Mark Justiniani’s "Void of Spectacles" unveils at the Ateneo Art Gallery on February 6

Jan 24, 2024

Void of Spectacles: Reflections on Passages Through Time and History comes to the Ateneo Art Gallery this February 6, Tuesday. The show will feature the three infinity installations of Mark Orozco Justiniani created for the Gallery Children’s Biennale (National Gallery Singapore, 2017-2021), Kinderbiënnale, Japanisches Palais, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (Dresden, Germany, 2018-2020) and the Philippine Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (Italy, 2019). Co-presented with Tungtung Alon Art Foundation, this marks the very first time all three infinity installations are exhibited in the Philippines.

This iteration of Firewalk merges three versions produced for the National Gallery Singapore's Children’s Biennale: Dreams and Stories (2017), Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers (2018), and the Gallery Children’s Biennale: Embracing Wonder (2019). In each version, the installation suggests a ceremonial tribute to the different phases of life. It encompasses childhood, self-discovery, risk-taking, and, ultimately, the confrontation of mortality on uncertain terrain.

Mark Orozco Justiniani_Firewalk_Detail at NGS 1Mark Orozco Justiniani, "Firewalk" (detail), 2017-2019. Taken by the Artist at the National Gallery Singapore, 2018.

In a similar way, Well, originally created for the Kinderbiennale – Träume & Geschichten (Japanisches Palais, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany) and featured at the Library of Exile, tackles birth, youth, adulthood, and death within its four quadrants. It portrays the process of sifting through memories and being left with insights on existence, while acknowledging the unknown as both the start and end of life's transient journey.

Mark Orozco Justiniani, "Firewalk" (detail), 2017-2019. Taken by the Artist at the National Gallery Singapore, 2018.Mark Orozco Justiniani, "Arkipelago (Capital)" (detail), 2018-2019. Taken by the Artist at the Ateneo Art Gallery, 2024.

Arkipelago was created for the Philippine Pavilion at La Biennale de Venezia 2019, supported by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts through the "Island Weather Project'' of the Philippine Arts for Venice Biennale initiative. Consisting of three modules, it delves into the traces of both ancient and recent stories within a rapidly changing world. The result is a collection of narratives on universal themes, society, nationhood, and individual viewpoints. These fragments form the basis for deciphering and weaving a larger narrative.

All three works use mimesis to visually extend objects beyond what they seem. Viewers are confronted with a void as they stand above the installations, each filled with objects and remnants of history. These serve as an excavation of stories, reflections on humanity, and inquiries on existence. At its core, these infinity installations invite the viewer to fall into the very most primal instinct of fear and wonder. Void of Spectacles: Reflections on Passages Through Time and History is on-view from February 6 to July 6, 2024 at the third floor galleries of Ateneo Art Gallery. The museum is open Mondays to Saturdays, 9 AM to 5 PM. Due to the nature of the exhibitions, guests will be asked to remove their footwear. Non-skid socks will be provided for use. For more information, visit www.ateneoartgallery.com or email aag@ateneo.edu.

About the Artist

Mark Orozco Justiniani’s (b. 1966) current practice merges social and magic realism through various mediums. Whether through paintings, assemblage or immersive installations, Justiniani studies the notions of perception by incorporating concepts of metaphysics and observations of the material world. His practice is often identified by his associations with artist initiatives such as Abay (Artista ng Bayan), Sanggawa, and Salingpusa Art Group. Currently, he spearheads projects with Joy Mallari through Aninagan Art Initiatives and Tungtung Alon Art Foundation.