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Manila Bulletin: ‘Mike Adrao: The master of the minute’

Mike Adrao (Photo by Pinggot Zulueta) for Manila Bulletin

Where the artist talks about his experiences at the Lopez Museum and Library in preparation for his exhibit (Source: Manila Bulletin, Article by Hannah Jo Uy)

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His most recent undertaking is a lengthy exhibition at the Lopez Museum entitled, “Complicated.” Opening on February 20, 2014, “Complicated,” is a three-man show featuring the works of Mike Adrao, Leslie de Chavez and performance artist Ea Torrado.

“There was no theme,” says Adrao of their project which was done in collaboration with Tin-Aw Gallery, “only our immersion in the Lopez archives for research. From there, whatever we got from our research in the archives, that is what we used. We had access to all the parts of the library. It was so comprehensive, it was overwhelming. During that time, I tried to challenge myself to have no expectations, because in that way you discover more. It was dizzying; everything was so exciting because it was my first time to see those kinds of images. I wanted to create something new from the images that I got from the Lopez Museum. I went there almost every day for about a month. I immersed myself. I was just going with the flow. At the time I can see that my interest was leading to the culture of the Philippines in different periods.”

The timeworn images of the Spanish Era, the nostalgic scenes from the American Period and the somber photographs snapped during the chaos of World War II captivated Adrao, as well as the countless maps, editorial cartoons, and dated yellowing newspapers that abound in the archives. Suddenly an old forgotten world was resurrected in his eyes, a world that he now shares through his unique visual renditions. “In the images, I noticed the patterns,” says Adrao. “That was what drew my attention. These patterns were symbols; they were also metaphors for the cycles, cycles of colonialism and cycles of history. It just keeps repeating itself. I used it to add more meaning to the work, plus the intricacy is always something I’m attracted to.”

Okir shapes and Alibata figures are transformed by his own incomparable creative voice. Drawn to churches and large scale architecture, he expresses its beauty and power by focusing on its intricacies such as railings, pathways and carvings, which he assimilates and then places it in the context of his own narrative.

Mike Adrao focuses on the minute details of everyday objects and in so doing reveals an understanding of the world that is all encompassing and truly imaginative.

Curated by Ricky Francisco and Ethel Villafranca, “Complicated” will run from February 21 to August 2, 2014 at the Lopez Museum and Library G/F Benpres Bldg., Meralco cor. Exchange Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.


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