May 14 to September 25, 2009
Curated by Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez and Claro Ramirez
Double Take was an attempt to encourage a second look on initial misrecognitions. Viewers were goaded to ask: Was what I always knew as real merely a cleverly woven myth? Notions of blood, glory, territory and, ultimately, nation were mined in the LVN film still archive, particularly from war films. Young director Raya Martin counted on the museum infrastructure to set off a play on the eyes and mind. The museum’s larger galleries saw pronouncements from the historian Floro Quibuyen, art historian John Clark, and theorist Marian Pastor Roces that set off seminal pieces by nineteenth-century painters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. The two artists were also re-examined in light of discourse and personal communication with the nationalist José Rizal.
Double Take was an attempt to invoke second looks occasioned by the pointing out of initial misrecognitions. Viewers are goaded to ask themselves; was that what I really saw? Was what I always knew as real merely a cleverly woven myth? Just when did what was true become that way?
Impassioned battles were waged upon any number of crafted platforms–notions of blood, glory, territory and ultimately, nation. In mining specific aspects of the LVN film still archive, particularly war films spanning several eras of Filipino filmmaking, young director Raya Martin counts on the museum infrastructure to set off a playing on the eyes and mind.
Meanwhile within the museum’s larger gallery spaces, pronouncements from the historian Floro Quibuyen, art historian John Clark, and theorist Marian Pastor Roces set off seminal pieces in the collection by 19th century painters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. The two artists are also re-examined in light of discourse and personal communication with the National hero Jose Rizal. Within these sites, text and image encounter each other hopefully to engage visitors in reassessing what these icons stand for vis-a-vis such charged concepts as country and parity.
A video installation called WMB or shorthand for the White Man’s Burden. The White Man’s Burden is a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling. It was originally published in the popular magazine McClure’s in 1899, with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands. At face value it appears to be a rhetorical command to white men to colonize and rule people of other nations for their own benefit (both the people and the duty may be seen as representing the “burden” of the title).
“Such works often manifest an unconsidered assertion of identity, or sympathy, or they eulogize lifestyles and values in a way that denies interrogation of the content or firmal discourse of the representation. The national, if not exactly holy, is regarded as value-enhancing or value bearing in its own right, and it becomes the expressive task of the artist to represent these values through subject matters and stylistics that do not call those values into question. – John Clark, Modern Asian Art
Double Take also invites attention on images that hint at how Luna and Hidalgo saw the everyday as colonial subjects egging for recognition. It also brings to the fore pictorial practice that in one way or another, propelled the imagination of individuals ultimately believing thatthey were brothers making up a single race, to take on sword, spear, rifle, and even talismans on bare skin.
Filipinos have harnessed Hidalgo and Luna thus, in ways and for reasons that bear examination. Detractors as much as devotees– hitched together because they frame their arguments polemically– have in equal measure availed of Hidalgo and Luna (and national heroes Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio et. al.) to create their own Hidalgos and Lunas.
The nation for which Hidalgo and Luna provided epiphany in surviving miserably, if not self-destructing. The two artists and their interpreters figure in this disintegration, simply for having envisioned the nation. – Marian Pastor Roces, Vexed Modernity
It is in summoning such cliched yet still charged tableaus of the real and unreal (like a flank of battle worn shields girding up for a no-holds bared fight) that this exhibition counts on for inquiry at the very least, to take place. It is in this sense that Double Take hopes to occasion revisiting if not restitution.
Google-bound, Double Take takes you anywhere from Oxford and Encarta’s delayed reaction to hesitation borne of encountering the unexpected. Appropriately enough Double Take is also the name of a salon as well as an advertising agency that harps on not needing second chances. In still other geographic territories, Double Take is a co-ed jazz acapella group and a Wisconsin-based four-guitar band, a brand of athletic microwear, and the title of an FBI novel-thriller. More pointedly it is also the titles of an anthology on revisionist Harlem renaissance and a Toronto-based used clothing store that says it is a place for a new career cadidates to gain merchandising experience. Close to home, Double Take online is a way of finding new homes for art via the Doubletake Gallery consignment service