Jul 14, 2023 | Press Release

The Cultural Center of the Philippines opens the second exhibit of the Bulwagang Roberto Chabet (TIG Gallery), titled “The White Elephant Project” by visual artist Jomar Galutera, on view until August 13, 2023.

Curated by Jason Dy, SJ, the exhibit is a serial inquiry into monumental infrastructures inspired by the artist’s mushroom farming. To support his independent practice, Galutera propagates edible mushrooms and sells them to local restaurants in Lucban, Quezon.

While farming, he gained insights on how organic materials flourish in decomposing substrate matter and correlated it on how disused, derelict, and destroyed buildings may have a future for utilitarian and humanitarian purposes, leading him to conceptualize and exhibit The White Elephant Project.

For the iteration exhibited at the TIG Gallery, the artist discursively engages the cultural complex, specifically the Manila Film Center (MFC), as another site of exploration for his first solo exhibition in Metro Manila. He delves into the history, architecture, and adaptive reuse of the building, as well as other complex factors that shaped its Parthenon-inspired architecture.

“This is the second of the series; the first being the running commentary and critique on the Bataan Power Plant. For this current exhibit at TIG Gallery, the artist chose the Manila Film Center. Admittedly, it had some lofty ideals when the Manila Film Center was imagined to be created. Nonetheless, we know that eventually when the film festivals ended, we had to reinvent the building,” shared Ariel Yonzon, the CCP associate director and head of the Production and Exhibition Department.

Through the years, efforts to reinvent the structure were made. Before the pandemic, the CCP planned to repurpose it as a communal creative space for artists and filmmakers.

“The artist’s insight on the building gives us the very basic definition of architecture. When we try to define architecture, it is always just forms and functions. Is the building, according to its form, able to serve what its intended purpose? The exhibit tries to delve into this,” said Yonzon during the exhibit opening held recently.

Through monochromatic paintings and video installations, the artist acts like a hybrid researcher that surveys online film clips and resources related to the film center. He did onsite visits and documented it through photographs and videos to understand the interplay between architecture and social space, history with its current evolution, as well as arts and public buildings.

Join the White Elephant Project workshop on July 18, 2pm. The workshop is co-organized with CCP Intertextual Division for the National Children’s Book Day Celebration.

There will also be a talk, dubbed “Inquiries and Interplays” with artist Jomar Galutera and curator Jason Dy, SJ, at 4pm. Galutera will talk about the first presentation in SaLang (Single-Piece Exhibition Series) at Project Space Pilipinas in Lucban, Quezon; while Dy will discuss the research and creative process for the current iteration that revolves around the Parthenon-inspired architecture of the Manila Film Center. The conversation aims to encourage thinking about how artmaking can present complex and historical subject matter in exhibitions.

The White Elephant exhibit runs until August 13, 2023. The Bulwagang Roberto Chabet (TIG Gallery) is located at the third floor of the Tanghalang Ignacio B. Gimenez (CCP Blackbox Theater), inside the CCP Complex.

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