Pio Abad
Malakas & Maganda (1986 – 2016)

Comprising two sculptures, one photograph and one video, the installation Malakas & Maganda (1986 – 2016) questions the mythological iconography of the Filipino conjugal dictators Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and thus addresses the construction of propaganda representation and the role of art facing current events. The work is organized around the leftovers of a copy of a monumental sculpture of Imelda Marcos, which the artist had commissioned and whose remains were stored in his studio.

Several included elements show how this body of work has evolved over time and in reaction to political events in the Philippines. The video footage, for example, was taken inside KADIST exhibition “Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs” with the Museum of Contemporary and Design in Manila in 2016, when the artist requested that his own piece (i.e. copied paintings representing the dictator) be repainted in black to protest against the revisionist funeral organized by current president Duterte. The installation was later presented for the first time as an ensemble at KADIST Paris for the exhibition “Conceal, cover with sand, replicate, translate, restore” in 2017.

In his practice, Pio Abad looks into the social and political significance of objects usually consigned to the sidelines of history. Abad uses different media such as textile, drawing, installation and photography, and employs strategies of appropriation to extract alternative readings and repressed historical events. Abad ties threads of complicity between events, ideologies and people. His artworks glide seamlessly between these histories, enacting quasi-fictional combinations with their leftovers and weaving together threads of complicity between events, ideologies and people. Pio Abad began his art studies at the University of the Philippines before receiving a BA from Glasgow School of Art and an MA from the Royal Academy Schools, London.