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Extensions, Loob at Labas open @ Lopez Museum

LOPEZ Museum turns on, tunes in and rocks out as street art takes center stage in Extensions, the exhibit that caps the yearlong commemoration of its jubilee this 2010.

Bikol artist Maya Muñoz, Rock Ed Philippines and artists’ collaboratives Pilipinas Street Plan and Plataporma come together in the exhibit, whose theme is described by curator Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez as a “stretch” for the 50-year-old museum, hence its title.

The museum opened up its spaces and collections, which include archival maps, works by Federico Alcuaz, Fernando Zobel, J. Elizalde Navarro, Nena Saguil, Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Vicenta Manansala, Juvenal Sanso and Bencab, for the exhibitors’ intervention.

In “now/here,” Plataporma’s Mervin Espina, Buen Calubayan, Mark Salvatus, and Lauren Villarama produced a series of projects that rethink the geographic and institutional history of the museum. The soil in the exhibit area was excavated from Pasay, the museum’s original site before it was torn down and moved to its present site in 1985.

Since architectural records of the Pasay museum were lost, Plataporma cleared an area which approximates the interior floor area of the old building. The mapping exercise tries to evaluate people’s familiarity with Lopez Museum. Plataporma started by asking people how to get to the museum, conducting several interviews within a one-kilometer area of its past, present and future sites.

“In a very real sense, only the end of their research process can be found in the museum; the bulk of the work took place outside of its walls,” Legaspi-Ramirez said.

A Philippine map based on one of the museum’s oldest objects was rendered by Pilipinas Street Plan on one of the gallery walls; the wall serves as the ground where the street artists marked various landmarks, tagged with stickers, stenciled and sprayed images which have made PSP literally present in these sites. Surrounding and opposite the wall are various small-sized works: light boxes, paintings and painted vinyl toys which serve as further documentation of PSP’s broadened art practice.

Volunteer group Rocking Society through Alternative Education (or Rock Ed) has been doing a prison outreach project called “Rock the Rehas” for several years now. In the exhibit, Loob at Labas, members and convenors Gang Badoy, Mon Guinto, Gerhard Bandiola and Tammy David share output from their jail visits which have consisted of workshops in creative writing, music and photography. Their work is showing alongside archival images on Bilibid Prison and the national justice system as sourced from the Lopez library archive. These are further complemented by the editorial illustrations of Liborio Gatbanton when he was chief art director of Manila Chronicle during the 1960-70s.

Meanwhile, Muñoz is showing a series using old architectural plans and tracing paper; due to its translucent ground, the series “provides rich potential for layered readings” of the images she created.

Ongoing until April 2011, the both Extensions and Loob at Labas are the museum and library’s attempt to take its engagements beyond art and venerable culture, outside its own comfort zone. Lopez Museum and Library favors taking constructive interdisciplinary directions in keeping with its multifaceted character and history.

For inquiries, call Fanny at 631-2417 or email The Lopez Memorial Museum and Library is located at the ground floor of Benpres Building, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.