09 October – 12 December 2020
3F Galleries
UP Vargas Museum

The UP Vargas Museum, in partnership with Tin-aw Art Management, presents Pagburo at Pag-alsa: Natural Depictions and Illustrated Prophecies (Gelacio, 1910) an exhibition by Jo Tanierla, curated by Carlo Paulo Pacolor. The exhibit will open virtually on 9 October 2020, Friday, at 6 o’clock in the evening.

Physical viewings are by appointment only and can be scheduled with the UP Vargas Museum by sending an email to vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph or by messaging the museum’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/vargasmuseum.upd/. New museum safety protocols will be implemented to protect visitors and museum personnel. Walk-in visitors will not be allowed.

The story begins as all stories do—someone taking somebody else’s hand. A pair embarks on a yearlong pilgrimage from a bridge in Tayabas to a cave in the mountain of Pamitinan, Montalban, Rizal. Gelacio, an itinerant scholar in the city, and Manta-tio who speaks in tongues. They meet other characters along the way, and they also hear stories: of mornings and massacres, a whole banana field ablaze with santelmo like clenched fists, contraptions floating like ghosts, and a cow that brings with it the night. No immediate proof is left of neither their journey nor their fantastic stories, save for a poem about Bernardo Carpio: “Ngunit may ‘di nagdiriwang—mga babaylan sa may pampang, ang buwaya’t mambabarang, ang mga duwende’t tikbalang; lahat sila’y nag-aabang.”

Visual artist Jo Tanierla constructs this account of Gelacio’s travels dated to the turn of the 20th century. An allegorical mythos consisting of graphite drawings, naturalistic watercolors, and journal entries, it presages the present as much as it limns the past. Pagburo at Pag-alsa snatches bits from history and ethnography, but most importantly, coopts the objectivist pretense of the colonizer’s ethnographic eye to augur the present through a porous, accommodating, fictitious archive. Both Gelacio and Tanierla, pushed by socio-political ferment to the precipice of some cataclysm, are waiting, perhaps, for some revelacíon.

Jo Tanierla takes his time when drawing. He graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 2014 and has since participated in exhibitions at Nomina Nuda, Altro Mondo Gallery, and the UP Vargas Museum, among others. The previous year he delivered an artist talk titled “Drawing Near,” organized by Load na Dito Projects, with Nathalie Dagmang and Kanade Yagi at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Pagburo at Pag-alsa is his first solo project.

The exhibition is curated by Carlo Paulo Pacolor, a non-binary gender non-conforming queer a.k.a. bakla. They write fiction, drama, essays, and direct audiovisual and stage productions. They were shortlisted for the 2017 Ateneo Art Awards Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism. Pagburo at Pag-alsa is their first curatorial work.

The exhibition Pagburo at Pag-alsa: Natural Depictions and Illustrated Prophecies (Gelacio, 1910) by Jo Tanierla will be on view by appointment at the UP Vargas Museum 3F Galleries from 9 October to 12 December 2020. To book a viewing appointment or to request more information, please send an email to vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph, message the UP Vargas Museum on Facebook via https://fb.me/vargasmuseum.upd, or on Instagram or Twitter via @upvargasmuseum.

This post originally appeared on the Vargas Museum blog.

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