The GedAze Project

Page 1

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts


Exhibition 11 April - 7 May 2019 NCCA Gallery Manila, Philippines

ISBN: 978-621-432-022-6




National Commission for Culture and The Arts 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila 1002 Philippines

The works of Ged Merino and Aze Ong thrive on fiber. It is fiber that in the same vein thrives on the work of others. Such work may come in the form of a found object or from the labor of memory. These are lingering habits of very basic lives. In other words, the work weaves impulses around it; and it leaves traces of itself and of the stimulus. In the course of the process, fiber turns into some kind of structure or shelter that becomes part of a larger intricacy, an architecture or an atmosphere. As there is painstaking effort to tie, knot, twine, crochet, entangle, cut, or suture, so there is the generosity of the art to belong to or spring from an existing form, be it of machine or of nature. The thriving work inevitably resembles a species of the wild that is akin to weed after rain that either disfigures the garden, or enhances the ecology all together.

Fiber and Threadbare Lives

Patrick D. Flores

Merino looks at the tricycle as a vehicle in many senses. It is a public transport, but it is also a private space. He speaks of situations in which the tricycle undergoes a cycle of improvisations, refunctioned according to need and the ingenuity of what may well be a translator of materials. From this tendency of the tricycle translator, Merino is inspired to spin his own mediations around the flexible and versatile tricycle. It is an equivalent gesture of adornment, a way of proposing another life to the already storied existence of the tricycle, which has become bricolage. In Merino, attraction to textile was honed by a life of making do and getting by, but also of figuring out and making sure things happen: “My Mother repurposed old fabrics. She would stitch, dye, and embroider, then make them into our house clothes or pajamas. She never saw herself creative, it was a way of life. They grew up in the culture of repair, repurposing and recycling.” This interest in the exceptional capacity of textile to be converted by and to convert ways of life informs Merino’s practice. His entry point into textile, which came by way of print via Manuel Rodriguez, Jr., is also remarkable in capturing a sense of textile’s transitive loom. This recognition of the potential of textile marks the passage of Merino’s exercise: “My tendency for repurposed and repurposing materials, this notion that value is held over objects that endures the caprice of owning them which I employ by recovering textiles and other objects to construct my works...when I resigned from my day job in 2009 I realized I did not have money for store bought materials. Not having the cash flow I had to re evaluate and look around. I looked into my closet and found shoes, clothes and other things that I kept over the years. Living in New York City nearly half of my lifetime, I accumulated things and objects reminiscent of home. A realization came to me after spending several years in Manila working on projects, triggering an immediate reconnection with my roots and culture – most strikingly the contrast of poverty versus waste. Fascinated by the questions of why we buy and hold on to things,


while some are thrown away – discarded materials eventually became my focus. Currently, I use personal belongings and objects discarded by other people, a way of collecting artifacts from people’s lives, and repurposing materials into my artistic process. Almost like archiving sentimentality.” This process is as much an agency to recover and repurpose as it is an intelligence of how life annotates material and how material articulates forms of life. Ong likewise addresses the condition of scarcity that underlies the creative necessity with which the tricycle is crafted. It is tempting to romanticize resilience; and the artists try to resist this by insisting on the prospects of transformation. For Ong, the diligent sourcing of clothes from multiple piles and the sensitive putting together of the yarns of the years reference a possible defense against both the political elements and nature. The facture of art becomes a procedure of resistance against deprivation and discrimination. To be exposed to the vagaries of social weather is to be vulnerable and bare. It is this condition that touches Ong and moves her to offer a shelter or a swarm of fabric to richly surround bodies susceptible to exploitation. This exposure and susceptibility indexes Ong’s poetics. It is by way of yielding to a “certain rhythm that goes with emotions and gut feel” that Ong’s modus, and domus, of making elaborates on a feeling for form. This is animated by a patient mindfulness that Ong has learned to refine with time and prepared her for a generative encounter with craft: “In Grade 6, in an all girls school (Assumption) we were taught sewing, embroidery and crochet in our Technology and Home Economics class. I was left handed, hindi pa uso ang Youtube so following instructions from my teachers and classmates was so difficult. I remember I had to learn the basics: chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet. From my right-handed teacher and classmates, I would imagine doing it on my left hand. I couldn’t follow patterns too kasi for right handed siya, so when I learned the basics, I made my project by feel without counting...I did crocheting over the years since I learned it. It was also the start where neon colors became uso. So I made works using neon yarns, bright colors. Kapa-kapa lang, bahala na kung ano ang itsura after. It had always been like that.” Ong’s process is motivated by performative revelations. Rhythm and inventiveness are key in this reckoning of her affective yearning. The rituals she saw in Bukidnon as a teaching volunteer for the Associate Missionaries of Assumption stayed with her: “Yung mga dances nila is influenced by their environment, 1 dance would mimic the movements of birds, called “Binanog” and the other would mimic movements of monkeys (I forgot how it’s called). Pero isang naalala ko pa, they did not count. They always relied on the beat of the musicians and basta parang merong something invisible that binds them and creates their rhythm together.” While there is

a high degree of artistic urge at work here, there is also, on the other hand, a gamut of contingencies, from fatigue to the weather. Remarking on how each form culminates in its perceived terminus: “Kaya pala ako nakarelate ng lubusan sa mga katutubo ay dahil yung proseso ko ng paggawa ay parang ganoon din. When I crochet, parang mayroong hindi ko maintindihan na nag gaguide sa akin directing the colors and the form. Yung buong pagkatao ko heart mind body and soul kasama sa paggawa at dun ko ibinubuhos ang lahat. Hindi ako masyadong nagpaplano at wala akong sketches pero nabubuo ko lang siya.”

This proximity to emotion and personal anecdote places Ong’s

practice within an unorthodox frame. It also causes uneasiness. A classic obstacle, of course, is needless: to belabor the false duality between art and craft, or form and concept, or artist and artisan. The latter constrains conferment of the term contemporary on her métier. “In 2011, I had my first solo show at Kanlungan ng Sining, headquarters of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP). So I joined the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) competition and the AAP competition. The next year they still accepted my entry. Nung 2012, funny kasi inaccept nila yung work ko pero pinatong nila sa table sa labas while all of the other works were inside. And then when I asked about the AAP competition, hindi daw nila inaaccept yung medium ko. From then it was a long journey of acceptance for the medium, while discovering and strengthening my identity as well. Many would question the difference between craft and art, ano daw ang pagkakaiba ng works ko sa regular crochet? One ‘curator’ even asked, paano ko daw ipapasok sa art yung trabaho ko? Meron ding nagsabi na masyado daw romanticized ang tingin ko sa art. Meron din nagsabi ang babaw daw nung art ko. Meron ding mga crocheters na nagsabing ang simple lang naman nung stitches mo paano naging art yan. Sa New York one artist told me, my work is without concept. Does that mean my work is not considered art?” While Merino’s silhouette intuits a recognizable object, which is the tricycle, Ong’s configuration intimates looser and freer forms which are less indebted to iconography. This being said, the tricycle in the long run sheds its original carapace, as it were, when it takes on the livery of complex thread work and elaborated upon extensively and with spirit. These artistic productions thus finally transcend the opposition between order and chaos, from stasis and inventiveness to stasis and artfulness, as they reveal the contingencies of survival that delicately test the limits of both the agency of humans and objects and the ecology of life forces. What might be of interest in the future is to see how the fiber that has been aestheticized as textile is given the opportunity to unravel, to fray, and to let those who must survive remember, always, the struggle to stitch in time. 04

Kanlung a







Ged Merino and Aze Ong with the NCCA Gallery team with technical support from students and graduates of Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc.






Tagpi-Tagpi Aze Ong Yarn, fabric & wire support 2019


Under a silver lining there is always a cloud Ged Merino Yarn & sidecar of a motor tricycle 2019



Aze Ong Yarn, fabric & wire support 2019



April 11, 2019
















Aze Ong’s performance for Kanlungan invades Vincent Padilla’s Romancing the Inevitable at the adjacent exhibition room of NCCA Gallery.

Ged Merino performs ambient sound art for Kanlungan.



PROJECT STATEMENT The GedAze Project, traversing a lineage of contemporary artists pushing the boundaries of textile. Together, both artists have a common thread – from materials and process, to their interest in engaging viewers to interact with the work – the tactility, both a reflection and reminder of familiar objects, and the stories bound within.



The GedAze Project

Based in New York, Ged Merino collects objects, either discarded incidentally or intentionally. Living in NYC nearly half of his lifetime, Ged accumulated things and objects reminiscent of home. A realization came to him after spending several years in Manila working on projects, triggering an immediate reconnection with his roots and culture – most strikingly the contrast of poverty versus waste. Fascinated by the questions of why we buy and hold on to things, while some are thrown away – discarded materials eventually became his focus. Currently, Ged uses personal belongings and objects discarded by other people as his subject matter, a way of collecting artifacts from people’s lives, and repurposing materials into his artistic process. Manila-based artist, Aze Ong is a 2016 Asian Cultural Council grantee. Her art practice is about using fiber as a medium and her ecology around it including history, the culture and its significance. The nature of her work involves a tedious process, spending countless hours crocheting pieces to assemble into larger installations. Armed with needle and yarn in hand, crocheting wherever she goes, unintentionally inviting conversations with onlookers, crocheters and curious folks – fascinated and empowered by the experience of engaging in natural conversations inspire her work.


Exhibitions 2019 Kanlungan at NCCA Gallery, Manila, Philippines 2018 Stem at Bencab Museum, Baguio City, Philippines Passage commissioned work for “Imaginarium: Into the Space of Time” at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2017 Open Threads at Topaz Arts Inc, New York City, USA Art residency at the Topaz Arts Inc Existence at the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum, Quezon City, Philippines Prelude for TDR Projects in Escolta, Manila, Philippines Art Fair Philippines exhibition at booth of The Drawing Room Contemporary Art, Makati City, Philippines Media Feature QPTV (Queens People Television) New York City, USA 2016 Sound in Her Head at The Drawing Room Contemporary Art, Makati City, Philippines Sound in Our Head at Bliss on Bliss Art Projects, New York City, USA



2015 Untitled first collaborative work

2016 Sound in Her Head The Drawing Room, Philippines

2016 Sound in Our Head Bliss on Bliss Art Projects, New York City


2017 Illuminati Art Fair Philippines, The Drawing Room Contemporary Art

2017 Prelude TDR Projects, Escolta


2017 Existence UP Vargas Museum


2017 Open Threads Topaz Arts Inc, New York City

2018 Passage in “Imaginarium: Into The Space of Time Singapore Art Museum

2018 Stem Bencab Museum


GE D M E RI N O Solo Shows, Art Fairs, Biennales and Collaborative Projects

Bliss On Bliss Art Projects 41-49 45th St. Ground Floor. Sunnyside NY 11104

2019 “Kuwentong Kutsero” Museo de Intramuros PH. “Kanlungan” The GedAze Project / NCCA Gallery PH. 2018 “Selecting Memory” The Drawing Room Contemporary Art “Imaginarium” The GedAze Project”/ Singapore Art Museum “Stem” The GedAze Project / BenCab Museum Baguio City “Hotel Art Fair Bangkok / The Drawing Room Contemporary 2017 “Open Threads” The GedAze Project / Topaz Arts NY “Prelude” The GedAze Project / TDR Escolta “ Ripples and Layers” The GedAze Project /Fundacion Sanso PH. “Existence” The GedAze Project / UP Vargas Museum PH. “Illuminati” / The GedAze Project / ArtFair PH. The Drawing Room Contemporary Art 2016 Transitional Objects / The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Manila “Sound in Our Head” The GedAze Project/Bliss on Bliss Art Projects NY,NY London Biennale Manila Pollination / Met Theatre Manila Sound in Her Head/ The GedAze Project /Spare Room Project, The Drawing Room Contemporary Art 2015 CIGE Art Fair / Beijing China Southeast Asia Art Platform / Artstage Singapore 2014 Sueños Recurrentes/ Galeria Expreso del Arte Bogotá Colombia Metamorphosis / The Drawing Room Gallery, Makati, Phil. Beneath the Surface, Structures and Scratches / CCP Manila, Phil 2012 Prints and Paintings / Bliss on Bliss Art Projects NY 2006 New Works, New York / Avellana Gallery, Philippines 2005 Recent Works MONO-Prints / Avellana Gallery, Philippines 1988 New Works / Philippine Consulate, NY, NY. 1987 Helena Benitez Hall, PWU Fine Arts Gallery, Philippines Selected Group Shows 2018

“Always Begins” Filipino Artists from NY/ Pinto Museum PH. Tumba Tumba/ UP Vargas Museum Philippines “Change – Memo-Random” Art Informal , Philippines


Selected Solo, Collaboration and Group Exhibitions 2019 “Kanlungan” NCCA Gallery, Philippines Fieldtrip Project Asia, BACC, Thailand King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2018 “I am Living with Monsters” Art Portal Gallery, Davao Philippines “Attached” Art Informal Gallery, Philippines “Strands” Pinta*Dos Gallery, California USA “Stem” Bencab Museum, Philippines “Passage” Singapore Art Museum, Singapore “Liwanag” The Drawing Room Contemporary Art, Philippines ILOMOCA Inaugural, Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art, Philippines 2017 “Open Threads” Topaz Arts Inc, New York USA “Existence” UP Vargas Museum, Philippines “Ripples and Layers” Museo Sanso, Philippines “Prelude” TDR Projects, Escolta Philippines Artfair Philippines, The Drawing Room Contemporary Art booth Fieldtrip Project Asia, Museum Tsunami, Indonesia Fieldtrip Project Asia, Kuala Lumpur Biennale, Malaysia 2016 “Liwanag sa Kawalan ng Kulay” Yuchengco Museum, Philippines Common Threads, The Drawing Room Contemporary Art, Philippines “Sound in Our Head” Bliss on Bliss Art Projects, New York USA “Asia Young 36” Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Korea 2015 “Walong Filipina” Philippine Embassy, Washington DC USA “Liwanag” Cultural Center of the Philippines “I Love You, Mosque” Abu Dhabi Art Hub “Hiwaga” The Crucible Gallery, Philippines “Light in Ecosystem” Project Bakawan, UP College Arts and Letters atrium, Philippines 2014 “Sound in My Head” The Crucible Gallery, Philippines “Liwanag” Museo de La Salle, Philippines “My Soul’s Light” Museo Pambata, Philippines 2013 “Liwanag” NCCA Gallery, Philippines “Liwanag” GSIS Museum, Philippines 2012 “Liwanag” San Beda Museum, Philippines 2011 Philippines-Korea exhibit, GSIS Museum Philippines “Liwanag” Espasyo Siningdikato, Cavite Philippines “Liwanag” Kanlungan ng Sining, Philippines 78



Common Thread / The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Paper and Layers / Cultural Center of The Philippines “Case Studies” Found Bound Rebound / Topaz Arts NY,NY Promdi-Archipelago ACAW 10ed. / Bliss on Bliss Art Projects NY,NY

Artworks in the collection of Museo Pambata Jeonbuk Museum of Art Grants/Residencies


Eco-Logic /Las Vegas Center for Contemporary Arts


In This Place We Live 2/ M55 Art Gallery LIC NY NYFA Bootstrap Festival /Clemente Soto Velez NY Conversations with Mars/Trans-Glocal /Bliss on Bliss Art Projects NY


In This Place We Live / M55 Gallery LIC NY Eye of the Beholder / LICA LIC, NY


VIA MAIL / Capitana Gallery, Philippines LEAP /La Mama Galleria , NY,NY


A Night of 1001 Prints / M55 Art Gallery LIC, NY Return to Paradise / ARIAS Artspace, Makati, Philippines When you say nothing at all / ARIAS Artspace, Makati, Philippines


Manila to Williamsburg / Goliath Space Brooklyn NY


Mono-Print / Miriam Perlman Gallery. Chicago IL


A is for Abstract La MAMA Galleria, NY


Printmakers show / The Holland Tunnel Gallery, Brooklyn NY


At the edge.... / Cendrillon, NY, NY


Successful Series / Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago IL


Continuing an Idea / Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago, IL


Repeated Surfaces / Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago, IL


Applied Surfaces / Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago IL Developing an Idea / Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago, IL.


ASEAN Preview / Kulay- Diwa Gallery, Philippines 5th ASEAN Youth / National Museum, Singapore MALVAR Artists / Museum of Baguio, Philippines

2011 BBC Brasil

Filipino Contemporary Artists / Ayala Museum, Philippines

2012 Rappler GMA News Online Aura Elite Magazine, SW London

1986 Awards 1991

Best in Show / Spirit of New Jersey, JC, NJ


Jackson Pollock Memorial Scholarship/Art Students League NY


Top Five / ASEAN Youth Painting Delegation Singapore

2019 NCCA exhibit grant 2019 King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, Artist Residency, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2017 Topaz Arts Inc. New York, Artist Residency 2016 Asian Cultural Council Grantee 2015 Abu Dhabi Artist Residency 2015 Cultural Center of the Philippines Venue Grant 2013 NCCA exhibit grant Selected Features 2018 Lifestyle Asia 2017 Preview Magazine 2017 Adobo Magazine Cover 2017 Living with Music, Art, Physical Education and Health Textbook 2017 Filipino Identity in the Arts by Laya Boquiren 2017 QPTV (Queens People’s Television), Queens New York USA 2016 Manila Bulletin 2015 Mapeh on the Go K to 12 Edition Textbook 2014 Solar Daybreak Artist of the Week 2012 Philippine Daily Inquirer

2012 Saksi GMA TV


KANLUNGAN The GedAze Project 11 April - 7 May 2019 NCCA Gallery

Copyright@2019 The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Ged Merino & Aze Ong (Azenith Elaine Ramirez). All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transferred in any form, or by any means, without the prior written permission from the artists and the publisher. . ISBN: 978-621-432-022-6 Recommended Entries: New Media Art | Conceptual Art | Installation Art Contemporary Art | Art Exhibition | Fabric and Textile Art Exhibition Credits - Curatorial Team Exhibition Text: Patrick D. Flores Curator: Ged Merino Managing Curator: Germilina “Mimi� Santos Exhibition Technical Staff : Bryan Llapitan, Coordinator Rafael Santos | Romel Rivera | Christian Patan | Jeric Sarmiento John Clark Miguel Marco | Ryan Malimata | Glen Ababat Catalogue Text: Patrick D. Flores, PhD Catalogue and Print Design: Randel Urbano Catalogue Photography: Albert Labrador | Andrew Contreras Extra photography from Ged Merino Videographer: Rodrigo Ornedo, Jr. NCCA Reception Security Staff Special thanks: Ms. Evelyn Forbes The Drawing Room Contemporary Art Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. Published by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts 633 Gen. Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila Landline: 527-2192 loc. 324 & 328 Email: | Web: Facebook: nccaofficial Printed in the Philippines by Innovation Printshoppe, Inc. 1637 Diamante Street, San Andres Bukid, Manila This exhibit was made possible with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts & Ged Merino & Aze Ong. 82


The NCCA Gallery and its Thrust

The Board of Commissioners headed by Virgilio S. Almario, NCCA Chairman (Chairman, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino); Subcommission on the Arts Teddy Co, Commissioner; The National Committee on Visual Arts (NCVA) headed by Edgar Talusan Fernandez; Subcommission on Cultural Heritage headed by Rev. Fr. Harold Rentoria, OSA, Commissioner; The National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) headed by John Delan Robillos; and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Secretariat.

At the heart of its base of operations in Intramuros, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts further fulfills its service to the Filipino Visual Arts community by opening its exhibition space known as the NCCA Gallery at the lobby of the NCCA Building in 2009. This was in response to the burgeoning contemporary art scene in the Philippines. Dedicated to contemporary arts, the NCCA Gallery is a joint initiative of the National Committee on Visual Arts under the Subcommission on the Arts and the National Committee on Art Galleries under the Subcommmission on Cultural Heritage. Through the gallery, both the NCVA and NCAG aim to provide the artists a venue for exposure without curtailing artistic exploration and expression. Likewise, established artists will have opportunity to share their conceptual narratives to the audience and encourage engagements in the arts.