Recent events featuring the Liongoren collection
Gallery 1, 2 and Multipurpose holl
Parola UP Fine Arts Gallery
19-30 September 2023,
UP CFA, Diliman Quezon City
In retrospect, artist Alfredo Aritcheta Liongoren imagined his past works and exhibitions to be layers of his self that he had to peel through. Through this gesture of making, he opens himself up and unveils his interiority. Each of these layers affords a unique glimpse to his personhood, without any one of them capable of explicating all that he is. Hence, to arrive at what can be considered an ample understanding of him demands the delicate procedure of gathering layer upon layer of his artistry.
Attempting at such, this retrospective exhibition, which also serves as a homecoming, brings together artworks from six decades of the Liongoren’s practice: starting from his student years at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in the early 1960s, to the succeeding decades—which have been typified by shifts between varying degrees of abstraction and figuration, and later, explorations with the overtly socio-critical and the performative. Laid down in themes and supplemented with archival materials, his artworks are treated as points within a matrix that one may trace along.
Through constellating these layers, one arrives at a number of entry points that Liongoren’s practice can offer to the larger project of reexamining various forms of binaries. His narrative as an artist and as a person after all is characterized by his negotiations with and navigation through several spectra, some of which his practice nuances: form and content, metropolis and the regions, national and local, and nature and development. The exhibition, through the layers of the artist that it presents, wishes to shed more light onto his voice and positionality across these spectra, in an attempt to weave together the diverse messages that his practice has forwarded about the human condition in this ever changing, complex world.
Art Fair Philippines 2023
17 - 19 February 2023, 10 AM to 9 PM
7th floor, The Link, Ayala Center, Makati
Liongoren Gallery joins Art Fair Philippines 2023 as a special tribute space to its matriarch and designated “midwife of art” by peers, Norma Crisologo Liongoren. The exhibition will feature important pieces from the private collection as cues, passages, and markers to the history of the gallery, and essentially, her life in art. Norma was described by her friend and sculptor Julie Lluch as “an initiator, instigator, organizer, social activist, community worker, soul winner and culture-heroine.” Her non-art background as a nurse, a research assistant at the then Population Center Foundation, volunteer work for the NAMFREL during the 1986 snap elections, and various social and political work are experiences that propelled how she ran the art gallery. Some of her seminal projects include the Walong Filipina exhibition series (1991-2016), Larry Alcala’s Slices of Larry’s Art (1995), Manikako (2009), and National Artist Victorio Edades retrospective Edades: From Freedom to Fruition (2011).
Norma’s passing in 2016 imposed a shift in the operations of the gallery. This transfer and transformation of proprietorship and administration is an ongoing learning experience for the Liongoren children, particularly for Hannah, who assisted and worked with her mom in many of her projects. Thus, the exhibition becomes a reflection on and navigation of a legacy. Portraits of Norma in the nude and as a pregnant woman by her husband Alfredo Liongoren and family friend Danilo Dalena respectively are visual anchors of the selection. Made ten years apart, the nude drawing was sketched immediately after the birth of Erik the first child in 1975, while the portrait by Dalena was painted while Hannah the youngest was in her mother’s womb in 1985. These two works, wherein the in-between spaces will be interpolated with digital renditions of transitions created via artificial intelligence, will set the tone for the exhibition as a revelatory exercise unfurling more narratives that were representations of the Philippine societal conditions from the 1980s to the late 1990s. The conceptual design is also both a very private, personal probing of the family about the management of the patriarch Alfredo’s artistic practice and Liongoren the art space, and a necessary public examination of cultural work and gallery as infrastructure.
Norma Liongoren: Reading Between the Lines is on view at the 7th floor of The Link at the Ayala Center in Makati from 17 to 19 February, 10 am to 9 pm.