Louie Cordero

Philippines 1978

Installation, Sculpture, Painting

Louie Cordero
Louie Cordero
May 23, 2017
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Louie Cordero is a Manila-based artist from the Philippines whose body of work is underlined by an air of ambiguity – his artistic world is often described as bizarre or riotous, and sometimes even grotesque or wretched. On both the conceptual and visual levels, this man’s paintings, sculptures and installations are informed by the complex history of the Philippines. Whenever he is depicting figures from Filipino mythology, Cordero includes blood, gore and military imagery to reflect the eclectic and often violent mix of his nation’s indigenous culture and its mixed legacies. Besides his nation’s folklore, Louie also states that he is inspired by a wide range of fields like kitsch, Indian advertising, American B-movies, comic books and pulp fiction.

Louie Cordero - Dark Slumber / War
Louie Cordero – Dark Slumber / War

The Filipino Blood Boiling in His Veins

Regardless of whether he is making one of his paintings, sculptures and installations, Cordero usually uses anatomical innards, muscle tissue, veins, and eyeballs to construct a new, not quite unclassifiable species that has evolved through his forms, shapes and patterns. Louie juxtaposes these creatures with iconographies taken from the current social milieu, like the images of Catholicism, the relics of Southeast Asia and Africa, the stuntmen of lowbrow Filipino films, the primitivism of native crafts and the localized narratives of Western culture films.

Louie Cordero - Primordial Germination / Pattern for Life's Never Ending Search for utopia, 2014
Louie Cordero – Primordial Germination / Pattern for Life’s Never Ending Search for utopia, 2014

The Magic of His Paintings, Sculptures and Installations

Many older Manila-based artists have also attempted to portray the energy of their surroundings through its socio-historical context. However, what separates Louie Cordero from the rest of his colleagues is that this author is attempting to expose political oppression by using symbolisms of poverty and consumerism concocted in a gloomy or satirical atmosphere. That way, Cordero deviates from the pre-established templates and produces his own rendition of the world around him, celebrating his country’s energy in bright, neon colors with depictions of absurdist moments. In terms of composition, in recent years Cordero has slowly strayed away from a purely figurative and symbolist portrayal in order to adopt more constructivist and abstract forms.

Through his art, Louie Cordero creates a fantastical world which many describe as bizarre and even grotesque

What Makes Louie Cordero and His Art So Unique?

When observed from a historical standpoint, multiculturalism, kitsch and pastiche have all been trademarks of Filipino art for quite some time now. The Philippines are a set of islands with many different dialects and traditions that were divided for a very long time between different imperial colonial forces – this played a major role in the development of this country’s artistic diversity. When observed from that perspective, Louie Cordero’s art is a perfect example of how unique someone’s work can be when developed in such an environment that supports diverse and varied creative vocabularies.

This artist is represented by Jonathan Levine Gallery.

Joao Ruas lives and works in Malabon, Philippines.

Featured image: Louie Cordero – Photo of the artist in front of his work – Image courtesy of The Jonathan Levine Gallery
All images courtesy of The Jonathan Levine Gallery and Louie Cordero.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016UnderbrutLa Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille Group
2016Sonsbeek '16: transACTIONStichting Sonsbeek Internationaal , Arnhem Group
2015Louie CorderoMo Space, Taguig City Solo
2015A3 Presents: Wasak! Filipino Art TodayARNDT, Berlin Group
2015Open Sea: Artistes De Singapour & D'asie Du Sud-EstMusée d'Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon Group
2013Manila Vice: Un regard sur la création contemporaine philippineMusée International des Arts Modestes, Sète Group
2012Surrounded By Water, Over The WaterEquator Art Projects, Singapore Group
2012Permanent CollectionNancy Margolis Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2012Bastards Of MisrepresentationH Gallery, Bangkok Group
2012Panorama: Recent Art from Contemporary AsiaSingapore Art Museum, Singapore Group
2011Louie CorderoBlanc, Quezon City Solo
2011Slow EducationMo Space, Taguig City Solo
2011Gun & Knife ShowCentralTrak, Dallas, TX Group
2011Singapore Biennale 2011Singapore Biennale, Singapore Group
2010Sacred BonesJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2010Soft Death by Louie CorderoOsage Soho, Hong Kong Solo
2010Broke + Louie Cordero + Poklong AnadingManila Contemporary, Makati City Group
2010Group ExhibitionOsage Soho, Hong Kong Group
2010CubeFinale Art File, Makati City Group
2010Siren's HallMo Space, Taguig City Group
2010Gun & Knife ShowCentralTrak, Dallas, TX Group
2010Minimum Yields MaximumMonte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA Group
2010Happy UnhappyBlanc, Quezon City Group
2009Soft Deathosage Singapore , Singapore Solo
2009Saturday Fun Machine a Group ShowFinale Art File, Makati City Group
2009Interior MotivesMo Space, Taguig City Group
2009Beach Blanket Bingo: A Summer MixerJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2009Figuring the Times, Philippine PaintingsFinale Art File, Makati City Group
2009Some RoomsOsage Kwun Tong, Hong Kong Group
2008Absolute HorrorMo Space, Taguig City Solo
2008Futuramanilaosage Singapore , Singapore Group
2008FuturamanilaOsage Kwun Tong, Hong Kong Group
2008Coffee, Cigarettes and Pad Thai: Contemporary Art in Southeast AsiaEslite Gallery, Taipei Group
2007croppedSlot, Sydney, NSW Group
2007No System Can Give The Masses The Proper Social GracesFirstdraft, Sydney, NSW Group
2006Synthetic FuryFinale Art File, Mandaluyong City Solo
2006Synthetic FuryFinale Art Gallery, Mandaluyong City Solo
2006Draw TourFuse Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2006East meats westArt Palace, Austin, TX Group
2006Grand UnionFront Room Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2005Flippin’ Out: Maynila To WilliamsburghGoliath Visual Space, New York City, NY Group
2005you are herevwfa Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur Group
2003Working Towards Our Own Destruction: UtopiaLongwood Arts Project, New York City, NY Group