Distilling life with Olan Ventura

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Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

IT is safe to say that on a daily basis, we see Instagram images “filtered to perfection” from celebrities to the ordinary folks around us.

It is this filtered to perfection culture that has made my visit of Olan Ventura’s Unstilled Life exhibit at the Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace all the more intriguing. In a world where we work day and night to show the best part of ourselves, in the best angles possible, Olan’s latest exhibition shows us that there can be beauty found in perspectives otherwise ignored.

In this exhibit, Ventura used ordinary objects, fruits in particular, to depict the message mentioned above. By using ordinary fruits, he distilled and peeled layers of what seemed like ordinary objects and turned them into thought provoking works of art.

His exhibition shows a different spin on subjects that we have all gotten used to such as the produce we use everyday. In his work titled “After and After,” Ventura unhinges what could be ordinary cherries and showcases them wrapped and partially unwrapped thus allowing an individual to see them from a different perspective.


Ventura, who’d rather have his work speak for himself, also says that in order to see beauty in all things, one has to accept that beauty can also be found in other perspectives and angles. Such can be found in “Cream of the Crop,” “perfect, unbruised specimens over-ripe in their realism and then dissected.”

The thought-provoking exhibit has had me, an art novice, thinking about life and how we see situations, things, and people around us. Most of the time, we’re dead set in our own ideals and how we wish for things to be, thinking that this is the only way to live without realizing that sometimes, all it takes is a change in perspective or quick turn of the angle to see that even if life is not what we have always wanted it to be, it’s still a gift and it’s still beautiful amidst the chaos.

All it takes is a change in perspective.

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1 Comment

  1. What you continue to do in your articles is shed on something that ordinarily readers will never venture to go. This is why I continue to anticipate your articles because I get information about our country that I would never find elsewhere. Your articles are upbeat and present an optimistic tone. When I read newspapers, I briefly browse the front pages and then proceed to read anything that amplifies a more positive beat of life. There is another world besides politics and tragic events. Honestly, I have gotten tired of reading about corruption in the Philippine government, poverty, and criminal activities. It does not only bore me but irritates me, Please don’t get me wrong, I am not turning a blind eye on the unfortunate lot of our people. I just want to know what else is there besides tragedy. The dictum when it bleeds, it leads, does, not ring true for me anymore. So when I read an article, listen to music, or view a work of art, my main goal is not to understand but rather to feel good. Meaning, I want to feel hopeful and hopefully trigger a sense of awe and wonder in me. I would prefer a Rembrandt to Picasso, nature painting to nude painting. Wracking my brains out to understand a painting is not my cup of tea. Simple and direct are my criteria for anything including arts. It is a product of age. I don’t have the luxury to be shocked and be provoked at this stage in my life. That is my caveat in my response to your article. Immediately, after reading your piece, I googled the work of Olan Ventura. His work is fine, not bad at all. I did not go, “what the heck is this?” In fact, because of this article, I found out that there are other Philippine artists whose works are something that needed to be brought to bear. So thank you for spotlighting Filipino art.