Jose "Jojo" Legaspi
Born 1959 in Manila, Philippines
Lives and works in Manila, Philippines
Jose Legaspi achieved his degrees in zoology and biology before turning to fine arts in the mid-1980s. His diverse interests may explain the almost clinically accurate observational elements of his work, with its meticulous, prolific use of pastel drawing. Legaspi’s work, which has been described as obsessional and gruesome, draws on his interests in psychology and memory. His imagery is mostly influenced by icons of visual culture in the Philippines. Legaspi references Catholicism, particularly the more violent aspects of crucifixion and martyrdom; horror films and the spectacle of violence; taboos around sexuality, homosexuality and the body that operate in Filipino society. The child like scribbled drawings belies the nightmarish content of his work. Legaspi’s paintings are often free of discernible context, showing people with sallow faces in a state of unnatural isolation. Although their features have recognizable attributes they represent universal types. Using muted colours, smooth brushstrokes and simple lines, his minimal backgrounds serve to thrust his dramatic yet realistic subjects provocatively to our immediate attention. Legaspi deals with the power dynamic between ‘I’ and the ‘Other’ and gives the viewer studies of human interaction derived from the nucleus of his communal spaces. It is hard to tell if these agonizing episodes of social critique are borne out of his bouts of existential unease or if it is the other way around. After all, the paradox of specific human experience is that no matter how specific it is down to the minute detail, it will still stand as a universal concern. The sincere approach to personal experience is precisely shown through Legaspi’s lack of preference towards vibrant colors and other compositional ornamentations.
Selected solo exhibitions are: “Philippine Contemporary Art - Jose Legaspi”, Soka Art Center, Beijing, China (2013), “The Drawing Room”, Makati City, Manila, Philippines (2012).
Selected group exhibitions/fairs are: “The Islands of the Day Before”, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan (2013) “Earth and Elsewhere: Contemporary Works from the Collection - Queensland Art Gallery”, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD, Australia (2013), “Beyond the self: Contemporary portraiture from Asia”, The Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, SA, Australia (2012), “Stories of Dreams and Realities”, Rossi & Rossi Ltd, London, UK (2011), “Beyond the Self”, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT, Australia (2011), “Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia”, Arario Cheonan, Cheonan-si, Korea, Seoul (2010), “Dorodoro, Doron. The Uncanny World in Folk and Contemporary Art in Asia”, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan (2009), “Figuring the Times, Philippine Paintings 1996-2009. A Selection from the Paulino Que Collection”, Finale Art File, Makati City, Philippines (2009), “Sentimental Value-Philippine Contemporary Art”, Soka Art Center - Beijing, China (2008) and “Singapore Biennale 2006”, Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2006).
Jose "Jojo" Legaspi, Untitled, Date Unknown, Charcoal on paper, from the series: Phlegm, 3.048 x 3.556 cm | 1,200 x 1,400 in, # LEGA0001_0002_0003
Manila: The Night is Restless, The Day is Scornful
Group exhibition of contemporary Filipino artists at ARNDT Singapore
Curated by Norman Crisologo
July 12 - August 30, 2014
Opening reception | Friday | July 11, 2014 | 6-9 pm
Please click here to view the list of artworks
"Manila: The Night is Restless, The Day is Scornful" features works by Mike Adrao, Gabriel Barredo, Santiago Bose, Zean Cabangis, Jigger Cruz, Alfredo Esquillo, Dex Fernandez, Kawayan de Guia, José Legaspi, Pow Martinez, Alwin Reamillo, Kaloy Sanchez, Norberto Roldan, Jose Tence Ruiz and Tatong Torres.
Manila is a city of extremes, and at a time that only the extreme makes an impression, it still manages to shock. To wander into its streets, to be among the crowds, to be caught in the din of history that barrages you at every corner is to participate in a drama that began centuries ago, but whose cries and whispers echo resound well into the present. The sacred and the profane, the amatory smiles and the feral gaze are all on display here, as the unforgiving sun of its days give way to the artificial neon of night.
This exhibition is a guided tour of Manila, by asking its best contemporary artists to act as Virgils ushering us into its depths as well as pointing out the stars of the darkened heavens above this infernal city.
Erwin Romulo, 2014
Manila: The Night is Restless, The Day is Scornful, 2014
The catalogue was published on the occasion of the curated exhibition of Norman Crisologo at ARNDT Singapore in 2014.
This publicationis a guided tour of Manila, by asking its best contemporary artists to act as Virgils ushering us into its depths as well as pointing out the stars of the darkened heavens above this infernal city and features works by Mike Adrao, Gabriel Barredo, Santiago Bose, Zean Cabangis, Jigger Cruz, Alfredo Esquillo, Dex Fernandez, Kawayan de Guia, José Legaspi, Pow Martinez, Alwin Reamillo, Kaloy Sanchez, Norberto Roldan, Jose Tence Ruiz and Tatong Torres.
The publication "Manila: The Night is Restless, The Day is Scornful" features the essays of Erwin Romulo, Oliver X.A. Rexles
Self-Published by ARNDT / 70pages, many colour plates
unbound soft cover
Installation view I
Installation view II
Installation view III
Installation view IV