This Exhibit Will Challenge Your Idea of What a Painting Is

You can see Kristoffer Ardeña's work for yourself until February.

( Through the years, exhibitions have transformed from the typical hung paintings into multimedia installations—even virtual reality projects. Contemporary artist Kristoffer Ardeña rides on this new form of presenting art by presenting an interactive and interactive painting that challenges everything we know about traditional forms of art and, at the same time, says something about Bacolod City in the Visayas. Geopoemas: Bacolod runs until February 4 at MO_Space in Bonifacio Global City.

The artist makes use of old tarpaulin and transforms the pieces into something else.
PHOTO BY AZ Camiling
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Geopoemas: Bacolod is a single-work exhibition that puts the spotlight on “Ghost Painting/Cracked Category: Bacolod.” The piece features painted and cut-out tarpaulins with prints and neon fabric strips that ought to reveal the streets and landmarks of the city where the artist now resides. So, is it a painting or a multi-dimensional installation? In a recent interview with Ardeña, he shares that he consciously doesn’t follow instructions in gallery spaces for the public. For example, he veers away from the usual paintings hung in art spaces as this strategy comes from conceptual tradition.

He then shares his love for the notion of storytelling, instead of instructions. “The narrative woven into talking to someone to participate, immerse himself in it, or his preconceived hesitation to do so; this becomes a plot in which the painting itself is activated even passively,” Ardeña shares.

You are encouraged to walk through the piece.
PHOTO BY AZ Camiling

“We have to accept these game-changing ideologies as such of the now, for us to move forward in art,” he adds as he explains the work as being a painting, not an installation. Ardeña challenges these notions through the work, even though it has the qualities of the usual installation.

The artist shares that paintings are not about figuration or abstraction, or whether they’re two or multi-dimensional. “In order to push painting forward, we have to be critical of the long-standing tradition of the formal qualities of what it is, how it is and why it is. Not stylistically, nor thematically. Not about the conceptual anymore. It is all that and yet beyond that,” he explains.

Ardeña is known to utilize commonly used and recognizable materials in both the urban and rural areas of the Philippines. In Art Dubai 2019, he used the retaso as inspiration and medium for his work. He is recipient of various awards and scholarships internationally. Among many others, he has had exhibitions in Romania, China, Sweden, Spain, Luxembourg, New York, Mexico, and Colombia.


Geopoemas: Bacolod challenges our ideas of what art is supposed to be through Ardeña’s interesting practice. The public is encouraged to interact with the work by walking through and around it, and come up close with the painting’s components.

Geopoemas: Bacolod runs until February 4 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.

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