Details & Abstractions: Selections from the CCP 21AM Collection
Details & Abstractions: Selections from the Cultural Center of the Philippines 21AM Collection’ will be the first of a series of off-site exhibitions featuring artworks from the consolidation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ visual arts and ethnographic collections under 21AM. This exhibition aims to help audiences learn about these artworks through their process of making, and will also serve as an introduction to the innovative taxonomic system of 21AM. The chosen theme of ‘Details’ and ‘Abstractions’ contemplates on printmaking and engraving, which is the methodical and industrious practice of how we interact with various tools and materials, and how we utilize it to mark on a surface or substrate through application of pressure. The exhibition seeks to feature the sense of universality in the traditional and unconventional elements of art making that is also rooted in the living, and working conditions of the Philippines.
The CCP Visual Arts Collection on contemporary printmaking began through a partnership with the Association of Pinoyprintmakers (AP) then known as the Philippine Association of Printmakers or PAP, in 1996. Aside from organizing visual art programs such as annual printmaking exhibitions, workshops, lecture demonstrations, and fundraising folio projects, this partnership is also marked by the CCP’s acquisition of prints from AP, bringing together important works from artists who have contributed to the development of Philippine printmaking, from the 1960s to the present. The rigorous process of this graphic medium relies on harnessing the possibilities of medium and techniques; to innovate, experiment, and utilize unconventional formats to ‘strike’ on or from a plate and impress an artwork on surface, in single or multiple editions.
The CCP’s Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino (MKP) holds a diversity of ethnographic articles acquired throughout the museum's lifespan. These would include weaponry, musical instruments,textiles, personal adornments as well as domestic accouterments from ethnolinguistic groups around the country. Some of these pieces have incissions and engravings of lines and geometric patterns, and anthropomorphic representation that aside from its decorative purpose some are anchored into their belief system that these patterns also provide protection to the user/wearer as a talisman. The patterns are easily visible in some while others are so subtle that one needs to have a closer look to see it which reflects the owner or maker's sense of aesthetics.
The 21AM is a museum conceptualized to exist between physical space and cyberspace, giving importance to critical inquiry, artmaking, and the online repository of the collection. While the Accession Record System (ARS) is a work in progress, the online database is continuously updated and is made accessible to audiences who want to view the museum collections. The taxonomic system is the ARS’ body of knowledge, and features higher importance to the process of making as it is able to unify the ethnographic and visual arts collections under a single database. Through the consolidated CCP collection, we are able to form new perspectives on the various permutations and embodiments that comprise arts and culture within the Philippines, or integral to being Filipino, or being part of a Filipino collective.
While the CCP main building is undergoing rehabilitation and repairs, the off-site exhibition programming gives the opportunity to exhibit the CCP collection in newer spaces, and to different audiences. Arthaland Tower will be the first space to accommodate the collection off-site, with other institutions to follow in 2023. Each traveling exhibition will coincide with the updating of the collection in 21AM, the portal of which will be made accessible in each exhibition.