Arndt Art Agency
2018_Rodel Tapaya_Tang Contemporary_Beijing
Rodel Tapaya, "Abundance in Sunlight" (2018), acrylic on canvas, 182,8 x 243,8 cm
MYTHS AND TRUTHS
Curated by Matthias Arndt
Opening Friday November 3rd, 2018
03.11. - 15.12.2018
Tang Contemporary, Beijing
Arndt Art Agency is pleased to announce a solo presentation of work by Rodel Tapaya at Tang Contemporary, Beijing in November 2018.
Born 1980, Rodel Tapaya lives and works in Bulacan, Philippines and is considered one of the most important Filipino painters of his generation and one of the most active artists working in Southeast Asia today. In his work, he conveys important stories of his country, the people and topical local societal issues from the Philippines that intertwine traditional storytelling within a contemporary context. As all great storytellers do, he draws connections between the imagined and the real, history and the present day, and myth and current events. As a figurative painter, Tapaya’s intriguing literary-based compositions transcend beyond their local context to universal situations and are reminiscent in style to painters from the German Expressionist tradition such as Neo Rauch, Max Beckmann, as well as finding parallels in the painterly developments of artists such as Daniel Richter and Peter Doig, among others.
Utilising a range of media — from large acrylic on canvasses to an exploration of under-glass painting, traditional crafts, diorama, and drawing —Tapaya filters his observations of the world through folktales and pre-colonial historical research, creating whimsical montages of his characters. Each work has its origin in Tapaya’s reflections on a particular time or place that possesses an enduring resonance, from its correspondence with the formalistic and psychological implication of the grid in his earlier works to protracted ventures which excavate and interpret myth and folk aesthetics.
Speaking about the symbolism in Tapaya’s work and further associations, Jaklyn Babington (Senior Curator, Contemporary Arts Practice – Global, National Gallery of Australia) comments “by drawing inspiration from pre-colonial mythology and Filipino folkloric tradition, Tapaya meticulously pieces together numerous pictorial fragments, fusing the otherworldly with the real, in a visual grappling with contemporary politics, social and environmental issues. Tapaya has been exhibiting for over a decade and has established an intriguing literary-based visual practice, unique in its Filipino perspective yet striking for its participation in the rich history of Hispanic narrative painting. His flat application of paint, cramped figurative compositions and mix of decorative surface with political messaging immediately evokes the work of the Mexican muralists and surrealists such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Frida Kahlo. However, in a constructed knotting of the social, political and environmental issues of Filipino life, Tapaya’s work illuminates a complicated contemporary existence. And, as with the great social narrative painters before him, the local issues grappled with are often of global significance.”
For Myths and Truths the artist will present a range of monumentally scaled paintings alongside medium scale works, an installation piece and film.
The artist speaks about his solo project: “A French anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss, founder of Structural Anthropology once said, “I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operates in men’s minds without their being aware of the fact.” This exhibition is about the exploration of the dichotomy between scientific truths and the rich mythical stories from my country, The Philippines.
As Levi-Strauss believed that myths are not simply a random construction of primitive beliefs or backward mentality instead myths are pseudo-histories. They provide the raw material for a systematic analysis of how humans unconscious mind works. As a young boy, I was told of a story about a giant named Bernardo Carpio who attempted to end the battle between two fighting mountains, however in the end he got buried as a prisoner inside those mountains, in the cliff in Montalban, Rizal, northern part of the Philippine to be exact. We believe that whenever there are tremors and earthquakes, people believed that Bernardo is trying to escape. I always believed this story as a fact. And it became the seed of my fascination about myths and folktales in my country.
In this new body of work, I have created forests, mountains and landscapes, familiar yet otherworldly. The elements in the myths are juxtaposed with present conditions prevailing in contemporary society. As humans we tend to see ourselves as giants and gods that can control nature but in the process creating our own ‘earthquakes’ and disasters. It is interesting for me to find connections and relations of myths and the present stories on ecological perspectives, combined with the consequences of humans insatiable desires resulting to man-made disasters.” Rodel Tapaya, October 2018
About the artist
Rodel Tapaya was awarded the coveted Grand Prize in the Nokia Art Awards in 2001, which allowed him to pursue intensive drawing and painting courses at Parsons School of Design in New York and the University of Helsinki in Finland. He completed his studies at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Urban Labyrinth, Ayala Museum, Manila, Philippines (2918), Rodel Tapaya. New Art from the Philippines, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2017), Rodel Tapaya, Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen, Germany (2016), "ICA Off-Site: Hong Kongese" (2015), curated by Gregor Muir, Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah AlTurki at Duddell’s Hong Kong, "Bato-Balani" at the Ateneo Art Gallery, Quezon City, Philippines (2014), "Cloudland" at the Art Hongkong, Hong Kong (2012), "Prism and Parallelism" at the BENCAB Museum, Baguio City, Philippines (2012), "Flowers of the Tongue" at the Vargas Museum, UP Campus Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (2010) and "Mythical Roots" at the SOKA ART Center, Beijing (2009).
Selected group exhibitions include: 15th Asia Arts Festival, Ningbo Museum of Art, Ningbo, China, Terra Incognita, Hilger BrotKunsthalle Vienna, Austria, Passion and procession. Art of the Philippines, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Pinto: Manhattan Manila, West Village, NYC, USA, 20th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2016), "June a Painting Show, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK (2015), Bisa: Potent Presences at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Philippines (2011) and Thrice Upon a Time: A Century of Story in the Art of the Philippines at the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2009).
His work is held in the following international museum collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia, Mori Art Museum Collection, Tokyo, Japan, The Hori Science and Art Foundation, Nagoya, Japan, SAM - Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, Bencab Museum Collection, Benguet, Philippines, Ateneo Art Gallery Collection, Manila, Philippines, Pinto Art Museum, Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines).