Anonymity by Poklong Anading — 10 to 19 November 2006

Poklong Anading plays the role of street portrait photographer whose aim is to splendidly frame unknowns before they fade away into the background. He pictures the mean streets of Cubao, a vital but blighted quartier in Quezon City and home to many independent art spaces.

Street photography immortalises the poor, but these are also pictures of light: a constellation of flashes. Anading’s participants hold mirrors that reflect light as flashes obscuring their faces. The photos are digitally re-rendered in greyscale then sent to duratrans and backlit. In the gallery, their playful shimmer riffs on the well-understood photographic process whereby light transforms image onto paper.

This witty push–pull between objectivity and social critique on one hand and religious iconography and desire on the other may wrong-foot us. But, on balance, one thinks more of comparisons with Bill Viola’s slow moving video tableaux or, as curator Jose Tence Ruiz suggests in his excellent essay, of David Cortez Medalla’s impromptu performances of the 1980s, than of social realism. These beautiful flashes of reflected light signal and attest to imagination and transcendence.

 

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Poklong Anading, from 'Anonymity', 2006. Backlit photographic duratrans
Poklong Anading, from 'Anonymity', 2006. Backlit photographic duratrans
Poklong Anading, from 'Anonymity', 2006. Backlit photographic duratrans
Poklong Anading, from 'Anonymity', 2006. Backlit photographic duratrans

Poklong Anading is a leading light in Manila's dynamic contemporary art scene and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Ateneo University Art Award. His process-oriented and video art projects reflect, respond to and underscore contemporary Filipino experiences and reactions to the vicissitudes of the everyday.


Poklong Anading has exhibited widely in Manila and Asia, including in the Gwangju Biennale (2002), and has won many prizes for experimental video. He is associated with several of Manila’s celebrated independent art spaces such as Future Prospects (formerly Big Sky Mind) and Magnet. (See: Gina Fairley on the Manila Scene in Eyeline, Spring 2006.)

The Ateneo Art Gallery is the premier university museum of modern and contemporary Philippine art. To bring contemporary Philippine art to a wider audience, the Ateneo Art Gallery initated the Ateneo Art Awards bestowed to three young Filipino visual artists for their outstanding contribution to contemporary Philippine art in the past year. Anading was also awarded the 2006 Sydney Residency Grant and an invitation to exhibit from The Cross Art Projects, a leading Australian alternative art space. This is the second in the Sydney exhibition series. This is the only award of its type in the Phillipines.