Echo Studies
Maria Taniguchi
GF Lobby and West Wing Gallery Vargas Museum Exhibition runs until 28 May 2011 ABOUT THE EXHIBITION Echo Studies reflects Taniguchi’s practice in the “sublimation of the intersections in information sharing and research”. It focuses on how the researcher’s decisions, sensitivities, and process continuously challenge scientific objectivity in the creation and manipulation of data. Employing sound, video, painting, drawing, and installation, the artist probes relationships among subject, representation, and process. Taniguchi brings in this exhibition two large-scale geometric abstract paintings, Untitled (Mirrors) rendered meticulously with black brick-like designs revealing the potential of pattern to “reflect information”. Echo Studies also foregrounds the artist’s notion of the tropics through a recent work in Romblon, an island south of the Manila known for marble production. ABOUT THE ARTIST: MARIA TANIGUCHI Maria Taniguchi (b. 1981) graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts, major in sculpture. She took her MFA Art Practice in Goldsmiths London in 2009. In the same year, Taniguchi was accepted in the LUX Associate Artists Programme, an arts agency supported by Arts Council England. Taniguchi has exhibited extensively both locally and abroad. Her recent exhibitions include Roving Eye: Video from Southeast Asia (SorlandetsKunstmuseum, Norway); JUMP CUT Dialectic Dream (The Barber Shop, Lisbon); Complete and Unabridged (Osage, Hong Kong and La Salle, Singapore); +Pyramid (Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila); and VIDEO e identidad cultural en Filipinas (CAIXAFORUM, Barcelona).

USING THE EDUCATION GUIDE This guide is designed to help facilitate discussions and activities on the exhibit for Humanities, Art Studies, or Fine Arts classes. Suggested topics for this exhibition include: Conceptual Art, authorship, process, and representation. This Education Guide includes write-ups (bordered by gray boxes) and appendix that can be used as reference. Important art terms are underlined for emphasis. Teachers may opt to elaborate on these terms in class. It is highly encouraged that course tutors / teachers have a pre-visit to the exhibition before the class’s actual visit. The guide questions and suggested activities are designed for pre-visit, during or actual visit, and post-visit. This module aims to deepen the students’ encounter with the exhibition and stimulate their appreciation for art. The questions are intended to help students situate it within a larger context and relate to other disciplines such as history or philosophy. Aside from classroom or gallery-based discussions, this education guide also maximizes other learning platforms such as social networking sites. This education guide may be reproduced. Images of the works in the exhibition are available for classroom use upon request.

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VISITOR INFORMATION For pre-visits, please obtain reference materials about the exhibition from the Front Desk and coordinate with the Museum Assistant to schedule a group visit. Please inform the Museum at least 24 hours in advance. Group visits may be guided by a museum staff, by the teacher (the galleries may be used as classroom upon advance notification), or unguided (students may view the exhibition at their own pace). For information about the museum hours and entrance fees, please log on to

WHAT IS CONCEPTUAL ART? Conceptual Art is a term applied to works produced from the mid-1960s that stresses engagement with ideas rather than a purely perceptual encounter with objects. In conceptual art, ideas are central to the work. Conceptual artist Sol LeWitt emphasizes that concept is actually the “most important aspect of the work” and that execution responds to its priorities. LeWitt further articulates that it is the responsibility of the artist engaged in conceptual art to make the work “mentally interesting to the spectator”. In most conceptual works, artists proceed with investigations or propositions. Traditionally, there is a line that separates the role of artists and critics. The responsibility of interpretation and perhaps an elaboration of the artists’ works is delegated to the critic. In conceptual art, however, artists take on this dual role by imparting their own ideas, inquiries, and analyses. According to the writer Ursula Meyer, an essential aspect of conceptual art is self-reference. Artists define their intentions as part of their art. What is Conceptual Art like? Could a urinal be called ‘Art’? French artist Marcel Duchamp challenged notions about the formal aspects of art, artistic process, and its commodification. In 1917, he shocked the art world by presenting a urinal—a commercially produced, everyday object. He presented it as ‘Art’ in a juried exhibition by signing the pseudonym “R. Mutt” and adopting the museum’s convention of labeling, titled it Fountain. This was the most famous of what he called Readymades, commonplace objects like bicycle wheels, which eventually set precedent for conceptual art. Probing the nature of art itself, another important emphasis of conceptual art is the elimination of the art-object. Hence, the variety of materials or processes employed in conceptual art is virtually limitless—photographs, video, maps, diagrams, found objects, or even performance, are but a few examples of conduits / vessels that hold artists’ conceptions.

Pre-visit Activities
I was looking for a form in painting to articulate possible relationships between abstraction and information. --Maria Taniguchi 1. In class, give the students a background on Conceptual Art. Introduce how the movement began in 1915 through Duchamp’s Readymades. Ask the students to watch the video titled, “All You Need to Know about Conceptual Art”, featuring Andrew Graham-Dixon of the

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VARGAS  MUSEUM  EDUCATION  GUIDE     British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). This eight-minute video can be accessed via You Tube: 2. Before the visit, ask the students about their initial attitudes on Conceptual Art. Ask them the following: a. Can you give examples of Conceptual Art? Name some conceptual artists that you have encountered in your museum/gallery visits, in books, in lectures, or on the Internet. b. Choose one from the examples that you gave. Describe your encounter with the artwork(s). Give visual, aural, or tactile qualities of the work. What ideas or concepts do you think the artist imparts? c. How do you feel that these works of art are placed inside the gallery or museum? d. How do these works compare with other works of art that are normally placed inside museums, like oil on canvas paintings? 3. Assign one of the students to create a Facebook group for the class. Inform them that this group will be used as a platform for a post-visit discussion. Alternatively, if the class has an existing e-group, an online discussion board could also be facilitated.

Actual Visit Worksheet
…Concentrated spaces are so interesting. I think it’s partly because of a kind of precision in terms of a material and historical presence. The idea was to reorganize a fragment of that. --Maria Taniguchi Take down notes about the exhibition on this sheet using the guide questions below: 1. Describe the canvas paintings at the Lobby. What do you see? What is familiar? How do you think it was made?

2. Why do you think did the artist relate the works in the Lobby to mirrors?

3. What can you say about the manner by which the works at the Lobby were installed? How does this compare to the traditional display methods of the museum?

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4. Negative spaces are formed when a space around a subject and not the subject itself reveals shapes or other forms. Describe how Taniguchi depicted negative spaces in Untitled (Mirrors).

5. Watch the video at the West Wing Gallery. Documented by Maria Taniguchi, this is a 22minute high-definition video (11 minutes per monitor, in alternate) that shows how an artisan from Romblon recreated a marble sculpture of Dawn’s Arms. Take a look at the space and the landscape outside. Reflect on the processes implied in the video and how the following relate or “echo” one another. Refer to the appendix to see supplementary information about b & c. a. b. c. d. Marble Dawn’s Arms Barcelona Pavilion Vargas Museum

6. Reality is not the only subject that an artist represents; it can also be another work of art. This is called appropriation. What could be the significance of the appropriation done by Taniguchi to create Untitled (Dawn’s Arms)?

7. What makes an individual an artist? Would you consider the following as artists? The craftsman making the sculpture, the videographer filming the process of making the sculpture, or the person from whom the image of the sculpture was appropriated. Reflect on your personal notions of the term ‘artist’ and relate it with ‘authorship’. Comment on these two terms based on your encounter with the video and photo of Untitled (Dawn’s Arms).

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VARGAS  MUSEUM  EDUCATION  GUIDE     8. How do you feel that only a fragment of the sculpture Dawn is shown (Dawn’s Arms)? In addition, how do you feel that your encounter with the replica is only through the photographic print and video and not with the actual object? What does this say about conceptual art practice?

9. If you were the artist, give alternative titles for the works.

Post-visit Activities
“…take some weight off the real objects…adjust gravities.” -- Maria Taniguchi

1. The insights gained by the students during the visit could be discussed in class. Use the guide questions above to facilitate the discussion. Alternatively, if there is no ample time for a classroom discussion, an online discussion could be implemented (see pre-visit). Encourage the students to write posts that are critical; comment to one another’s post to facilitate an engaging online discussion. 2. Divide the class into groups with three members each. Ask each group to process what they have learned about conceptual art by writing a mini-manifesto; a list of guidelines or criteria on conceptual art. Alternatively, they can present a proposal in class about a conceptual work, assuming the role of the artist.

Suggested Readings
Books Godfrey, Tony. 1998. Conceptual Art. London: Phaidon (CAL Library) Meyer, Ursula. 1972. Conceptual Art. New York: Dutton. (CAL Library) (n.a.) 1992. “Exploring Alternative Ways” in Gatbonton et. al. (eds). Art Philippines. Manila: The Crucible Workshop. (CFA, CAL, EDUC Libraries) Internet LeWitt, Sol. Paragraphs on Conceptual Art. Official website of Maria Taniguchi

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Who is the figure below?

Where is it found?

The bronze sculpture on the left is a reconstruction of the piece by the German sculptor G. Kolbe, titled Alba (Dawn) for the German Pavilion in the Barcelona Exposition. In 1929, Kolbe collaborated with his contemporary, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who designed the pavilion. Adopting simple forms and using exotic materials such as glass, travertine, and marble, the German Pavilion was significant in the history of modern architecture. The architecture utilized a specific kind of marble, obtained from the Greek island of Tinos. Maria Taniguchi has noted that the pavilion “is ground zero for a particular modernist agenda”. The pavilion was disassembled in 1930 and rebuilt in 1986. As an exemplar of modern architecture, the pavilion is maintained today as a tourist site, an exhibition and educational space that aim to “conserve and disseminate knowledge” on Mies van der Rohe.

Image details: Top L: Georg Kolbe’s Alba (Dawn) image from Top R: German Pavilion image from Bottom L: Maria Taniguchi. Untitled (Dawn’s Arms) 2011. 22-minute video.Vargas Museum. Image courtesy of MT Bottom R: Maria Taniguchi. Untitled (Dawn’s Arms) 2011. Photograph. Vargas Museum. Image courtesy of MT

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