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  • Photos by Chana Garcia  
  • Shinji Manlangit (L) & Luis Santos (middle)  
  • Nice Buenaventura, Shinji Manlangit, and Jel Suarez  

08/26/15 BaBEL opening at Underground Gallery

Words by Margarita Buenaventura

Simple always works, be it in art or in any aspect of being. But simplicity can be quite complex, something that BaBEL curator Nice Buenaventura seems to understand very well. In Building a Better Edifice Leisurely (BaBEL), an exhibition by 20-plus artists of varied practices, Buenaventura eschewed a theme and constrained the artists to a simple set of rules. That they should make use of all four blocks in creating their art piece, that their shape remain recognizable despite any additions or subtractions, and that assembling the blocks together is optional.


What came out of these instructions is a gamut of perspectives, limited only by space. The exhibit was a prismatic tableau, from the utterly simple to the totally bizarre. People came together to see work by local artists such as Dex Fernandez, Nilo Ilarde, Luis Santos, Czar Kristoff, Costantino Zicarelli, and Jel Suarez.


The opening night seemed to be a personification of what Buenaventura and her team called an “Edifice Complex” — the intimate gallery saw people leaning against the walls, drinking beers against the bannister of an ancient mall. It was in many ways totally bizarre, as well. But like the shapes they came to view, it worked, somehow.

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BaBEL runs until Sept. 8 at Underground Gallery. Second floor, 2130 Makati Square, Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.