For his “Art Lives Here” exhibit at Modeka Art, conceptual artist JoeBau showcases an assembly of interactive installations and mixed media paintings. He used these to delve into the connections between the impartiality of form and conceptual associations of existence.
JoeBau has been doing conceptual installations since the 1970s. He received his Bachelors in Fine Arts, majoring in Advertising from the University of the East. He was only 21 years old when the Cultural Center of the Philippines discovered him and thought of his pieces as non-conventional. In 1972, he became a CCP Thirteen Artist Awardee. He was also part of Shop 6, a seminal artist-run space by a group of conceptual artists led by the father of Philippine conceptual art, Roberto Chabet. It put him in the company of Joy Dayrit, Rodolfo Gan, Yolanda Laudico, Fernando Modesto, and Boy Perez.
In 1994, a solo exhibition marked his farewell to the Philippine contemporary art scene to focus on a business with his wife. He has also worked for major advertising agencies and, at one point, became a textile designer. Although he has taken a break from the art world, the artist in JoeBau never really stopped creating art using any material he could get his hands on. He worked on collages, using combinations of drawings, magazine cutouts, and even plastics.
By virtue of his great desire to return to the arts, he set up an exhibition titled Vertical and Horizontal Dreams at Galleria Duemila, the longest-running commercial gallery in the Philippines. It stamped his anticipated comeback after twenty-five years, though his friend Gus Albor and Silvana Ancelotti-Diaz. He has since done shows at the Ateneo Art Gallery, West Gallery, Galleria, Calle Wright Gallery, MO Space, to name a few.
The show’s exhibition notes say:
“Approaching art-production as a dynamic exercise of assemblage and engagement, the artist opens an alternative attitude towards works of art not merely as “work,” but rather as “working” art – prompting intellectual associations amongst mixed media, and integrating quotidian objects to non-linear processes of contemporary possibility. If the “working” art is considerably living, one asks, “Where does it live?” and perhaps, “How does it remain alive?” The questions suppose a particular materiality bound by space and time as to live is primarily to be bound in objective reality. Yet the artist’s exhibition of works connotes that their spatial occurrences and their belonging remember the created. They make a home in their conceptions, presentations, and circulations as they take space. The artist, his tools, the gallery, art printed in books, the autonomous audience, and even the acquiring collector might allow the work to exist in physical spaces at a time. Still, indeed it lives beyond its placements.”
JoeBau has seen art in the Philippines progress for over 50 years. Yet, he has remained true to his core. He inevitably comes back to avant-garde works, conceptual installations, and his abstractions because Art Lives Here — in his soul.
“Art Lives Here” is on view at Modeka Art, Warehouse 20A La Fuerza 1 2241, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.