(SPOT.ph) When the Philippines returned to the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2015 after a 51-year hiatus, it was a big moment for the country's arts-and-culture landscape. Since then, we've been bringing the biggest names to the international art exhibition in Italy—including Mark Justiniani, whose body of works for the Philippine Pavilion this 2019 is hailed in foreign media outlets as a "must-see" and among the "top five". It shares this recognition with the United States, Russia, India, Ghana, Slovenia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.
Titled Island Weather, the Philippine Pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019 reflects how our culture is heavily influenced by our archipelago's topography—the distance between our islands is evident in how people from different regions connect to one another, the calamities that befall us have an effect on how we consume (and hoard) goods, and the way our forefathers migrated from one region to another reflect on how we regard home. Some of these insights are best explored in "Arkipelago," which Justiniani executed through his distinct style of on-site installation and optical illusion. Guests are encouraged to walk across the glass surface, which seem to have a bottomless pit filled with shelves of mundane objects. This was made possible through an infinity mirror technique.
London-based Financial Times describes it as "vertigo-inducing, intoxicating" and something to bring to Tate Modern—a network of four art museums in the United Kingdom that showcases international modern and contemporary art. The Art Newspaper, which has headquarters in London and New York, narrates the experience as: “Entering the darkness of the Philippine pavilion, it looks at first glance like the artist Mark Justiniani has been burrowing through the floor to excavate the centuries-old foundations of the Artigliere building.” The Philippine Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019 is curated by Tessa Maria Guazon.
The Philippines' participation in Venice Biennale is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda. The vernissage was held on May 8. It is open to the public from May 11 to November 24 at Giardini della Biennale, Calle Giazzo, Venice, Italy.
For more information, visit Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale's website.
Main photo captured from Island Weather Vernissage video through PAVB's Facebook page