19 OCTOBER 2023 - 13 January 2024
The UP Vargas Museum presents Forms without vanishing points: Diagrams for sensing and becoming by artist Buen Calubayan. The exhibition opens to the public at the museum’s 1/F Galleries on 19 October 2023 (Thursday). It assembles Calubayan’s current transcriptions of his long-term research on landscapes as genre, form, and as a device. The exhibition will be activated by collateral activities throughout its duration.
Buen Calubayan (b. 1980), a frequent collaborator of the UP Vargas Museum, returns with a project after his previous works “We are going to have to live outside.” (2021) and Holdings with the Working Artists Group (2015). His artworks and diagrams, which will fill the museum’s ground floor glass walls, encapsulate his research on landscapes. Inside the museum space he will also present texts and documents from his personal archive as well as The Vargas Collection that append the landscape and the methods with which to decode them.
At its core, to understand a diagram requires placing the self—a cartographic location identified by ‘you are here.’ Schematics and diagrams allude to sensible and singular unities. Calubayan, however, questions this one-dimensionality through the co-optation of the linear diagrammatic tool that is the perspective system. The Western genre of the landscape that governs the illusion of farther things appearing smaller subconsciously informs our picturing, understanding, and sense of being in the world. This form of knowledge predominantly frames disciplinal fields such as navigation, engineering, philosophy, and the fine arts.
Calubayan asserts the embodied view of the landscape; that the view and the viewer are irreparably fused and affective of each other. The horizon and our perceptual field is moving, at once expanded and warped by our fields of memory and experience. Linear perspective transforms the world of matter into horizon lines, vanishing points, and picture planes. These static and flat logical shorthands have been exacerbated by modes of virtuality in the modern world.
Calubayan questions how our reality is rendered through these tools and juxtaposes them with counter-methods including indigenous knowledge systems, Steiner pedagogy, and his own work Instructions for Viewing the Landscape, Perspective Coordinates of Spoliarium and others. His initial questions have brought him farther afield. These queries persist: what tools enable a worldview, how are encompassing pictures, images, and worldviews constructed and negotiated?
What is happening in the unfathomable chasm that connects and divides the self and the world? The exhibition also captures a view of a landscape, rendering it to be interrogated, then releasing it to vanish once more.
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