NCCA showcases Genodepa’s steel sculpture installation

Ilonggo artist Martin Genodepa’s steel sculpture installation titled “Something There Is That Doesn’t Love A Wall” is currently displayed at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Gallery.

The title is a line borrowed from the poem Mending Walls by Robert Frost. The poem primarily deals with maintaining good relations with people by setting up and maintaining a wall or fence.

But the installation is not about erecting or mending walls. On the contrary, it is about breaking free from them if not tearing them down altogether.

Folk narratives or scenes from horror movies, wherein ghosts or spirits pass through or appear on walls, also inform the installation. It also reminisces drawings on walls made by young children. The artistic goal is to create a haunting yet contemplative installation that can be perceived from and appreciated at different levels: personal, political, spiritual, economic, and cultural.

The installation is also an experiment on the parameters of sculpture, specifically, the wall-bound kind. The work questions and even trifles with relief sculpture, chiefly, the extent of the projections possible in alto-relievo or high relief.

Genodepa is an artist-teacher and cultural worker. He does sculpture and installations and has had 16 solo exhibitions in venues such as Hiraya Gallery, Alliance Francais, Red Mill Gallery, UPV Art Gallery, Museo Iloilo, and the Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo (Small Gallery) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

His sculpture and installations have been well-received by art critics – Alice Guillermo, Patrick Flores, Tito Valiente, and Emmanuel Torrres, among others.

He was instrumental in setting up the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) serving as its first Museum Director from 2017 to 2018. In 2022, he completed the establishment of the UPV Museum of Art and Cultural Heritage (UPV MACH) through a 2020 Higher Education Development Fund grant from the Commission on Higher Education.

His awards and recognitions include the Freeman Fellowship for Asian Artists as artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center (USA) in 1999, the UP Outstanding Professorial in the Visual Arts in 2008, and the Ford Foundation International Fellowship in 2009 to 2011, the Jose Asuncion Joya Professorial Chair for the Arts in 2013 and 2014, UP Artist I in 2018-2020, and the One UP Professorial Chair 2022-2023 for Creative Work.

“Something There Is That Doesn’t Love A Wall,” Genodepa’s 17th solo exhibition, is supported by the UP Visayas Creative Work Grant. The exhibit runs until 31 August 2023. (UPV OICA)