Why do you take and create images?
Ultimately images are a form of public space, in that it’s memory’s form when it succeeds—memory not in the sense of something recalled, but of a mental imprint with the facticity of event, an event that may or may not have happened.
How do you define your photographic/artistic body of work? What subjects do you often explore in your work?
The photography aspect of my work isn’t large, and I turn to it in large part to reference photography itself. One series is all composite images with elements from the web, as it’s about the Internet and contemporary psychological cartography. Another series is of no-parking signs, where the ‘taking’ of the photograph participates in the problematic of public and private ownership. In general then I explore communality.
What motivates your work?
What relationship does your work have with reality?
The aim is critical reflection.
For you, what is the purpose of art?
Despite any imaginable postmodern ethic, art really should help us see things anew, if not more sharply or with some depth.
How do you want the public to respond to your work? Do you have a particular audience in mind?
Ideally, a viewer would enjoy the ambiguity of meaning. I don’t have a particular audience in mind although this question makes me think that I should develop a notion of one.
What is your training? Were you trained as a photographer?
Back when I was an undergrad in medical school (mid-90s) I taught myself to shoot with a Nikon, doing black-and-white photographs. I did nocturnal photos of Malate and was mistaken for a drug dealer by undercover cops. The precinct experience kept me away from photography until 2011, thereabouts.
How do you define your actual professional situation? What are your expectations?
I define myself as an exhibiting artist. The discipline has to do with showing work that has something relevant to say to the contemporary art public.
It’s hard to live off art. Does this affect you and your work?
It does but in a good way. I live a simple life of simple pleasures, and I remain content so as long as I get to keep my large-ish studio and can afford art materials. Interestingly, I’ve used my financial circumstance to edit ideas: if I won’t be happy keeping an artwork for myself should it not sell in the gallery, I won’t execute the idea.
Have you worked with gallerists, curators, institutions and other art professionals? Can you discuss more about this particular relationship?
Yes. It’s a relationship characterized by dialogue. Initial ideas develop during the back-and-forth. Curators are an actively engaged first audience, presenting aspects of viewership that I’m not always aware of, or that I’d been indifferent to before. Gallerists of course are aware of the market, and I have nothing against market concerns. Why? Because limits of the sort are also generative, and despite the look of my work, I’m pro-engagement. Also, there’s no power-struggle involved whatsoever, and I guard my freedom. Most everyone I’ve worked with has been as protective.
In your opinion, what is the current state of contemporary photography in the Philippines?
I’m afraid I lack sufficient knowledge to say something significant to this one.
How do you want contemporary photography to develop in the Philippines?
If anything, I’d like to see more photographs whose compositional intentions are more instantly palpable. Also. what I think we really need are more perceptive and independent-minded art writers who can confidently point out what new or significant things are being done.
Name: Marc Gaba
Lives and works in Manila, Philippines.
2003-2005, Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing, University of Iowa, USA
1999-2001, Bachelor of Arts, Creative Writing, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Philippines
2008 – unfinished, Bachelor of Science, Architecture, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Philippines
2005-2006 – unfinished, Doctor of Philosophy, Creative Writing, University of Denver, USA
1995-1998, Integrated Liberal Arts-Medicine, University of the Philippines – Manila, Philippines
Awards and Recognition:
2015, Venue Grant, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila
2012, Global Filipino Literary Award, Our Own Voice, USA
2010, Nomination by Joselina Cruz, Ernst Young Exhibition
2010, Fellowship, University of the Philippines ‘National Writers’ Workshop Fellowship, Philippines
2009, Finalist, ASEAN Anthem Writing Competition
2008, Finalist, Dorset Prize, Tupelo Press, USA
2008, Finalist, Faber-Castell Art Awards, Philippines
2006, Winner, Boston Review Poetry Contest, Boston Review, USA
2005-2006, Graduate Fellowship, University of Denver, USA
2004-2005, Teaching-Writing Fellowship, University of Iowa, USA
2001, Magna cum laude and valedictorian, UP College of Arts & Letters, Philippines
1998, 2nd Place, Don Carlos Palanca Literary Award, Philippines
2017, Good Morning Gotham, Artery Art Space, Quezon City, Philippines
2016, Meryl Streep, Archivo 1984 Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2016, Property of Space, Artery Art Space, Quezon City, Philippines
2016, Days of Creation, Galleria Duemila, Pasay City, Philippines
2015, There Was a Beginning, There Was an End, Archivo 1984 Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2015, Surface, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City, Philippines
2014, Click, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Makati City, Philippines
2012, Interiors, Art Informal, Pasig City, Philippines
2011, The Scandalous Happiness of Sitting Down, Krem Contemporary Art, Quezon City, Philippines
2011, Birdsounds, Krem Contemporary Art, Quezon City, Philippines
2011, Happy Valentines, Krem Contemporary Art, Quezon City, Philippines
2010, The Knowledge of Knowledge, Art Cabinet Philippines, Makati City, Philippines
2009, Where or When, Silverlens, Makati City, Philippines
2009, The Distance Between Color and Light, Mag:net Gallery High Street, Taguig City, Philippines
2008, Postcapitalism, Mag:net Gallery Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
2017, Recent Works, curated by Gerry Tan, Art Anton, Pasay City, Philippines
2017, Art Fair Philippines, Galleria Duemila and Archivo 1984 Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2016, Catatonic Caturday, Artery Art Space, Quezon City, Philippines
2017, Tribute to Sanso, curated by Ricky Francisco, Museo Sanso, San Juan City, Philippines
2016, Every Island from Sea to Sea: Recent Philippine Art, curated by Patrick Flores, Mind Set Art Center, Taiwan
2016, Tropical Convergence Zone, curated by Gerry Tan, Lena Cobangbang and Rock Drilon, Ilo-ilo City, Philippines
2015, Art Fair Philippines 2016, with Galleria Duemila and Archivo 1984 Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2015, Time Lapse, Tin-aw Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2014, Still, curated by Ricky Francisco, Vargas Museum, Quezon City, Philippines
2014, Rhapsody in Abstraction, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Makati City, Philippines
2013, Art Fair Philippines with Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Makati City, Philippines
2012, Conversations of Cities, Tin-Aw Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
2012, After Mirth, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Makati City, Philippines
2011, Dia de los Muertos, Secret Fresh Gallery, Ronac Art Center, San Juan City, Philippines
2011, Shop 6, Mo Space, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City, Philippines
2011, Flowershow: Contemporary Takes on the Floral, Krem Contemporary Art, Quezon City, Philippines
2011, Krem, Krem Contemporary Art, Quezon City, Philippines
2009, Stick with the Enemy, Mo Space, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City, Philippines
2008, Map Ruminations, Art Cabinet Philippines, curated by Dindin Araneta, Makati City, Philippines
2008, Play Money, Museum Foundation of the Philippines’ Art After Dark, Makati City, Philippines
2008, Inkling, Gutfeel and Hunch, curated by Poklong Anading, National Museum, Manila, Philippines