2017, Sat, Jul 01

Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, Lani Maestro: On “thickening” national art history

Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines. Her current research focus encompasses attempts at variable forms of grassroots historiography, the reimagining and activation of contested space, and alternate modalities of exchange among artists navigating the institutional and extra-institutional. She works across platforms straddling various aspects of curation, publication, and art education. She is presently a steering committee member of Another Roadmap School, is a member of the editorial collective Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art, and is documentation head of the independent collective Back to Square 1.

Lani Maestro is an artist, who has been concerned with questions of how we occupy space, how space occupies us, as well as how our space is occupied with and by others. This direction is inevitably affiliated with the themes of home: Are we at home by belonging or as difference, that is, by way of non-belonging? Initially intellectually enigmatic but sensuously resonant, Maestro’s formally restrained work is almost (in today’s context) elegantly classical in spite of the raw emotion sometimes embodied there. Many of Maestro’s works situate places within places as a means by which to have us travel in and out of the home, inside and outside space, hoping to erode binary opposition. In this sense we might describe Maestro’s work we might describe as architecture of the body, with the proviso that the effect of such works, which emphasize passage rather than permanence, ultimately erode architecture’s claim to authority.