projects in Jakarta, and the Metropolitan Museum in Manila.

Artist Page

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