Diana Portela and Rob Wilson of &beyond collective designed the graphic identity and edited the catalogue for the Philippine Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2017.
The title of the exhibition is drawn from the novel Noli me Tangére, by José Rizal, writer, sometime opthalmologist and a key Philippine nationalist, who was executed by the colonial Spanish in 1896. The phrase el demonio de las comparaciones, meaning “spectre of comparison”, encapsulates the experience of the main character in the book as he gazes out at the Botanical Gardens of Manila, unable to refrain from comparing them with those he had seen in Europe. This enigmatic phrase is used to frame the work of the two artists representing the Philippines at the Biennale, Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo, both of whom have been living abroad: Maestro in Canada and France and Ocampo in the US and Spain – proposing “a reading of both the Philippines and the West” through their work.
This idea translates into the book’s design, by playing with notions of duality, echo and comparison in the connecting/contrasting exhibition title typefaces – and the inside/outside of the invitation as one opens it.
Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo
Patricia Paredes and Trina Peñaflorida
Venice Art Biennale