Multiple award-winning Filipino painter Manuel Ocampo challenges how we respond to images in today’s global culture of compulsive image consumption and production. Employing symbols and iconographies of faith, brutality and comic absurdity for which the artist is renowned, “Ideological Mash-Up/Remix” straddles between the familiar and the arbitrary, triggering conflicting emotions of attraction and repulsion in equal parts.
From Angry Birds to Russian Constructivist grids, from Cuzco angels to Goyaesque devils, Ocampo imbues variations of old imagery with new approaches, creating his most sustained exploration of print and paper experimentations which includes lithography, screenprint, collagraphy, aquatint and etching. Questioning identity and versions of culture, the artist incorporated digital imagery and icons in popular culture such as emojis for the first time as part of his chaotic and violent compositions, drawing parallels to a “messy desktop”. From his sprawling canvases of nearly ten metres to his monochromatic etchings, his raw works engulf the viewer in a heady collage of culturally loaded symbols from a fragmented time and space, embedded with hints of the artist’s personal narrative.
Ocampo’s syncretic approach to image-making is influenced by his Catholic upbringing and the cultural hybridity that surrounds him in Manila and its colonial past. His colourful expression of historical and cultural dynamics, also inspired by the aesthetics of punk culture, is laced with his signature dark humour. Recurring motifs such as cartoonish vultures serve as ambiguous metaphors of the artist’s experience from life on the go as an outsider looking into various cultures, never belonging to any, whilst manipulated and ambiguous symbols investigate the legitimacy and authority of association and collective memory.
Recalling the spectres of history, of painting, and of oneself, “Ideological Mash-Up/Remix” gives concrete forms to vague ideas, contesting the purity of symbols and image representation in society.
Opening: Friday, 17 May, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Artist Talk: Manuel Ocampo with Joyce Toh
Saturday, 18 May, 4.00pm – 5.00pm
Venue: STPI, 41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236
When: 18 May - 22 Jun 2019,