About the Artist
Roberto M. A. Robles (b. 1957) graduatedfrom the School of Music and Fine Arts ofthe University of the East with abachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. In 1995, hecompleted his Master of FineArts sculpture program majoring in stonecarving under the tutelage of Prof. HitoshiItoh at the University
of Tsukuba Schoolof Art and Design. He was appointedDean of the College of Fine Arts,University of the East in the same yearupon returning to the Philippines. He hasextensively exhibited locally and abroad insuch venues as at the PinaglabananGallery, Galleria Duemila, TokyoMetropolitan Museum, and IbarakiMuseum of Modern Art and KitanoMuseum Art Movement. He received anAsian Artist Fellowship at the 11th AnnualFreeman Foundation Vermont StudioCenter, USA in 2004. Robles held his 30year retrospective "Saluysoy" at theAteneo Art Gallery in 2011.
In this exhibition, the meditation on place that is the museum is co-incident, either as a matter ofsynchrony or of chance, with a meditation on the “east” and the “west,” coordinates of power andotherness, inflections of north and south, waxing and waning, rising and setting, end and genesis.The two sets of sculpture find their site within this cartography, intimating a relationship with theenigmatic title of the project. The terms
pertain to an ethnic identity based onlanguage. It is also an ideological ascription that shapes the Filipino or the Philippine. And finally, it isabout a topography: that the person is known by his or her vicinity, which in this instance is the river.Identity, therefore, purportedly fully formed, is tumescent. It is totem,
, ensconced on abase as obelisk, monument to self, memorial to posterity, testimony to the futility of forever-ness and thelegacy of memory. This is one “sculptural” proposition. The other is the ensemble of slabs on themuseum’s terrazzo floor, evoking flux, stream, flow, a horizontality that resists the hierarchy, orhegemony if you will, of the other. It is current,
, threatening to slip away, close to the ground,stemming from it.Here, the installation of the propositions of sculpture opens up a dialogue on the overlay ofspaces in an atmosphere of lucent, riverine sparseness. Here, the interval between objects yields to thevisitor the opportunity to feel a milieu and gather the traces of sensing from the encounter with the artitself or with the figurines alongside it: maquettes of the actual artifacts, faint drawings that nearlydisappear.It is through this slit in the event of an exhibition that light filters through the glass of what maywell be a bare museum, which in itself is a tenacious institution of fragments and home to the pretensionsto certain copious unities. It is the tamed light of the east and the west, of
, of daybreak and dusk, of morning and night. Through the permeable skin of a museum that facesthe risks of exposure, light animates place and art, crafted and sculpted by the grains of its vitality, itsincessant wellspring.