BADONG: SALVADOR BERNAL DESIGNS THE STAGE

Friday, July 01, 2016

Badong: Salvador Bernal Designs the Stage is currently on view at the Ateneo Art Gallery. A touring exhibition organised by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), it honors the late Salvador F. Bernal (1945-2011), National Artist for Theater Design, in a retrospective that highlights his various design projects in ballet, opera, theater, and film from the 1970s until 2011.



Acknowledged as the “Father of Theater Design in the Philippines”, Bernal was instrumental in elevating theater and production design as a fine art and a profession. He helped establish the Production Design Center (PDC) as a division under the then CCP Performing Arts Department which he headed from 1981-1994. The PDC building was inaugurated in 1993, a three-story building designed with facilities to execute large-scale theater props and fabricate and store costumes. Bernal also initiated the founding of the Kapisanan sa Pilipinas ng mga Production Designer or KAPPROD, which later became the Philippine Association of Theater Designer and Technician (PATDAT).

The exhibition is a homecoming of sorts and will reintroduce Badong Bernal to a younger generation of Ateneans. He is one of the school’s illustrious alumni and was instrumental in strengthening the humanities program and theater practice in the university. He taught under the Interdisciplinary Studies Department and Fine Art Program. Guest curators for this exhibition include Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, Gino Gonzales, and Ricardo Cruz, all Ateneo graduates and close friends and collaborators of Bernal. They provide an insightful perspective to the artist’s professional practice as well as his personal life.

Tiongson, former CCP Artistic Director, authored the book on Bernal published in 2007. He and Bernal worked together in the 1990s for productions such as Pilipinas Circa and Realizing Rama. Under Tiongson’s term as CCP Artistic Director, Bernal’s long-time dream of setting up the Production Design Center was realized.

Gino Gonzales was a student and apprentice of Bernal, who encouraged him to pursue further studies in Set and Costume Design. He completed his MFA in Theater Design at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University in 2001. Gonzales has since designed sets and costumes for various theater productions in Manila, Singapore, Japan and New York. Gonzales’ general design brief for the exhibit was further developed by the creative team of B+C Designs, headed by Baby and Coco Anne.

Ricardo Cruz, head of the CCP Production Design and Technical Services Division and lead coordinator of this project, also trained under Bernal. He assisted Bernal in many projects at the CCP from the 1980s to the 1990s. Since taking over the post of Bernal at the CCP, Cruz has continued on the advocacy to promote and professionalize theater design practice.

The exhibit features scale models, drawings and sketches, costumes, and digital images of Bernal’s many projects, among them created for Ballet Philippines and Tanghalang Pilipino where he was then CCP resident designer. He collaborated closely with theater stalwarts of these two CCP resident companies such as Alice and Denisa Reyes and the late Rolando Tino.

Badong: Salvador Bernal Designs the Stage will run until July 2, 2016 at the Ateneo Art Gallery. Viewing hours are 8:00 am - 7:30 pm, Mondays to Fridays; 8:00 am - 6:00 pm, Saturdays. The Ateneo Art Gallery is open to the public. Individual visitors, Ateneo students, faculty, and staff may tour the galleries free of charge. For groups larger than 20, there is a fee of Php 30.00 per head.

For more information, contact the Ateneo Art Gallery Curatorial Office at 426-6488.

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