Archiving Roberto Chabet

For those of you who don’t know about Roberto Chabet, he’s something of an icon in the Manila artist community: in terms of both his creative production, commitment to mentoring younger artists, and his place in Philippine art, I can only parallel his work and impact in the community to that of the Bay Area’s own Carlos Villa. (Carlos and Roberto are of the same generation, and in fact even met each other when Carlos visited the Philippines a long while back).

Ringo Bunoan is an extraordinary artist and mentor in her own right: she co-founded the legendary art space Big Sky Mind, and will be exhibiting her own work in San Francisco later this year. When she and I met up in Makati in January, she was fully immersed in the Chabet archives, and has been working tirelessly to put together this massive project, which I’m sad not to get to see:

Ringo Bunoan

The Cellar Gallery and Basement B
UP Vargas Museum
3 March – 4 April 2009

The UP Vargas Museum will open the exhibition entitled, Archiving Roberto Chabet on 3 March 2009 (Tuesday), 6:00 PM at the Cellar Gallery.

In Archiving Roberto Chabet, artist and researcher Ringo Bunoan focuses on the work of the pioneering Filipino conceptual artist Roberto Chabet, beginning with his early drawings and collages in the 1960s to his current installations and objects. For nearly a year now, she has been sourcing clippings, researching dates and titles, scanning photographs, conducting interviews, and cataloguing every single item that bears his name, for a special research project by the Asia Art Archive (AAA) with the support of the Lopez Memorial Museum.

For this exhibition however, the aim is not to present a thorough survey of Chabet’s work, nor even a sampling. Instead, Bunoan has decided to work within the cracks in the narrative, by re-constructing and presenting some of Chabet’s works, which have never been realized or those that have escaped documentation.

Drawing on the idea of surveillance and the desire for knowledge, the exhibition invites reflection on how we can represent the fractured and ephemeral nature of conceptual art. It is a fitting homage to Chabet, who, despite his strong influence, has maintained a strategic distance from the operations of the art world. With this ordering of scavenged data, Bunoan underscores Chabet’s immense contribution to Philippine art while performing a critical statement on the systems and politics that govern our culture, memory and history.


Artist’s Talk by Ringo Bunoan is scheduled on 06 March 2009 (Friday), 3:00 PM at the UP Vargas Museum.

Archiving Roberto Chabet will run until 4 April 2009. For more information, please contact the UP Vargas Museum at 928-19-27 (direct line), 929-19-25 (telefax), 981-85-00 local 4024, 0929-8567909 (mobile), or send an e-mail at The Museum’s official website may be viewed at

The UP Vargas Museum is located at Roxas Avenue, UP Diliman QC. The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM-4PM. Entrance fee is PhP 20 for UP students, faculty, alumni and students (free day for UP students on Wednesdays); PhP 30 for non-UP guests.

Related Posts:

  • None

Leave a Reply