How can you jump over your shadow when you don't have one anymore? by Norberto Roldan

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Norberto Roldan

How can you jump over your shadow when you don’t have one anymore?


NORBERTO ROLDAN Copyright Š 2018 Silverlens Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the above mentioned copyright holders, with the exception of brief excerpts and quotations used in articles, critical essays or research. Text Š Siddharta Perez. 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this essay may be reproduced, modified, or stored in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, for reasons other than personal use, without written permission from the author.

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Norberto Roldan How can you jump over your shadow when you don’t have one anymore?






Shadows in autumn

What do you find in Norberto Roldan’s exhibition succeeding a retrospective show[1]? In Rituals of Invasion and Resistance, Roldan restored original installations, reappropriated from his body of previous works and constructed new indices that clue in the conditions of living through spaces that transact the post-colony and the post-national. The exhibition that is the subject of this essay prompts us then to locate our reading of an autumnal period of an artist’s practice. Staged aptly as the first solo exhibition in his representing gallery, How can you jump over shadows when you don’t have one anymore? gives a ring to a cultivated lifework that marks its genesis thirty-plus years prior. The space marks four coordinates that assemble Roldan’s method of the assemblage that surfaces polyphonically - in parts they are literary and painterly, at most they are explicitly object-directed and they are embraced by subjectivities around the anthropological and autobiographical. The permutations of his iconography have been a preoccupation of other critics, writers, and curators who register the artist’s order of things as a conduit to the urgencies that a receptive practice must be confronting.


When Roldan is addressed as an artist, the reading of his works frequently relies on making meaning out of his images. There are cursory associations to his seminary background as a means to mark the proximity to the mass of Catholic imagery and their abstractions. In other trajectories, they are read within the mania of Philippine societies as largely syncretic and prone to manufacture mashups of popular taste and propaganda in the image and likeness of whichever social strata receives this scraps to put them together. The vocabulary of Roldan’s works can be seen as deeply vernacular, glorified as an experience wrought from “encountering the Philippines” on foot, by the side streets, in its devotion-specific churches, amidst the onslaught of commercial paraphernalia. But what does that mean to have a sense of the Philippines and a sensibility on how material cultures of city and province converge and divide in an artistic, intellectual and community-driven practice like Roldan’s? Perhaps the vernacular indices are not maps to “Philippine culture”. Rather, the works are vernacular to Roldan’s own cultural constructions. There is a conjecture to be made between the choice of the exhibition title to its quotation of Jean Baudrillard’s dedication in Fragments: Cool Memories III, 1991-1995[2]. Coincidentally, Roldan presents this exhibition at a similar period when Baurdrillard wrote the texts that were gathered in the book Fragments. Like a selfretrospecting gesture, he makes us witness to fragments from the previous series - his cabinet pieces and components inside gilded frames refers us to particular series from previous shows such as In Search For Lost Time[3]. Other works find their new iteration in this show in Silverlens as these are serial in nature, so much as the constituents and their permutation persist to be regenerative - the production and circulation of images are infinite. The Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty is recollected as an exhibition[4] of assemblage and paintings but takes an iteration in this show as printed collections of the images that circulate foremost as representations of beauty. “Litany”, too, is an ongoing series[5] that allude to the mental habit constructed by the perfunctory recitation of the chronology of saints, the titles of the virgin mother and the godhead.


Can we configure the aggregate of signs and symbols not as solitary semantics? What happens when we locate Roldan, instead, as the reader? The process of his art-making is largely prompted by the oblique directions that reading engenders. Circumlocutory and ambiguous, the artist’s arrangements of the collections of icons, images, and texts mirror the nature of reading. Besides the title of his exhibition, sure, there are other markers that reference his inclination to turn to literary cues like an autobiographical quote of Jack Kerouac in the “Hornet” painting and aphorisms of William Carlos Williams’ as names to Roldan’s altar installations. Seriality succeeds reading, as it essentially jogs the artist’s already discursive mind. What is the subject of Roldan’s reading? Why is seriality triggered by, and what does it continue to activate? What we encounter in Roldan’s solo exhibitions are the composites of objects that come together through his practiced impulse as an artist known to write and re/write the semantics of indices. They reclaim meaning and substance in the way he conflates the notions of lived and living pasts. While the texts in Baudrillard’s books are in an intermediate point between notes and manuscript, the works in Roldan’s show in Silverlens offer categorical deductions. The moral behind “how can you jump over shadows when you don’t have one anymore” is about an impasse to the strategies on legacy. Roldan at times can be ambivalent with the tokenistic representations attached to him - as a former seminarian, as an iconoclast, as a politicized practitioner - but he would always turn to things as harbingers of ideas and ideology. What we locate as messages in Roldan’s works have always been consistent - the misuses of power, the economies of peacekeeping, how social constructs perpetuate not blindly but by design. These are shadows thin out and get extinguished, like a material without an image, an image without meaning, a text without voice. Roldan is ambivalent because such portrayals beget their flattening. How can we turn to his objects the way he has used them - repatriating lost, misplaced shadows? “Fugitives in Captivity” reminds us of how we deal with shadows like how we deal with histories - unconscious at best, dismissive at worst. That is how triggers come necessarily. And in this case, through Roldan’s works, they come in the form of objects, images, and keywords, to see where we can establish our shadows. How can you jump over shadows when you don’t have one anymore also means “how can you deal with your past if you don’t have those memories?”[6]


by Siddharta Perez [1] Norberto Roldan: Rituals of Invasion and Resistance: Survey of Installation Works 1992-2017 was held from 2 September to 5 October 2017 in Jorge B. Vargas Museum, Philippines. [2] Published in 1997, this book collects Baudrillard’s crystallized expositions of his notion on objects from his notebooks when he was composing The Illusion of the End and The Perfect Crime. [3] This speculation is grounded on press mileage that circulates images of Roldan’s works. The particular reference to this is Rogue’s feature published on September 1, 2017. [4] Presented as an exhibition at Art Fair Philippines in 2015. [5] Wasak! Filipino Art Today (Distanz Publishing, 2016) features a “Litany” work captioned to be produced by Roldan in 2014. [6] Conversation with the artist, 24 September 2018.




Litany X, 2018 assemblage with old estampitas, collage and nail polish 73h x 44w in (185.42h x 111.76w cm)


Litany XX, 2018 assemblage with old estampitas, collage and nail polish 73h x 44w in (185.42h x 111.76w cm)


Vanity Fair X, 2016 assemblage with beauty compacts, old photographs and bottles 63.50h x 34w in (161.29h x 86.36w cm)


Vanity Fair XX, 2016 assemblage with beauty compacts, old photographs and bottles 63.50h x 34w in (161.29h x 86.36w cm)




Fugitives From Years of Captivity X, 2018 assemblage with old photographs and found objects 19h x 19w in (48.26h x 48.26w cm)

Fugitives From Years of Captivity XX, 2018 assemblage with old photographs and found objects 19h x 19w in (48.26h x 48.26w cm)


Fugitives From Years of Captivity XXX, 2018 assemblage with old photographs and found objects 19h x 19w in (48.26h x 48.26w cm)

Fugitives From Years of Captivity XXXX, 2018 assemblage with old photographs and found objects 19h x 19w in (48.26h x 48.26w cm)


The Catechists X, 2018 collage with found objects 27h x 19w in (68.58h x 48.26w cm)


The Catechists XX, 2018 collage with found objects 27h x 19w in (68.58h x 48.26w cm)


How Can You Jump Over Your Shadow When You Don’t Have One Anymore? X, 2018 assemblage with baroque frame and assorted found objects 48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm) How Can You Jump Over Your Shadow When You Don’t Have One Anymore? XX, 2018 assemblage with baroque frame and assorted found objects 48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)


How Can You Jump Over Your Shadow When You Don’t Have One Anymore? XXX, 2018 assemblage with baroque frame and assorted found objects 48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm) How Can You Jump Over Your Shadow When You Don’t Have One Anymore? XXXX, 2018 assemblage with baroque frame and assorted found objects 48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)




The Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty X, 2015 print on HahnemĂźhle archival paper 42.50h x 24.50w in (107.95h x 62.23w cm) Edition 2 of 6


The Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty XX, 2015 print on HahnemĂźhle archival paper 42.50h x 24.50w in (107.95h x 62.23w cm) Edition 2 of 6


First Aid Made in China X, 2018 assemblage with plastic first aid box and found object 11h x 11w in (27.94h x 27.94w cm)


First Aid Made in China XX, 2018 assemblage with plastic first aid box and found object 11h x 11w in (27.94h x 27.94w cm)


Fighter Jet Over Antipolo, 2018 painting on found painting and object 48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm) diptych


Fighter Jet Over Rizal Avenue, 2018 painting on found painting and object 48h x 48w in (121.92h x • 121.92w cm) diptych


Fighter Jet Over Manila, 2018 painting on found painting and object 40h x 24w in (101.60h x 60.96w cm) diptych

Hornet, 2015 oil and acrylic on canvas 72h x 72w in (91.44h x 182.88w cm) ditpych




There Are No Ideas But in Things (Two Aliens), 2018 installation with old medicine cabinet, old lipstick holders and framed photo 16h x 19w x 16.50d in (40.64h x 48.26w x 41.91d cm)


There Are No Ideas But in Things (Bulol), 2018 altar installation with old cabinet, candle holders, bulol and found objects 95h x 17w x 14d in (241.30h x 43.18w x 35.56d cm)



(from left to right) There Are No Ideas But in Things (Carabao), 2018 installation with found wooden animals and wooden buddha 69.50h x 18w x 18d in (176.53h x 45.72w x 45.72d cm) There Are No Ideas But in Things (Headless Saint), 2018 installation with found wooden santo and bottles 68.50h x 21.50w x 15.50d in (173.99h x 54.61w x 39.37d cm) There Are No Ideas But in Things (Faceless Saint), 2018 installation with old cabinet, candle holders and metal buddha 64.50h x 12.50w x 24d in (163.83h x 31.75w x 60.96d cm)





There Are No Ideas But in Things (Little Boy), 2018 installation with old santo, metal globe, wooden case and old furniture 65h x 24w x 17d in (165.10h x 60.96w x 43.18d cm)



There Are No Ideas But in Things (Low Wooden Table), 2018 furniture and objects 69.50h x 18w x 18d in (176.53h x 45.72w x 45.72d cm)


There Are No Ideas But in Things (Cabinet With Turn Table), 2018 furniture and objects 69.50h x 18w x 18d in (176.53h x 45.72w x 45.72d cm)


NORBERTO ROLDAN Bio

Norberto Roldan (b. 1953) took his BA in Philosophy at the St. Pius X Seminary, his BFA in Visual Communications at the University of Santo Tomas, and his MA in Art Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He has represented the Philippines in various international exhibitions in the AsiaPacific, Europe, and the USA, and in international symposia and conferences on independent art spaces and international cultural exchanges. He was represented in two landmark surveys of Southeast Asian contemporary art: New Art from Southeast Asia in 1992 by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, and Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991–2011 by the Singapore Art Museum. He was also represented in the recent acquisition exhibit No Country: Contemporary Art For South and Southeast Asia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Asia Society–Hong Kong, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore. Roldan is currently the artistic director of Green Papaya Art Projects, an independent multidiscplinary platform founded in 2000, while practicing as a visual artist.


SOLO EXHIBITIONS Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA EXCON), Roxas City, Capiz Artissima, Torino How can you jump over your shadow when you don’t have one anymore?, Silverlens, Manila 2017 Norberto Roldan: Rituals of Invasion and Resistance: Survey of Installation Works 1992-2017, curated by Patrick D. Flores, Jorge B. Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City In Search of Lost Time (with apologies to Marcel Proust), MO_Space Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City 2015 The Past Is Another Country, MO_Space, BCG Taguig The Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty, Taksu/Art fair Philippines, Makati 2014 One Day I Will Find the Right Words and They Will Be Simple, Taksu, Kuala Lumpur Hym Among the Ruins, Taksu/Art Fair Philippines, Manila 2013 Savage Nation, MO_Space, BCG Taguig No Empire Lasts Forever, Taksu, Singapore 2012 Hail Mary, Vulcan Artbox, Waterford, Ireland Heretical Bias Towards Indifference, Now Gallery, Manila 2011 The Beauty of History Is That It Does Not Reside in One Place, Taksu at Art Stage Singapore The Beginning of History and Fatal Strategies, Now Gallery, Manila 2010 Not Past Nor Future, Neither Dead Or Alive, Silverlens, Manila 2009 Give Me Tears Give Me Love Let Me Rest Lord Above, , Pablo Gallery-The Fort, Manila Sacred is the New Profane, Taksu, Singapore Everything is Sacred, Taksu, Kuala Lumpur 2008 Objects and Apparitions, MO Space, Manila 2007 Oil, Magnet Gallery, Manila 2005 Esperanza y Caridad, Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila 2004 Confessional Box, Alliance Française de Manille, Manila 2003 Mother of Perpetual Colony, Charles Darwin University Gallery, Darwin, NT Australia 2001 Faith on the Periphery, Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila 1999 Faith in Sorcery, Sorcery in Faith, Hiraya Gallery, Manila 1994 Orasyon, Hiraya Gallery, Manila 1989 Images of the Continuing Struggle, Artspace, Sydney, NSW Australia 1987 Images of War, Hiraya Gallery, Manila

2018


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2018

A Beast A God and a Line, Museum of

Modern Art, Warsaw

A Beast A God and a Line, TS1 Yangon, Myanmar

A Beast A God and a Line, Para Site, Hong Kong

A Beast A God and a Line, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The sun teaches us that history is not everything, Osage, Hong Kong

Art Basel, Silverlens, Hong Kong

Art Fair Philippines, Silverlens, Manila

A Beast, A God, and a Line, Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy,

Bangladesh

2017 PHILIPPINE ART: COLLECTING ART, COLLECTING MEMORIES, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980 to Now, Mori Art Museum and National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan Passion and Procession: Art of the Philippines, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia 2nd Kamias Triennial, Kamias Special Projects, Quezon City Net Present Value: Art, Capital, Futures, Southeast Asia Forum/Art Stage Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Translaciรณn, Inaugural Exhibition, Curated by Gary-Ross Pastrana, Silverlens, Manila Art Stage Singapore, Taksu, Art Stage Singapore, Singapore 2016 SEMANGAT X: Visual Expressions of Southeast Asian Identity, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur 2015 Wasak: Philippine Contemporary Art, Arndt Gallery, Berlin, Germany Action/Revolt: Contemporary Art from the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Sundaram Tagore Galley, New York First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian, Asian Art Museum, USA Art Basel HongKong, Arndt, Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong Art Stage Singapore, Taksu, Art Stage Singapore, Singapore What does it all matter as long as the wounds fit the arrows?, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila 2014 Manila: The Night Is Restless, The Day Is Scornful, Arndt Gallery, Gillman Barracks, Singapore No Country: Contemporary Art for South/Southeast Asia, Center for Contemporary Art, Gillman Barracks, Singapore and Asia Society, Hong Kong


2013 2011 2003 2001 1998 1997 1992

No Country: Contemporary Art for South/Southeast Asia, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York The Philippine Contemporary: To Scale the Past and the Possible, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manila Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1991-2010, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Santo (Art of People 3), Fukuoka Asian Art Musem, Fukuoka, Japan RX: Critical Remedies (two-person show with Nona Garcia), Lopez Museum, Manila Devotion (two-person show with Allfredo Esquillo), John Batten Gallery, Hong Kong Faith + the City: A Survey of Philippine Contemporary Art, Touring: Singapore / Jakarta / Bangkok / Manila Who Owns Women’s Bodies, Touring: Manila / Bangkok / Myanmar / Tokyo Philip Morris Asean Art Awards, Hanoi Opera House, Hanoi, Vietnam Memories of Overdevelopment: Philippine Diaspora in Contemporary Art, UC Irvine, USA / Plug-in, Canada New Generation of Asian Art, , Yonago City Museum of Art, Yonago, Japan New Art from Southeast Asia, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum / Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan 2nd Lake Naguri Open Air Art Exhibition, Naguri-mura, Japan

OTHER ACTIVITIES 2018

Guest Speaker, Making Asian Art Public conversation at Monash University

Symposium

EDUCATION 1999-2001 MA Art Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman 1973-1976 BFA Visual Communications, University of Sto. Tomas 1969-1973 BA Philosophy, St. Pius X Seminar


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS “Norberto Roldan at vargas Museum.” Art Republik. #16, November - December 2017. pp. 72 Samboh, Grace, Norberto Roldan, Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, August 2017 February 2017 Dayao, Dodo, Lost Time and Future Rituals: The Journey of Artist Peewee Roldan, ROGUE, Cox, Matt and Eastburn, Melanie, Passion and Procession, Look Magazine, 2017 Tran, John L., Southeast Asian Art Gets its Biggest Showing in Japan, Japan Times, 2017 Fen, Kok Hui. Finders Weavers. Gallery & Studio, 2014 Lalwani, Bharti, Guggenheim “discovers” Southeast Asia, Eyeline Issue No.82, 2014 Gestalten, WASAK! Filipino Art Today, P.134-143, 2013 Cotter, Holland, No Country, New Asian Art at the Guggenheim, New York Times, February 21, 2013 Ang, Kristiano, Guggenheim Looks East in New Show, The Wall StreVet Journal/Asia, February 20, 2013 Jao, Carren, Artists Without Borders, Surface Asia 14, March 2013 Lenzi, Iola, Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1991-2010, Singapore Art Museum, March 2011 Cruz, Joselina, The Hint of Transition, Norberto Roldan, Taksu-Singapore, January 2011 Gibson, Prue, Beyond Frame: Philippine Photomedia, Art Monthly Australia, Summer Issue, December 2008-January 2009 Clement, Tracy, Aesthete’s Foot (Beyond Frame: Philippine Photomedia), Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2008 De Veyra, Lourd, A Rusty Sign at the End of a Bloody Empire, Norberto Roldan’s Oil, Artlink, Vol 28 No 1, 2008 Thompson, Jonathan, Norberto Roldan at MagNet Gallery, Asian Art News, Vol 17 No 2, 2007 Fairley, Gina, Manila 2006, Art & Australia, Vol 44 No 2, 2006 Contemporary Asian Art Forum, p. 14-17, 2004 Petiffor, Steven, In Search of Global Identities, Asian Art News, March/April 2004 Löschmann, Jörg, Identities versus Globalization exhibition Catalogue, Heinrich Böll Foundation, February, 2004 ASEAN - Japan Exchange Year 2003, Arts of People III, “Santo”, p.20-21 Kember, Pamela, Alfredo Esquillo and Norberto Roldan, Art AsiaPacific Quarterly Journal, Issue 36, 2002 Chua Abdullah, Bettina, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, East Magazine, January 2002 Flores, Patrick, Faith Healing, Who Owns Women’s Bodies?, Creative Collective Center/Ford Foundation, 2001


Guillermo, Alice, Protest/Revolutionary Art in the Philippines 1970- 1990, University of the Philippines Press, 2001 Torres, Emmanuel, Faith and the Pinoy, Faith + the City, Valentine Willie Fine Arts, October 2000 Torres, Emmanuel, The Magic Medicine Cabinets of Norberto Roldan, The Philippine Star, Arts & Culture Section, May 10, 1999 Torres, Emmanuel, From Bacolod with Rage, Fire & Brimstone, Arts & Culture Section, The Philippine Star, March 29, 1999 Lerma, Ramon ES, Our Best for the Asean Art World, Arts/Design Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 12, 1998 Toshio, Shimizu, Visions of Happiness, Ten Asian Contemporary Artists, Japan Foundation, 1995 Arata, Tani, Norberto Roldan, New Art From Southeast Asia, Fukuoka Art Museum, 1992 Ushiroshoji, Masahiro, The Labyrinthine Search for Self-Identity, The Art of Southeast Asia from 1980s-1990s, Fukuoka, 1992 Allen, Christopher, Withering for Want of a Voice, Sunday Art Section, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 4, 1989 Lumby, Catharine, A Compelling Fruit Borne of a Bitter War, Arts Section, The Eastern Herald Sydney, February 21, 1989



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