Philippine Pavilion to Present “Behind The Curtain of This Age” at The Venice Art Biennale 2024

August 3, 2023



Rick Formalejo

The Philippines has finally chosen its official representation at the 60th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia. Kabilang-tabing ng panahong ito (Behind The Curtain of This Age) will represent the country in the international contemporary art exhibition.  Carlos Quijon Jr. will curate the exhibit which will feature the works of Mark Salvatus.

Taken during the deliberation for the Philippine participation at the 60th Venice International Art Biennale.
Photo by PAVB-Coordinating Committee

The selected exhibition simultaneously explores currents of mysticism and modernity. It also explores the deep past and the looming future, as well as the coincidence of the cosmopolitan and the vernacular. The exhibit revolves around the ethno-ecologies of Mt. Banahaw. It is a three-peaked forested mountain located at the boundary between Laguna and Quezon, and Lucban, the artist’s hometown. It draws inspiration from how Mt. Banahaw has shaped the music and faith of the people.

Left to right: Victorino Mapa Manalo; Corazon Alvina; and Hon. Loren Legarda
Photo by Elvert Bañares

Furthermore, the title comes from the words of Apolinario de la Cruz or Hermano Pule. He was the radical spiritual firebrand of the people of Lucban, who resisted the discriminations of the Spanish Catholic church.

RELATED READ: The Philippine Pavilion Addresses Environmental Concerns of Metro Manila Estuaries at The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

The Selection Process

A set of criteria guided the selection of the official representation of the Philippines at the Venice Art Biennale. The jurors looked into the attentiveness for material and discourse of each entry. Another consideration is the ability to contextualize art forms within the landscape of a national pavilion in Venice. They also considered the sensitivity to local concerns and openness to intercultural dialogues. The overall sensibility, formal integrity, thoughtfulness, and feasibility was part of the criteria, as well.

Project Visionary and Principal Hon. Loren Legarda at the deliberations of the Philippine Pavilion at the 60th Biennale Arte
Photo by Elvert Bañares
Director of the Museo ng Kaalamáng Katutubò (MusKKat) Corazon Alvina
Photo by Elvert Bañares
NCCA Chair and Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion Victorino Mapa Manalo
Photo by Elvert Bañares

The deliberations happened on July 21, 2023. It was both onsite at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and virtually, via Zoom. Moreover, the jury comprised

  • Ms. Corazón S. Alvina, Director of the Museo ng Kaalamáng Katutubò
  • Biljana Ciric, Interdependent curator based in Shanghai
  • Alexandra Munroe, Ph.D., Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project
  • Victorino Mapa Manalo, Chair of the National Commissioner for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion
  • Hon. Loren Legarda, Senate President Pro Tempore and Project principal; visionary of the Philippine participation at the Venice Art and Architecture Biennale since 2015

About the Curator

Carlos Quijon

Carlos Quijon Jr., Curator of Kabilang-tabing ng panahong ito (Behind the curtain of this age) exhibition, the Philippine Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2024
Photo by Mars  Briones

Carlos Quijon Jr.’s recently curated exhibitions include and land erodes into (2023) at Calle Wright (Manila), object orientations at Gravity Art Space (Manila) and Synthetic Condition at the UP Vargas Museum (Manila). He co-curated the traveling exhibition series Afro-Southeast Asia: Pragmatics and Geopoetics of Art during a Cold War in Singapore (2021), Manila (2021-2), and Busan (2022). Several publications also published his essays, including the Pathways to Performativity in Southeast Asia issue of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art, National University of Singapore, SEA: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia Weiss Publications (Berlin), and in the exhibition catalogue for Allegories and Realities: Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi in Retrospect at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Carlos’s affiliations also include Project and Publications Coordinator for the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN), Art Critic for Artforum, Research Resident for Traveling South, In Theory project CIRCA Art Magazine (Belfast) and The Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories Project: Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong) [2019], Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh) [2020].

Mark Salvatus

Kabilang-tabing ng panahong ito (Behind the curtain of this age) exhibition will feature the works of contemporary artist Mark Salvatus 
Photo courtesy of the artist

Mark Salvatus is a contemporary artist living and working in Quezon City, Philippines. His works have been presented in different exhibitions including the Asian Art Biennale, Taichung (2021), 2nd Lahore Biennale (2020); Sharjah Biennale (2019), 900mdpl, Jogjakarta (2019), PCAN Pavilion, Gwangju Biennale (2018), Thessaloniki Biennale (2017), Philippine Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale (2016), SONSBEEK International, Arnhem (2016); Prologue Exhibition: Honolulu Biennale (2014), 3rd Singapore Biennale (2011), 4th Guangzhou Triennale (2011), Jakarta Biennale (2011 & 2015) and Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama (2011). He exhibited his works in several venues such as Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Manila; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila; Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila; Mill6 CHAT, Hong Kong; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Asia Society, New York; ISCP, New York and Kusntraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin. M+, Hong Kong, MAIIAM, Chiang Mai, Rencontres Internationales Lourve, Paris and Haus der Kulturender Welt, Berlin, 6th Cairo Video Festival and International Competition at the 68th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen also screened his films and videos. He is part of the current traveling show Notes for Tomorrow organized by Independent Curators International (ICI) from 2021- 2025.

Additionally, he had residencies in Asia Culture Center (ACC) Gwangju, South Korea, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, IASPIS Umea, Sweden; Art OMI, New York, Common Room Networks Foundation, Bandung, Indonesia and Goyang Art Studio in South Korea. He co-founded Load na Dito Projects in 2016 with Mayumi Hirano, an artistic and research initiative that explores various modes of producing and presenting contemporary art by organizing and co-organizing a wide range of programs.

The Philippine Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia will be open to the public from April 20 to November 24, 2024.

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