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January 22nd, 2010
Museum Presents Installations by Two Contemporary Artists as Part of City-Wide Philagrafika Festival


The printed image lies at the heart of the work of many contemporary artists, but just as printed materials have become ubiquitous in visual culture, passing nearly unnoticed, so too have print processes become an integral part of art-making without always being acknowledged. The central role of the printed image in contemporary art is the focus of the international festival, PHILAGRAFIKA 2010, to be held throughout the city of Philadelphia January 29-April 11, 2010, with over 300 artists participating in exhibitions and programs at more than 80 cultural institutions. The core exhibition of the festival, The Graphic Unconscious, will be shown across five venues, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Museum will present installations by the Japanese artist Tabaimo (b. 1975) and the Colombian artist Óscar Muñoz (b. 1951) that explore the translation of printmaking into other mediums and expand its conceptual boundaries.

“As mixing mediums has become common practice, artists have increasingly utilized characteristics inherent to the print to achieve their aesthetic and expressive goals,” Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Shelley R. Langdale explained. “This engagement with the print is very much at work in the Museum’s installations. Óscar Muñoz’s inventive applications of printmaking techniques create unstable images that explore the relationship between image and memory, while Tabaimo blends stylistic elements of traditional Japanese woodcuts with more contemporary visual references in video projects that address the complexities of cultural identity and social interaction.”

Widely regarded as one of the premiere video installation artists working in Japan, Tabaimo often portrays communal places such as public restrooms, commuter trains, apartment buildings, and bathhouses—settings where anonymity and intimacy collide and the orderly surface of Japanese society is disrupted. Seemingly mundane tasks and events often take absurd, comical, and occasionally grotesque twists in Tabaimo’s work. Her installation dolefullhouse (2007) will make its U.S. debut in the Museum’s Stieglitz gallery. Drawing on the aesthetics of traditional Japanese woodcuts as well as the frequently violent narratives of Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime), Tabaimo’s video projections (often life-size or larger) are installed in well-defined spaces or stage-like settings in which they directly confront, envelop, or otherwise encompass the viewer. Tabaimo made her debut at the age of 24 when her university graduation project, a video, won the Kirin Contemporary Award Grand Prize in 1999. Since then she has participated in numerous exhibitions in Japan and Europe, including the Yokohama Triennale (2001) and the Venice Biennale (2007).

Óscar Muñoz, considered one of the most important visual artists working in Colombia today, blurs the boundaries between photography, printmaking, drawing, installation, video and sculpture. He also draws on the particular circumstances of his native country to address the universal themes of loss and remembrance. Using innovative processes such as screenprinted charcoal portraits on water he creates images that explore the ephemeral nature of existence, memory, and history. Muñoz will present two installation projects in the Museum’s Berman Gallery. Narcisos en proceso (Narcissi in process) (1994-ongoing) is a set of screenprinted charcoal self-portraits on water, while the video installation Biografias (Biographies) (2002) presents a haunting suite of portraits taken from newspaper obituaries.

The artist’s career spans three decades and includes solo exhibitions and group shows around the world, including biennials in Cuba (1997), Prague (2005), Cuenca (2004), and Venice (2007).

Related events

Opening Lecture and Artist Conversation: Friday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m, Van Pelt Auditorium

Shelley Langdale, the Museum’s Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, and José Roca, Artistic Director of the art festival Philagrafika 2010, discuss the work of Tabaimo and Muñoz, followed by a conversation with Muñoz. Free after Museum admission

Artist Talk & Panel Discussion: Friday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m., Seminar Room

Three artists featured in Philagrafika 2010 talk about their work and discuss the role of the print in contemporary art. Free after Museum admission.

About Philagrafika 2010

The institutions participating in The Graphic Unconscious exhibition are: Moore College of Art & Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Print Center, Temple Gallery, Temple University, and Tyler School of Art. Thirty-five artists from 18 countries will be represented. The curatorial team responsible for the exhibition includes Philagrafika 2010 artistic director, José Roca; John Caperton, Curator, The Print Center; Sheryl Conkelton, Independent Curator; Shelley R. Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Lorie Mertes, Rochelle F. Levy Chief Curator/Director, The Galleries at Moore; and Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

PHILAGRAFIKA 2010 is the inaugural presentation of an international festival celebrating the print in contemporary art that is based in Philadelphia with installations and exhibitions at a broad range of cultural institutions and sites in the city. For additional information about the festival please refer to the website: www.philagrafika2010.org.

These installations are part of the multi-site exhibition Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with Philagrafika, a nonprofit arts organization in Philadelphia that provides leadership for large-scale, collaborative initiatives with broad public exposure. Program support for The Graphic Unconscious is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for the Philadelphia Museum of Arts presentation of the installations by Óscar Muñoz and Tabaimo was provided by the Ministerio de Cultura de Colombia and the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia, the Sicardi Gallery, Houston, Texas, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and other generous individuals.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Marketing and Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at (215) 684-7860. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100, or visit the Museum's website at www.philamuseum.org.

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