Liberty. Freedom. Independence. Often interchanged, they all exude the same spirit—that which gives anyone the right and autonomy to express and to “free create”. As homage to the Philippine Independence Day, ACIIID celebrates this historic event via a selection of designers and artists whose works strongly convey the message of liberty and freedom–whether as a break-away response to political pressures or perhaps as may be driven by their fervent desire to loudly voice out a social statement. Any individual puts the right to free artistic expression at the forefront in order to fully realize the true essence of creativity.
With Team Manila’s emergence a couple of decades ago, the Philippine visual culture and landscape has since then, got reenergized with this homegrown graphic design studio’s vibrant spirit—one that radiates artistic freedom perfectly combined with patriotism. Their aim to educate and cultivate appreciation for the graphic design lifestyle has been greatly achieved through their body of work—indeed, an elevation and celebration of Filipino creative independence.
Manuel Herz leads a Basel- and Cologne-based architecture and urban planning practice which goes beyond design and extends to research and writing around the themes relating architecture to nation-building. Their well-praised research exhibition/publication project “African Modernism-Architecture of Independence” exposed and explored the national identities of most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa after having gained independence in the cusp years of the 1950s-1960s. This body of work mirrored the dominant aspirations of Africa utilizing the form and materiality of architecture as the primary means to exercise their free spirits in conquering difficult challenges and reaping sweet triumphs.
This European-born artist couple met in Paris of 1958 and has since collaborated and produced scale-defying installation art across political and physical environmental landscapes. The inspirations and ideas come solely from their combined minds and hearts and independent from others, they have successfully mounted more than 20 projects together. Famous for wrapping almost anything, their works ranged from oil drums to heritage buildings and bridges using massive quantities of colorful fabric stitched and tied around piers, pillars and rocks—as if those were portable objects.
The vibrant pop culture of the ‘90s was made even more exciting by the momentous final show of Gianni Versace’s Fall 1991 collection—this grand party was aptly titled “Freedom!90” as it launched the ‘Supermodels’ who were also featured in the music video of George Michael’s coming-out song by the same name. Versace’s fashion brand dominated the world and his elite set of supermodels completely changed the game of fashion runway; his solid influence on this multi-billion dollar industry’s consumer behavior clearly paved the way for one’s manner of dressing and self-expression. Undeniably, the love for and the legacy of Gianni Versace remain unparalleled and our nostalgia of his great talent continue to fill us with exciting intensity.
Marcel Duchamp’s impact on the art world was truly disruptive as he was perceived to be the prime mover of conceptual art—that which utilized the “ready- made” and interpreted them in new ways of thinking. With conviction, he believed that “art is the only form of human activity through which man shows himself to be a real individual”. One of his great works: “Fountain”—has been highly criticized as it continues to inspire—it is a unique example of his form of art expression which he has provocatively conveyed and communicated.
FX Harsono is a key figure in the contemporary art scene whose works reflect the struggles surrounding his family history and his cultural minority amidst the context of Indonesia’s politics and society. His 2016 Solo Exhibition: GAZING ON IDENTITY showcased his artistic advocacy on his battle against discrimination on cultural minorities. Belonging to the ethnic Chinese minority group in the culturally-violent Indonesia at the turn of the century, his artistic redirection—from his radical external expression towards a more reflective internalization—liberated his creative spirit through a journey of his personal history and self-image.