ALCUAZ. For those who enjoy the visual arts among us, it is a name that has an almost mythic quality to it. When his name is said, the image of an eccentric genius often comes to mind; the artist who lived in a hotel; who could paint so many works in such a short time, whose works are exhibited in many museums in Spain, who was granted the Order of Genius, by the French Government, who could recite entire poems at a drop of a hat, and yet, had the youthful spirit to play pranks or music from a handheld keyboard which he always brought with him to friends and even strangers he met at the lobby of the hotel. His nomination to the roster of our National Artists was embroiled in the controversial concurrent appointments of other nominees. Thankfully, the merit of his works was enough. His tapestries, abstract works, cycloramic landscapes of Manila, nudes, still life’s, his famous Tres Marias, which combined, number in the thousands; and the portraits he made of the important people of Philippine Society made such an indelible impression to the art lovers of the previous generations. But to many younger art connoisseurs of today, he is an enigma. His real name, Federico Aguilar raises questions on why the name Alcuaz is used.
To celebrate the 89th birthday, and to relaunch Art Lounge Manila in its new space at The Podium, the Art Lounge Manila and the Alcuaz family jointly present FEDERICO ALCUAZ UNVEILED: Select Works from the Alcuaz Family Collection. The exhibition is presented to shed light on the mystery that is Alcuaz, and allow younger audiences to bask in the light of his genius. With works representing almost all the decades of his artistic career, the exhibition presents different aspects of his practice as well allow the public to see samples of the many artistic mediums Alcuaz was adept in. The exhibition opens on May 22, 2021 and closes with an afternoon with Christian Aguilar who will give a talk about his father, and hold an authentication session at the gallery.
FEDERICO ALCUAZ “UNVEILED” is co-presented with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
About the Artist
Federico Aguilar Alcuaz was born the sixth of eleven children to lawyer Mariano Aguilar, and home maker Encarnacion Alcuaz, on June 6, 1932. His father was a multi-talented but pragmatic man – a lawyer and an accomplished musician- composer who had a concert hall within the compound of their home in Santa Cruz, Manila, in the corner of Santo Domingo and Macopa.
Like him, Aguilar Alcuaz would be musically inclined, as he went to San Beda on a scholarship as part of the school orchestra playing the cello. He would also study and finish law, like his father. He studied at the Ateneo de Manila, while being cross-enrolled at the University of the Philippines. From 1949, at the early age of seventeen, he took up painting classes at the UP College of Fine Arts, and in support of his talent, the kind priests in Ateneo gave him a small studio where he could paint. An autodidact, he has already taught himself the rudiments of painting on his own. So he probably took to the formal painting classes with ease.
He had several solo exhibitions as well, like his solo at the Itoh Gallery in Tokyo, reputedly the first for a Filipino artist, in Japan and solo exhibitions at Malacanang Palace in 1966, and the Luz Gallery in 1967.
What would be interesting is how he gets selected to represent the Philippines on a Harvard University International Seminar on Arts and Letters, where he would meet someone who would connect him with Art Protis, in Brno, Czechoslovakia. This will be where he would embark on discovering a new medium which he would introduce to the country, and other parts of the world: the non-woven, pressed-on tapestry. The medium would lend itself well to the abstraction that Alcuaz was developing from the onset of the 1960’s; of which, the Untitled Composition, 1969 is a great example of. It showed the influence of the earlier automatism, but also of the contemporary abstract form of color field painting where works were more inclined to use abstraction to resolve composition rather than express fervor or religious feeling. He would stick with these two forms well into the latter part of his career, as the abstract works from the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s which are included in this exhibition.
“Unveiled” Federico Aguilar Alcuaz will be on exhibit at Art Lounge Manila at the Podium, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila from May 22- June 6, 2021. For inquiries and viewing appointment, you may send us a message +63 977 8398971/ +63 998 9937968 or email us at email@example.com. For more details log on to https://artloungemanila.com