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Calle Wright: Moving House: Unpacking a Life of Critical Art Making by Judy Freya Sibayan

  • Calle Wright 1890 Vasquez St., Malate Manila Philippines (map)

SILVERLENS is pleased to announce CALLE WRIGHT's second exhibition, JUDY FREYA SIBAYAN's Moving House, Unpacking a Life of Critical Art Making. Judy Freya Sibayan will be at Calle Wright for three months from August 3 to November 11, every Friday to Sunday, from 12 noon to 7pm to “unpack” a life of 43 years of art making. 

Last month she turned 65, sold her home of twelve years and now needs to move her archive, her book and art collection. She now has to move house. Calle Wright, a space for presenting art but left in its original state as a house, is where Sibayan will “move house” for a short period of time. It is here where she will deal with the overwhelming “art stuff” she has lugged around all her life. 

A conceptual artist, Sibayan never had a studio. Instead she always has a study where she keeps her books and her archive. She has since donated most of her books to the university where she taught for thirty years, and for the most part, her practice involves art that largely does not enter the art market. Thus, there remains the question of what to do with her artworks, her self-archive and the rest of her books. Sibayan’s site-specific work Moving House, Unpacking a Life of Critical Art Making, an “installation art performance” at Calle Wright is a timely opportunity for her to perform the task of sorting and organizing these materials to see what needs to be kept, sold, given or thrown away. 

But beyond the act of literally unpacking these materials is the more critical performance of unpacking (explaining, accounting for) Moving House as a work of Institutional Critique; work resulting from Sibayan’s resignation in 1989 as director of the Contemporary Art Museum of the Philippines at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Confronted with the realities of power inequities in the production of art, she saw artists as hardly having any agency to make art critical of, or outside the dictates of these institutions. To deal with this crisis of faith, Sibayan began doing Institutional Critique, precisely that kind of art which calls into crisis the institution of art production itself (the institution of all the agents and agencies that partake in the fabrication, performance, conceptualization, circulation, distribution and reception of art). To reflect critically back on her own complicity as being part of this institution, she performs parodies of this institution to enact her critique: how to conceive of art’s subject differently to create new subjectivities and publics; how to produce new meanings beyond those that serve to maintain the dominant culture thus maintain the status quo; how to produce art with a different mode of address to critique dominant formations and power structures?

For her work in Calle Wright, in addition to unpacking her archive, Sibayan will perform as the Museum of Mental Objects and using the DIY MoMO Manual, she will guide anyone who wants to become a franchise of MoMO; publish the nineteenth issue of Ctrl+P after a five-year hiatus, an issue on places and spaces of critical art making; launch her latest parodical work Performance Art Consultancy: Art, Life, Criticality; talk with her visitors on her body of work; converse with others on archives and archiving; give away 1,000 copies of Point d’ironie, the periodical/artist pages published by agnes b. and edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Christian Boltanski; and for the opening day, she will perform with the guests a housewarming prayer A Prayer Piece for the Proliferation, Health and Survival of Places and Spaces of Critical Art Making such as Calle Wright.

Continuing the work of Institutional Critique with Moving House, Unpacking a Life of Critical Art Making, Judy Freya Sibayan will critically reflect back upon her body of work which has come home to roost so to speak, in Calle Wright. 

Moving House, Unpacking a Life of Critical Art Making is a 3-month long performance open to the public from 3 August to 11 November 2018 at Calle Wright, 1890 Vasquez St., Malate, Manila. Viewing hours are from 12nn-7pm, Friday to Sunday. For inquiries, contact or +63 917 587 4011.