Prelude | Carlos Amorales

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Bellas Artes Outpost Launches in Manila with a Solo Exhibition by Carlos Amorales

Bellas Artes Projects is pleased to open its non-profit Manila exhibition space, the Bellas Artes Outpost, with a solo exhibition by Mexico City based artist Carlos Amorales (b.1970), curated by Artistic Director Diana Campbell Betancourt. The title Prelude alludes to a future act ahead and speaks to the role of sound that echoes across the artist’s diverse practice. This will be the artist’s first exhibition in the Philippines, and acts as a prelude to his residency at Bellas Artes Projects in Bataan later in 2017 where he will revisit work inspired by his residency at the Atelier Calder in 2012. Calder himself was inspired by residencies in India with the Sarabhai family in the 1950s, and this history of cross-cultural exchange and its importance in contemporary society inspires the activities of Bellas Artes Projects, a non-profit initiative supported by NSJBI and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar that seeks to extend appreciation for contemporary art and heritage to new audiences.


Amorales’s family settled in Acapulco via the galleon route from Spain, and their long journey across the Ocean connected them to the Philippines in the Batanes Islands. Personal history aside, there are deep connections between the Philippines and Mexico (and further on in Latin America), with nearly 60,000 crew members sailing back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, some permanently settling in Mexico over the course of two-and-a-half centuries from 1565 to 1815. Similarities in folk music in Latin America and the Philippines are one of the ways that this connection of cultures can be acutely experienced. Music and sound surpass language in their ability to connect people; experimenting with instruments gives people a common place to jam.


Upon entering the free exhibition space, visitors will be enchanted by a score that Amorales and musician Julian Léde commissioned from the legendary Guatemalan composer and sound artist Joaquín Orellana (b. 1937), which is Orellana’s unique take on a segment from the classic Disney Film Fantasia. The short film “Orellana’s Fantasia” from 2013 registers the shadows of a performance by Orellana, who built a set of instruments that are analogue models made to perform as if they where electronic instruments, called útiles sonoros (sound utensils). Each instrument has to be performed by following a score written out of a set of symbols and notations that Orellana invented to do so. Carlos Amorales and musician Julian Léde commissioned him in 2012 to create his own version of the score for a segment of the classic animation film “Fantasia” by Walt Disney, which we hear in this video. Following the experience collaborating with Orellana, the 2013 Amorales film “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” required the artist to work frame by frame from the original animation of Walt Disney. Each frame has been extracted and reproduced several times through a black and white photocopy machine, diluting the original image. Later, each photocopy was manually torn in two pieces, before being digitalized again and reordered through a post-production process. Continuing with the ideas of building abstract scores and the liberation found through the immediacy of the photocopy process, Prelude presents a new series of prints by Amorales that bend notions of what sound could and should look like.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a public programme of talks and children’s workshopsin the Bellas Artes Outpost Salon Space that link the art and music scene of the Philippines to the ideas presented by Amorales and Orellana, and further details will be announced in late January 2017. Bellas Artes Projects extends extreme gratitude to the artist, Kurimanzutto Mexico City, Cesar Garcia of the Mistake Room, Los Angeles in making this inaugural show come together.   The Outpost was designed by Claude Mark Wilson of WE Design and most of the materials were hand crafted in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar by local craftsmen from Bataan.


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