Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Reconstructing Memory

Posted by Carren |

Text by: Carren Jao
Photo credit: Catherine Jao

“HE was excited…after I convinced him,” laughingly says Ringo Bunoan of Roberto Chabet’s reaction to her latest exhibition Archiving Roberto Chabet. Unlike other archival attempts, Ringo undertakes a collaboration of sorts, starting from Chabet’s unrealized or undocumented works and including the original artist’s own inputs.

In the basement of the UP Vargas Museum, behind glass doors lies the product of this meeting of minds. Echoing Chabet’s own exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Small Gallery in the 70s, the works are presented just beyond the reach of viewers—like memory, ever present, yet painfully distant, Ringo’s interpretation dares the fringes of the imagination to take center stage.

In the middle of the room, Chabet’s own wooden dug out used in his Boats exhibition are given new life, albeit in a new form. Pointing to the installation, Ringo explains, “It wasn’t exactly the way it was, but I wanted it to be faithful to my memory of it.” On the left wall, framed child’s drawings by Ringo’s daughter sit in the present, as Chabet’s nephew scrawls over his own notepad in the past.

On the far wall, mirrors of varying shapes and sizes, reflect back what is before it—fragmented, but strangely complete in reflection. In the adjoining room, an unassuming bound document lists pages upon pages of Chabet’s work, revealing once again the wealth of his experience and breadth of influence. Like reconstructed pieces of a bygone era, Chabet’s works are whispered in the wind anew, re-imagined with another’s eyes, a fitting exhibition for one whose life’s work has subtly nudged the courses of countless contemporary artists.

Ringo Bunoan
Archiving Roberto Chabet
3 March – 4 April 2009
Cellar Gallery and Basement B
UP Vargas Museum


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