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Finale Art Gallery presents Bastards of Representation

Internationally renowned Filipino artist, Manuel Ocampo is staging a solo exhibit at the Finale Art Gallery, SM Megamall A, from July 20 to August 1. The show is a showcase of The Highest Products of Distraught Bourgeois Self-Consciousness, or Bastards of Representation.

Ocampo is a maverick who has refused to conform to commonly held, largely bourgeois beliefs of aesthetics e.g. that a work of art has to be pleasing to the eye or that it should ennoble. His paintings have the power to shock and offend. The public is warned that they are not pretty pictures.

The artist took up some courses in the UP College of Fine Arts in the 80s and then moved to the US where he built his reputation on mordant, blackly humorous and often satirical works that touched on colonialism and the immigrant experience. He was included in the prestigious Whitney Biennale. He has been a recipient of the Rome Prize and represented the US in the Documenta Exhibit. He has shown extensively in the US, Europe and South America.

For his Manila show, Ocampo is presenting several paintings, some of them large-scale. His main medium is paint or what he describes as "pigmented liquid muck."

"The impulse to raise the status of things is the main sublimatory tactic of art," Ocampo philosophizes. "There's something heroic about it. Or beauty - it's the kick you get from that which extends behind the thing you see."

Ocampo's new works are a continuation of his eye-popping and mind-blowing juxtapositions of invented and iconic images - scatological images like excreta, crosses and swastikas, dismembered parts of the body, tattoos, cartoon figures, knives and skulls, exposed brains and intestines, vermin, popular cultural images. Or as the artist ripostes, "Things that the main culture abhors. Dead things are art basically."

His style has been described by Robert Hughes, a former Time art critic, as "painterly."

There is something subversively revivifying in the way Ocampo turns art (and the art scene) on its head. Some of the people will look away from the paintings or get outraged by Ocampo's uncompromising approach to art. That is the kind of reaction he probably values. And if collectors snap them up, he adds that "the paintings are worth a lot of money because somebody else says so."

Source: Fr: Jun Almanzor, Linkage Creative Marketing and PR

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