Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Museum That Art Built

from the article,

What sets apart this museum from others like the Met in Manila or New York, or the Louvre in Paris, is that in the Bencab Museum, nothing is static. It’s all about flow: the flow of art and energy from one space to another, giving the viewer a sense of interconnectedness between Bencab’s remarkable collections of Cordillera art and Philippine contemporary art, which include the works of Baguio artists like Santiago Bose, Roberto Villanueva, Benhur Villanueva, Leonard Aguinaldo, Jordan Mang-osan, and John Frank Sabado. Sculptures by Junyee punctuate the spaces dedicated to the permanent collection, which includes the art of Virgilio Aviado, Elmer Borlongan, Charlie Co, Marina Cruz Garcia, and Emmanuel Garibay, among many others.

All the spaces of the four-level museum connect with each other, and with the surroundings through large terraces, open doors, and windows. On the top level, an outdoor mural by Bencab encourages visitors to step outside and have a look. For “32 Variations on Sabel,” he worked on site at the Mariwasa tile factory, painting his muse Sabel, a bag lady whom he would draw from his window when he lived in Bambang, near Tondo, Manila. On the second level, a sculpture by National Artist Arturo Luz has found a perfect home in a big open space outside the museum’s own Gallery Indigo, with a huge rock and the big blue sky as a backdrop.

“The vision was to create a museum that blends into the surrounding property and landscape,” says Hong Kong-based architect Raymund Sarmiento, who worked with National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin for more than a decade. “And as this is a personal museum, it should reflect the client’s personality. Ben has a simple fa├žade, but he has such a deep knowledge of things around him. So I said to myself: That is the concept!”


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