This Printmaking Exhibit Is a Look at the Borders of Philippines and China

Celine Lee asks, "Have you created your own surface?"

( The territorial dispute between the Philippines and China continues to be a longstanding issue even after United Nations Arbitral Tribunal has ruled in favor of the Philippines. In the solo exhibition A Surface, artist Celine Lee attempts to lay out the borders of these two countries by using rice paper and handmade paper made from abaca fiber—resources that are abundant in China and the Philippines, respectively. The show runs until November 17 at MO_Space in Bonifacio Global City.

A Surface is a solo exhibition by Celine Lee. It runs until November 17 at MO_Space. 
PHOTO BY James Tana

The subjects of Lee’s works are mostly vector graphics inspired by a topography surface wireframe model rendered through a 3D software. These were printed on aluminum sheets through etching, and transferred to the rice and abaca paper—which she made herself—through a printmaking technique called casting. The handmade papers appear to float in mid-air, which suggests that surfaces and spaces may not be physically grounded but rather felt, imagined, and reimagined.


“To me, the image of a wireframe can be traced to the concept of ‘space time.’ Similarly, it can represent coordinates [on] our map. Where you are situated now has a specific numerical correspondence in the geographic coordinate system. It just fascinates me how a single point or a single line, when repeated, can make a complex image,” explains Lee in an interview with

PHOTO BY James Tana

The exhibition also features a video showing Lee’s process of printmaking, complete with the audio reel of the sound produced during beating and scratching the surface of her materials. This intensifies the viewing experience of the audience and is suggestive of the way Earth is being exploited.

"Fig. 2 Man" by Celine Lee
PHOTO BY James Tana
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"Fig. 3 Bird" by Celine Lee

“Fig. 2 Man,” a topographic wireframe of some parts of Northern Luzon, is hung vertically. The way it is displayed allows viewers to have different perspectives of the piece. “Fig. 3 Bird,” on the other hand, is based on the topographic wireframe of Taguig City, where MO_Space is. The prints are suspended horizontally from the ceiling, allowing us to view each work from the top—a bird’s eye view.

The works serve as the artist’s way of creating her own space and contemplating on her roots and genealogy. Lee, in this particular show, goes beyond the surface and delves deeper into a world of different layers where territorial demarcations could not exist, both in the physical and personal realms.

A Surface, along with Christina Quisumbing Ramilo’s flight, runs until November 17 at MO_Space Gallery, 3/F MOs Design, B2 Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, visit MO_Space on Facebook.


Main photo from MO_Space's Facebook

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