NEAR Manila Artist-in-Residence: Carlo Gabuco

I have gained significant insights about my personal views and experiences of the contemporary life upon fully engaging myself in art. I have occupied myself drawing tensions among issues affecting and influencing our everyday lives by synthesizing personal and popular icons, contemporary expressions and imagery in my paintings. Referencing on the visual imagery of today’s culture, I sought to play on the notion of how we are being shaped by modern society to a newly-designed passive way of living.

Project Space Pilipinas Now Open!

We are proud to announce the opening of Project Space Pilipinas, an independent space/platform for young emerging contemporary artists. PSP is located at No.11 Arayat Street, Barangay Malamig, Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines. This platform is envisioned to be a resource center and a springboard for many significant art events and happenings in and out of the country.

PSP's major program is the Neo-Emerging Artists Residency (NEAR Manila). With its initial outset in Seoul, South Korea in 2005, the NEAR Manila program aims to provide young artists a space for developing artistic endeavors, networks, exchanges, discourses and innovative art projects. The program is open for application to all local and international artists.

Asian Contemporary Art Fair Hits New York City: Filipino Painter's Work Highlighted in Seoul-based Gallery

Momar Visaya/
21 November 2007

NEW YORK -- The first-ever Asian Contemporary Art Fair debuted at Pier 92 on the Hudson River from November 8 to 12 and enticed more than 20,000 guests during the four-day affair.

The fair featured 76 exhibitors from 10 different countries and the top galleries from the international art market. Hundreds of artists, both young and old, from different Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam participated.

In the midst of them all stood Leslie de Chavez, the lone Filipino painter, represented by Arario, an art gallery based in Seoul.

De Chavez’s work, alongside Korean artist Hyung Koo Kang’s dominated Arario’s booth at the exhibit. Kang’s huge, monochromatic portraits featured fellow artists, such as Auguste Rodin, which was one of the paintings on display. De Chavez’s work, depicting women, shared the limelight.

De Chavez’s paintings focus on “unique Filipino scenes, culture and history,” according to Jeeah Choi, Arario Gallery’s curator.

“His paintings are dark — literally, since he begins each work by painting the canvas black,” Choi explained.

Two of his paintings at the fair are unusual, because, as the New York Sun described it as “mildly — and, no doubt, ironically — pornographic”.

One was called “Lilly”, a schoolgirl, wearing a T-shirt with an image of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn”. The racy painting had Lilly pulling up her skirt to reveal her lacy underwear.

The other one, called “Asian Wave”, shows a pair of naked women with the words “here 2 stay”.

De Chavez held a solo exhibit earlier this year in Beijing and Seoul where most of his paintings were sold. Next year, Arario will bring a solo exhibition of his new works to Switzerland. Plans were also being made to bring some of his paintings to the newly opened Arario Gallery, a 20,000-square-foot space on West 25th Street.

De Chavez is currently based in the Philippines. He stayed in Korea for a year as part of the Neo-Emerging Artists residency. He graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.


Six life-size statues of Mao Zedong made of shiny stainless steel by Guangci greet visitors at the exhibition’s entrance. Ken Johnson of the New York Times noted his reappearance in works by some of the artists in the exhibit was noted by.

“The vaguely mocking way he is so frequently represented in contemporary Chinese art hints at a deeper post-traumatic anxiety and, perhaps, an urge to exorcise him,” Johnson said.

Billed as the first international art fair to focus exclusively on contemporary Asian art, the exhibit had collectors, artists, dealers and art-lovers during the four-day affair.

There was also a special 26-artist group exhibition organized by the independent curators Eric C. Shiner and Lilly Wei called Simulasian: Refiguring ‘Asia’ for the 21st Century. It aimed to examine “the ways in which today’s artists are questioning, and enlarging, the definition of ‘Asian-ness.’” (

Asian Art Heads to Its Own Fair

The New York Sun
November 8, 2007

Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to hold an art fair in New York devoted exclusively to Asian contemporary art. Now, it is not only thinkable — someone has done it. The inaugural Asian Contemporary Art Fair opens tonight at Pier 92, with 76 galleries participating: 53 from Asia and the rest from America and Europe. And while it remains to be seen how the fair will do financially, for New Yorkers it's a great opportunity to see a cross section of work by Asian artists living around the world.

There is some sculpture, video, photography, and mixed media, but by far the dominant medium in the fair is painting. Goedhuis Contemporary, from New York, is showing "Number 1" by Ma Liuming, from a series of paintings of the artist's young son. In the 1990s in Beijing, Mr. Ma became famous for his performance art pieces, but he has recently returned to painting.

The booth of the Korean gallery Arario is dominated by large canvases by Leslie de Chavez, a young Filipino artist, and Hyung Koo Kang, from Korea. Mr. Kang does huge, monochromatic portraits, many of them of artistic celebrities. One of the paintings on display is of Auguste Rodin.

Mr. Chavez's paintings are meditations on his country's history, and its (in his view) mindless absorption of the culture of its conquerors. His paintings are dark — literally, since he begins each work by painting the canvas black. Two of the paintings at the fair are unusual in his oeuvre for being mildly — and, no doubt, ironically — pornographic. One shows a Filipino schoolgirl, her breasts poking through a T-shirt with an image of Warhol's "Marilyn," pulling up her skirt to reveal her lacy underpants. The other shows a pair of naked women, posed seductively, with the words "here 2 stay" written like a tattoo.

This Saturday, Arario is opening a 20,000-square-foot space on West 25th Street, with a group exhibition that includes top-selling Chinese artists such as Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, and Zhang Xiaogang. A curator at the gallery, Jeeah Choi, said that Arario planned the opening to coincide both with the fair and with the postwar and contemporary art auctions next week.

The major Asian galleries in the fair are all Korean, which may have something to do with the fair's being underwritten by a Korean dealer and collector, Cristal Kim. Besides Arario, Kukje Gallery and PYO Gallery both have large booths. PYO is highlighting a group of "inverted sculptures" by Lee Yong-Deok. Mr. Lee starts with a photograph of an ordinary person, from which he makes a sculpture. He then pours a mixture of fiberglass, gypsum, and other materials over the "positive" sculpture and lets it harden, thus creating a person-shaped cavity in a fiberglass block. Four of Mr. Lee's works are in the new Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley.

The top sellers of the Chinese contemporary scene are present at the fair, but fortunately in small numbers. Gallery Artside, based in Beijing and Seoul, is exhibiting Mr. Zhang's "Girl No 4." The gallery declined to state the asking price but noted that a similar work sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong last month for $1.6 million.

Mr. Goedhuis, who has been dealing in Chinese contemporary art for over a decade, suggested that prices for some artists have become irrational, as new collectors, without much experience or discernment, jump on the bandwagon. And the increased interest in Chinese art by Chinese collectors will "move the prices into another stratosphere," he predicted. "If you think they're high now, just wait another 20 minutes. They'll be doubled."

The painter Tianbing Li, who was born in China in 1974 and now lives in Paris, said many of his friends have moved back to China to take advantage of the booming art market. "Living in China is very good for artists right now," said Mr. Li. "You can get a big studio, you can hire assistants very cheap. But I chose to stay in France, because I think an artist needs to be alone sometimes. In Beijing, there is too much noise." Mr. Li's Zurich dealer, Kashya Hildebrand, is showing six of his paintings, from a series called "The Children's Project," in which, from the five black-and-white photographs taken of him as a child, Mr. Li invents a new childhood for himself, filled with color, toys he didn't have, and a brother — which he also didn't have, because of China's one-child policy.

Ms. Hildebrand said all of the paintings have already been sold, for prices around $200,000. "I have such a waiting list now [for Mr. Li's work] that I interview people first," she said.

To which Mr. Li added: "I refuse a lot [of requests], because I don't want to produce like a machine."

Pocheon Asia Biennale 2007

Rebirth of Tradition is an exhibition of ‘Neo-Pop’ artworks from China, Japan, and Korea to study their characteristics. Korean Neo-Pop is, in general, based on re-interpretation of traditional paintings, Chinese Neo-Pop is established upon tradition of socialist realism, and Japanese Neo-Pop works are created with tradition of animation.Participants: 16 Artists (from 3 countries, China, Japan, and Korea)

KWEON Jeong-Chan, KIM Keun Joong, SEO Hee Hwa, LEE Lee Nam, YI Hee-Choung (Korea), Hideaki Kwashima, Akino Kondoh, Ozaki Shingo, Hara Takafumi, Tsuchiya Takafumi, Aran Yasuoka (Japan), Feng Zhengjie, Jingkewen, Qi zhi long, Shi Xinning, Wu Mingzhong (China)

Encounter with Contemporary Asian Art is initiated to observe Asian identity through contemporary art works from many different Asian countries. Artworks of this exhibition will allow people to witness the diverse characteristics of different Asian countries.

KANG Yong Myeon, GU Bon-Ju, KIM Kira, KIM Ywa Gon, KIM Chae Hyung, PARK Byoung Choon, PARK Young-Geun, PARK Young Yul, PE Jin Ho, BYUN Sun Young, SEOL Chong Sik, SON Ki-Hwan, SONG Myung-Jin, SONG Eun Young, WANG Heung Yeul, YOON Kap Yong, LEE Ku-Yong, LEE So-Jung, LEE Woo-Lim, E In-Cheong, LEE Joong Keun, LEE Hyun Jin, LEE Hee Myoung, CHUNG Kuk-Taek, CHUNG Young-Han, JEONG Ji-Hyun, CHOI Eun Young, HAN Sun-Hyun, HONG Nam Kee, HONG Sang Sik, Ahmad Fuad B. Osman (Malaysia), Brain Gothong Tan (Singapore), Oh Soon Hwa (Singapore), akad. Mal. KAMIL MIKEL (Czech), Chia-En Jao (Taiwan), Jin Ri Long (China), Leslie de Chavez (Philippines), Luo Shu Jian (China), Chusak Srikwan (Thailand), Nyamkhuu Baatar (Mongolia), Roxana Manouchehri (Iran)

Asian Contemporary Art Fair, NY

ACAF debuts November 8-12, 2007 at Pier 92 with new works by a front line of contemporary masters and a fascinating selection of work in varied media by emerging artists who are setting tomorrow’s trends. ACAF brings to New York a vibrant, international art market, attractive to experienced collectors but accessible to those new to contemporary Asian art.

Gyeongbokgung, Seoul, Korea 2006

The Neo-Emerging Artists Residency

The Neo-Emerging Artists Residency (NEAR) originated in Seoul, South Korea, with its initial launch in NEAR Dangsan Studio in 2005. Started as a weekly gathering of four young Asian artists namely, Jinsuk Che (Korea), Chananun Chotrungroj (Thailand), Ahmad Fuad Osman (Malaysia) and Leslie de Chavez (Philippines), the Dangsan Studio has become a progressive resource center for contemporary art exchanges and informations. The Neo-Emerging Artists Residency is an art network that provides venues, discourses, opportunities, support and assistance for young contemporary artists around the globe.