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Gabriel Barredo. Photo: Silverlens Gallery, Manila.

Gabriel Barredo (1957–2020)

Filipino artist Gabriel Barredo, whose large-scale, immersive mixed media installations and assemblages constructed vividly kinetic tableaux ambitious in their size and vision, died this week at his home in Manila. He was sixty-two years old.

Born in 1957, Barredo studied sculpture and advertising at the University of Santo Tomas. He exhibited at the Havana Biennale in 1985, graduated in 1991, and represented the Philippines at the São Paulo Biennial in 1994. For the inaugural Art Fair Philippines (2013), he was commissioned to create Asphalt, a thirty-foot cabinet of curiosities filled with dismembered and reassembled found objects such as toys, machinery, and memorabilia from pop culture and the Catholic church. The work was acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and is currently housed at the LVHM Museum in Berlin.

Barredo created Opera, another sprawlingly atmospheric, laboratory-like installation, for the fair’s third iteration in 2015. “A screaming face represents what we all have to go through in life—it’s an endless scream,” the artist said of the work’s incorporation of surgical devices in a 2015 interviewArtforum contributor Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva described the work as “mesmerizing,” “recalling Da Vinci’s science experiments and Giger’s surrealist narratives.” The following year, the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and Ballet Philippines staged an original dance production based on Opera—a collaborative project created by Barredo, choreographer Redha Benteifour, composer Malek Lopez, and writer Yvette Tan, among others.

Barredo’s work is held in the collections of the Singapore Art Museum and has been included in international exhibitions at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; and the Soka Art Center, Beijing. Over the course of his four-decade career, he was recognized with prizes from the Art Association of the Philippines Annual Competition for Painting, the Metropolitan Bank Annual Art Competition, and the Globe Telecommunications Competition, and received the Diwa ng Sining Art Award and the Araw ng Maynila Award.

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