THE Spectre of Comparison, showcased at the 2017 Philippine Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, will open in Manila on May 23 at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD). It features the works of Filipino artists Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo.

The Spectre of Comparison, inspired by the Spanish line “el demonio de las comparaciones,” from the novel Noli Me Tangere by the National Hero Jose Rizal, is an outline for the practices of the two artists. The puzzling phrase summarizes the experience of Rizal’s protagonist, Crisostomo Ibarra, when he gazes out to look at the Botanical Garden of Manila while at the same time remembering the gardens of Europe.

The showcase delves on the tainted viewpoints when one cannot help but juxtapose two different geographical areas.

Though both Maestro and Ocampo have resided abroad, they have maintained active engagements with the Philippines throughout their careers.

Manila-born Maestro acquired her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, and, after migrating to Canada in 1982, earned her Master of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, Canada. She received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from NSCAD University in 2018. Her multimedia pieces dwell on the topic of minimalist art itself and its connotations of emptiness.

Ocampo, a graduate of Fine Arts in UP Diliman, has been a constant presence in the international art scene for over two decades, and has built up a reputation for tacking revered icons of society. He has been awarded with accolades from the US-based National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy in Rome’s Rome Prize in Visual Arts, and Reader’s Digest’s Artists at Giverny Program. Now based in Manila, he has immersed himself into the local art scene, not just an artist but as a curator.

Curated by MCAD Director Joselina “Yeyey” Cruz, The Spectre of Comparison will run until July 20.

MCAD is located at DLS-CSB School of Design and Arts Campus, Dominga St., Malate, Manila.