Vanguard gallery

Exhibition|Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories





Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, Philippines







Antoni Muntadas’s solo exhitbiion in Manila, “Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories”, will open on March 25 local time at Ateneo Art Gallery. The exhibition will remain on view through July 29. 




Exhibition view(photo by Clefvan Pornela)




Muntadas (b. 1942) presents three projects that translate memories and histories of the Philippines and Spain and its relevance to contemporary history. He is considered as one of the pioneers of multimedia installations and urban interventions. With his art practice spanning over four decades, Muntadas develops projects through collaborative research to create site-specific works that resonate with local issues and experiences. He first visited Manila in 2019 and his brief encounter of the city led him to further investigate the past and present of Spain’s former colony.




Exhibition view(photo by Clefvan Pornela)




The idea of movement from the themes of globality and transnationality are central to the works of Muntadas. These concepts can be observed as early as the 16th century, during the height of the Manila – Acapulco Galleon trade, where and when mobility and travel were necessary for commerce and economic development. 


Starting in Seville in 1565, the galleons stopped by Mexico City and Acapulco for overland trade before sailing to reach the port of Manila. The route also linked Manila with China, and by extension, with other parts of Asia such as Japan and India. The Manila Galleon trade brought about the economic and cultural exchanges between the East and West, a system that has been considered to be the beginning of globalization.  




Exhibition view(photo by Clefvan Pornela)





Using the Manila Galleon trade as framework for the exhibition, Muntadas developed three projects based on goods that were originally part of this commercial circuit: the mantón de Manila or “Manila Shawl” which was originally made in China then traveled to Manila, and later adapted and appropriated to the Spanish culture; coins and medallions; and ceramic tradeware from Sevilla. Contemporary versions of these goods, which Muntadas refers to as presentes, act as repositories of memories; they are intended as metaphors for historical, political, social, and cultural narratives relevant to Philippine society.




Exhibition view(photo by Clefvan Pornela)




The Mantones, locally embroidered in Lumban, Laguna, are fifteen shawls that feature images that represent different points in Philippine history, current events, and popular culture.





(photo by Clefvan Pornela)





Malas Hierbas are a set of ceramic plates manufactured in Sevilla which bear botanical drawings of invasive plant species brought in from the Americas, alluding to the effect of colonization. 




Malas Hierbas

(photo by Clefvan Pornela)





The medallions fabricated in Sevilla are called Portable Monuments to Emigrant Anonymous Workers; they are conceived as a tribute to unrecognized Filipinos living overseas. These projects are contextualized by archival photographs as well as artifacts loaned from the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University and the Intramuros Administration. Manuel Ocampo also contributes his version of the Murillo Velarde – Nicolás de la Cruz Bagay map that depicts critical points in Philippine colonial history.




Portable Monuments to Anonymous Emigrant Workers 

(photo by Clefvan Pornela)





As with all his previous works, this exhibition was a result of a long research process by Muntadas in collaboration with research and design teams in Manila and Barcelona. Concept development and design were all facilitated virtually. Through the collective effort of both teams in recovering memories, Muntadas was able to draw his interpretations of these narratives to produce representative objects that would resonate with audiences in the Philippines and Spain. As described by writer José Díaz Cuyás in his essay Ideas on Voyages, Routes and Detours on the exhibition, “It does not have to do with reconstructing the memory of both nations, and narrating the evolution of their cultural identities, of what they are about. On the contrary, it is about bringing to the present some of the things that moved between one country and the other, and in doing so, bring both together.”



Exhibition view(photo by Clefvan Pornela)








ABOUT THE ARTIST |Antoni Muntadas



Antoni Muntadas is an internationally acclaimed pioneer of media art and conceptual art. Through his works, Muntadas addresses social, political and communication issues such as the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, and investigates channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor or promulgate ideas. His projects are presented in different media including photography, video, publications, the Internet, installations and urban interventions.


Born in 1942 in Barcelona, Muntadas has lived and worked in New York City since 1971, and developed art projects around the world. His projects have been exhibited in prestigious museums such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Berkeley Art Museum in California, the Musée Contemporain de Montreal, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro, MACBA, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, OCAT Shanghai or Three Shadows Photography Art Center in Beijing.


Muntadas has been selected to participate in international events such as Documenta Kassel (1977, 1997), the Whitney Biennial of American Art (1991), the 51st Venice Biennial (2005) and other international biennales in São Paulo, Lyon, Taipei, Gwangju and Havana. He has been the recipient of several international prizes and grants, including those of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Arts Electronica in Linz, Laser d’Or inLocarno, the Premi Nacional d’Arts Plàstiques awarded by the Catalan Government, the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas 2005 and Premio Velázquez de las Artes Plásticas 2009 granted by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. His works has been collected by important museums but also by public and private collections such as Centre Pompidou (Paris), Colección “la Caixa” (Barcelona), DZ Bank AG (Frankfurt), Fundação de Serralves (Porto, Portugal), Fundación Botín (Santander, Spain), Kunsthalle Bremen, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), or Tate Modern (London), among others. He has been a Professor at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts for more than 30 years. He is currently a Professor at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura del Veneto (IUAV) in Venice.


His recent solo exhibitions include: “Antoni Muntadas: Exercises on Past and Present Memories”, Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, Philippines (2023); “Nights after Days”, The Store, Seoul,South Korea (2022); Exercises on Past and Present Memories, Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, Philippines (2021); “Muntadas. Interconnessioni”, Villa delle Rose, MAMbo, Bologna, Italy (2020); “Palabras, El País”, Arco Madrid, Madrid, Spain (2020); “MUNTADAS: Look, See, Perceive”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China (2019); “Asian Protocols”, Three Shandowns Photograpy Art Center, Beijing China (2018); “Art KARLSRUHE”, Brigitte March International Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (2018); “Muntadas: ESTRATEGIA DEL DESPILAZAMIENTO”, Kent Fine Art, Santiago de Compostela (2018); “Muntadas: Projectes/Proposals”, Kent Fine Art, New York (2017). Also, he attended the following group exhibitions: The 13th Shanghai Biennale – Bodies of Water, Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum(PSA), Shanghai, China (2021); “MASTERPRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHY”, Brigitte March International Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (2018); “From The VAULT”, Kent Fine Art, New York (2018); “A Human Condition”, Kent Fine Art, New York (2017); “WITNESS”, Kent Fine Art, New York (2016).