It has been almost three decades since the book ‘Conversations on Philippine Art’ by art critic and writer Cid Reyes has been published. It is timely now, given the massive developments in the art practice since the 80’s, to release such book that features interviews and inside correspondences with the artists of the time. This is where the contemporary art book ‘No Chaos No Party: 28 Contemporary Artists in Metro Manila’, launched last 7 December 2016, finds its well-deserved place in the Philippine art scene.
A project of Manila-based artist Valeria Cavestany, the 218-page hard-back book, developed and edited by curator Eva McGovern-Basa, contains interviews, artworks and the personal archives of 28 contemporary artists who live and work in Metro Manila; and it stresses how these artists are immersed and influenced by the beauties and imperfections of this environment. The firsthand correspondences with the artists reflect some of the limitations and issues involving the city, which, through their energy, resourcefulness and creativity, acted as the points of departure in their practices. As a plus, the conversations touch upon various aspects of art in the city — such as art education, management of artist-run spaces, and other topics behind-the-curtain of the art scene.
The interview format in ‘No Chaos, No Party’ provides a more casual, intimate and transparent look at the personalities, identities, and way of living of these inter-generational artists, as compared to a single-author perspective prominent in books with an art historical approach. In an interview with the editor, McGovern-Basa emphasized that the book does not attempt to be an exhaustive survey of Philippine contemporary art — but an “incomplete oral histories” of the selected 28 artists.
“A conversation both in text and images”, the wonderfully designed book is the craft of the veteran design firm, Inksurge, made up of Rex Advincula and Joyce Tai. Further letting the readers dive into the lives of the artists, each of their pages were uniquely fashioned in response to their individual styles, making the print format a vehicle for a curated experience.
At the near end of the interview, McGovern-Basa pointed out that the book places the spotlight on the Filipino artists – their ingenuity, creativity, and energy. And Manila, the environment where these artists are immersed in, is an exciting hub, which merits a voice in the international art scene.
Here are some of the sample artist pages from the book:
Participating artists include Poklong Anading, Renato Barja Jr, Valeria Cavestany, Lena Cobangbang, Francis Commeyne, Louie Cordero, Vermont Coronel, Leslie De Chavez, Dex Fernandez, Carlo Gabuco, David Griggs, Gino Javier, Eisa Jocson, Romeo Lee, Jose Legaspi, Pow Martinez, Maya Muñoz, Wawi Navarroza, Manuel Ocampo, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Iggy Rodriguez, Norberto Roldan, Mark Salvatus, Kaloy Sanchez, Gerardo Tan, Ryan Villamael, MM Yu and Maria Jeona Zoleta.
‘No Chaos No Party: 28 Contemporary Artists in Metro Manila’ is available in Artbooks.ph, in Finale Art File along Chino Roces Avenue, and in Aphro at The Alley in Karrivin Plaza for an introductory price of Php. 6,000.00.