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08 Jan – 30 Jan 2011
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press release

Valentine Willie Fine Art is pleased to present THE PAINTER’S EQUIPMENT, a solo exhibition by the internationally acclaimed Philippine artist Manuel Ocampo. Despite major museum exhibitions in Spain, France and America - not to mention inclusion in the world’s leading biennales of Venice, Berlin, Lyon, Kwangju, and his controversial inclusion in Documenta IX (1992) - this is Ocampo’s first solo exhibition in Asia outside Manila. It is a great coup to have this work in Singapore.

This exhibition for Valentine Willie Fine Art will show both new paintings and works on paper in Ocampo’s signature idiosyncratic style – a composite of popular icons plucked from Western culture and Filipino kitsch – motifs such as the swastika, crucifixes, pizza slices, phallus-like sausages, liquor bottles, ghosts, ghoulish dripping eye balls and excrement. It is no wonder Ocampo’s paintings have been tagged blasphemous, satirical, and ambiguous since the 1990s. 

What sets this new work apart from a grunge counter-culture that is associated with so much contemporary art today, is Ocampo’s ability to filter this mad collection of references through his rich knowledge of art history, literature and travel. He has an uncanny knack of filtering and juxtaposing the banality of society and, yet, maintains its pulse so our engagement is one of curiosity, shock and intrigue. This is the brilliance of Manuel Ocampo’s imagery and it has garnered world attention over the past two decades.

This exhibition will challenge the viewer’s perception of what ‘desirable painting’ is, and how we attach meaning to his imagery. Furthermore, Ocampo in recent years has used the gallery as a blank canvas extending the experience of his paintings spatially. In all things, Ocampo hurls the unexpected at us:  it is refreshing, it’s maddening and, above all, it is intelligent painting of our times.  As Ocampo says,

“The strong symbolism in my paintings is presented as empty signs. I want to push the conventions of painting to the point of ridicule...to go beyond thought. The unspeakable content in my pictureless picture cannot be defined, but can only be imaginatively complimented with an otherworldly laughter.”

And laugh one shall. THE PAINTER’S EQUIPMENT by Manuel Ocampo will leave an indelible impression. It is an exhibition that defines Ocampo’s practice in this region and beyond. 


MANUEL OCAMPO is a Filipino artist whose work fuses sacred Baroque religious iconography with the secular and serious political narrative. His works draw upon a wide range of art history contains cartoonish elements and inspiration from the punk subculture.  Manuel Ocampo has exhibited extensively throughout the 1990s, with solo exhibitions at galleries and institutions through Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In 2005, his work was the subject of a large-scale survey at Casa Asia in Barcelona, and Lieu d’Art Contemporain, Sigean, France. Ocampo's work has been included in a number of international surveys, including the 2004 Seville Biennale, 2001 Venice Biennale, the 2001 Berlin Biennale, the 2000 Biennale d’art Contemporain de Lyon, the 1997 Kwangju Biennial, the 1993 Corcoran Biennial, and 1992's controversial Documenta IX. His work was featured in many group shows in the 1990s, including Helter Skelter: LA Art of the 1990s, at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1992; Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art at the Asia Society, New York in 1994; American Stories: Amidst Displacement and Transformation at Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo in 1997; Pop Surrealism at the Aldrich Museum of Artin 1998; and Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2000. He has received a number of prestigious grants and awards, including the Giverny Residency (1998), the Rome Prize at the American Academy (1995–96), National Endowment for the Arts (1996), Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1995) and Art Matters Inc. (1991).
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