Rodel Tapaya Shows New Works in Beijing

Matthias Arndt curates the solo presentation at Tang Contemporary
By A&M

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Abundance in Sunlight’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 182.8 x 243.8cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Abundance in Sunlight’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 182.8 x 243.8cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

‘Myths and Truths: Recent Work by Rodel Tapaya’ is a solo presentation curated by Matthias Arndt of Arndt Art Agency (A3) at Tang Contemporary, Beijing, opening on 3 November 2018.

The show will feature works on canvas and a video work based on the artist’s ruminations on how myths are related to various issues in the Philippines today. “In this new body of work, I have created forests, mountains and landscapes, familiar yet otherworldly,” the artist notes. “The elements in the myths are juxtaposed with present conditions prevailing in contemporary society.”

‘Abundance in Sunlight’ (2018) is based on Kabunian, a mythical god. The story goes that Kabunian made human beings out of mud and used a feather to tickle the ears to make them come to life laughing, in a commentary about the sunny disposition of people in the Philippines despite the hardships that they face. 

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 300 x 500cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 300 x 500cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

There are also large-sized works each measuring 3 metres by 5 metres, including ‘The Beggar’s Bowl’ (2018), ‘Urban Sprawl’ (2018) and ‘Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink’ (2018). 

A short-stop animation film titled ‘Kalahati Dalamhati’ (2018) comments on overseas Filipino workers and their detachment from the family members they work hard in foreign lands to support, based on the Filipino mythical creature manananggal, whose torso separates from the bottom half of its body at night to feed on the blood of human beings before becoming whole again before the new day. 

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Big Catch’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 243.8 x 182.8cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

Rodel Tapaya, ‘Big Catch’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 243.8 x 182.8cm. Image courtesy of Tang Contemporary and Arndt Art Agency.

All the works at the exhibition are for sale, with prices available upon request. The highest price for a work by Tapaya achieved at auction is for ‘Big Fish’ (2010), which hammered at USD128,999 at Salcedo Auctions in March 2016. More recently, in September 2018, earlier works ‘Subukan Mo’ (2006) and ‘Pagmumuni-muni’ (2006) hammered at USD6,086 and USD5,533 respectively at Salcedo Auctions, and ‘’Nang Makulong and Manok ni Mayor Kilabot’ (2007) at USD13,918 at León Gallery. 

From 24 February to 15 April 2018, ‘Urban Labyrinth’ was another solo presentation of Tapaya’s works at Ayala Museum in Manila, co-presented with A3. And from 7 March to 25 April 2018, Tang Contemporary, Bangkok had put up a three-person show ‘Nirvana: Tropical Rebirth’ featuring Tapaya along with Indonesian artist Heri Dono and Thai artist Pannaphan Yodmanee.

‘Myths and Truths: Recent Work by Rodel Tapaya’ will run till 15 December at Tang Contemporary’s Beijing space.