“As a collector, I remain fascinated by the fact that artists from different continents, with very distinct heritages, and from different epochs, could end up employing, or be perceived to be employing, very similar aesthetic approaches.”

These are the words coming from Swiss-born art collector Martin Kurer, chairperson of Hong Kong’s AsianArt: Future (AA:F) who have brought back to the Philippines an impressive collection of traditional Cordillera tribal art pieces.

These collections will be on exhibition for two weeks starting today (February 16) up until the 2nd of March, 2019 at the 13/35 Mabini Hall in Karrivin Plaza, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.

This is the very first time that a collection like this will be exhibited here in the Philippines. These are authentic Filipino tribal art pieces that have been gathered and preserved for posterity composed mainly of different kinds of Bulul carvings, ceremonial or ritual boxes, meat containers, bowls, spoons, animal figures and many others.

By definition, a Bulul is a carved wooden figure used to guard the rice crop by the Ifugao. The sculptures are highly stylized representations of ancestors and are thought to gain power from the presence of the ancestral spirit.

Here are some of the Cordillera tribal art pieces in exhibition:

The exhibit is aptly named as JUXTA: POSITION as the tribal pieces also stand side-by-side with a collection of 20th and 21st century Filipino abstract art pieces coming from artists like Fernando Zobel, Hernando Ocampo, Jose Joya, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Lee Aguinaldo, Arturo Luz, Cesar Legaspi, Lao Lianben and Augusto Albor.

Here are some of the abstract art pieces in exhibition:

Kurer invites the audience to look at the partnered pieces and perhaps spark a dialogue on the aesthetic vocabulary of the two genres of artistic creation, which, on the face of it, may not have much in common. Yet,through the simplicity, directness, discipline, the reduction to the essence, understatement, and the ability to show a hidden reality, it does.

“I am not looking at the use of these aesthetic principles from a scholarly point of view,” Kurer says. “Rather, I look at pieces of art from different backgrounds and periods, and attempt to search some aesthetic interaction or connection among them.”

To celebrate this historic event, a 3-part monograph entitled “JUXTA: POSITION (The Aesthetics of Reduction) will be made available to the public. Kurer goes into greater detail on the aestheticism of the carvings, which he says can also be perceived and described utilizing artistic vocabulary similar to the one of the Abstract Art movement. The 2nd and 3rd part of the book give detailed descriptions of the art pieces in exhibition.

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