Manuel Ocampo

Fear Of A Kitsch Existence (1989-2017)

This new book on Manuel Ocampo (Manila, 1961), Fear of a Kitsch Existence (1989-2017), deals with more than three decades of the artist's career, since the late eighties up to now. "Fear of a Kitsch Existence" is the statement given by him to refer to it as an indicator of how he thinks his artwork should be read or considered, although he leaves it open not wanting to guide in any case its perception or its interpretation. The sentence entails a rough outline of what he feels and tries to avoid, although it is not the first time he puts that into words. As it usually happens once and again with these kinds of propositions that are written on his paintings, one is reminded of the significance of all the verbal signs that show up together with the featured image like symptoms of what he wants to communicate. Gathering Ocampo's work in this publication has been possible due to the artist collaboration and willingness. You will find around three hundred images of his artworks since the beginning of his career until 2017, some of which have been rescued before being lost and others as key representations of a postcolonial discourse that it is clearly explicit through all his work. The project has been started more than a year ago, and much before the appointment of the artist as representative of his country in the Philippine pavilion of the Venice Biennial 2017. Together with Lani Maestro, he will show a new project in "The Spectre of Comparison", which is the exhibition curated by Joselina Cruz for this event. The current volume aims to make accessible an art work that is not always easy to understand, despite the apparent popularity of the images and their relationships with an iconography, which nevertheless seems very familiar to us. As an illegitimate son, namely a "bastard", as he calls himself and the artists of his generation, he also had to appropriate the ability to misrepresent the given reality in order to become a free self and defy power.

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