Ronald Ventura “E.R. (Endless Resurrection)”

Tyler Rollins Fine Art

poster for Ronald Ventura “E.R. (Endless Resurrection)”

This event has ended.

Entitled E.R. (Endless Resurrection), the exhibition takes its inspiration from the intense, often quite bloody rites that are still performed during Lent in certain parts of the Philippines, such as San Pedro Cutud in Pampanga province. There, penitents gather during Holy Week for public events, not officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, in which Christ’s passion and crucifixion are re-enacted, with penitents flagellating themselves using bamboo sticks tied to a rope, or spending hours nailed to wooden crosses.

Ventura has long been fascinated with how tradition and faith shape identity in his native Philippines, and the ways in which the powerful influences of contemporary global pop culture continue the process of cultural syncretism that has been going on in the country since the beginning of Spanish colonialism in the 16th century. For the exhibition, he has created a series of oil paintings incorporating images of flagellants alongside a swirling host of figures inspired by European Old Master paintings (particularly the monsters of Hieronymus Bosch), alongside motifs and texts taken from vintage carnival posters, advertisements, and comic books. It is a meditation on Filipino history through visual and performative culture: the history of faith and its expressions in ritual, art, and in the human body itself, tracing the evolution of iconic motifs in popular visual culture, from the demons of the Middle Ages to the comic book characters of today. The exhibition also includes photographs and videos taken by the artist during Lenten rites, as well as a life sized sculpture of a penitent carrying a cloud-like cross.

Born in 1973 in Manila, the Philippines, where he continues to live and work, Ventura ranks as one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation in Southeast Asia. With their unique combinations of figurative motifs, his paintings and sculptures are now among the most recognizable images of contemporary art in Southeast Asia. His work features a complex layering of images and styles, ranging from hyperrealism to cartoons and graffiti. Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted national identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity.

Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.



from September 04, 2014 to October 25, 2014

Opening Reception on 2014-09-04 from 18:00 to 20:00


Ronald Ventura

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