Art at The Podium

The Podium Public Art Project 
Looks at bringing about encounters with artworks that respond to personal ideas of home and belonging combined with a vision of a livable earth for the present and future generations.

Divina Proportione
Foster Divina (F- Size)
Huali wood
130 x 130 x 130cm 

Divina Proportione
Foster Divina (F-Size)
Huali wood
130 x 130 x 130 cm

About the installation

Based on geometry and mathematical precision, Ai Weiwei’s ‘Divina Proportione’ explore Classical ideals of proportion and harmony. Their form is inspired by the polyhedron, and is thought to be based on Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrations for Luca Pacioli’s book On the Divine Proportion written in 1509. However, in tongue-in-cheek manner, Ai claims to have first encountered the shape in the form of a toy that his cats played with, designed in the image of the spherical object. The design of the ‘Divina Proportione’ balls is in line with the artist’s architectural projects, which play with ambiguity in space.

Material and process are always symbolic in Ai’s practice. Here, he uses Huali wood, a material associated with classic Chinese furniture, and the traditional interlocking joinery techniques of the Chinese Ming dynasty (1368- 1644). Complex and ambitious, the object exemplifies Ai’s interest in antique Chinese carpentry, a traditional skill set which is currently being eroded in favour of the mass production and technological advancement of modern-day China.

About the artist

Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing) is one of the most influential living artists. He is best known for his sculptures which conceptually marry traditional Chinese craft and modes of thought with contemporary political messages. Through his work, Ai has been a vocal critic of democracy and human rights in China. 

Ai also served as artistic consultant on the design of the National “Bird’s Nest” Stadium for Bejing’s 2008 Olympics and has had major solo exhibitions around the world, including Helsinki Art Museum (2016), Royal Academy, London (2015), Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2014), Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (2014), Indianapolis Museum of Art (2013), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2012), Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2011), Tate Modern, London (2010) and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2009). 

About the installation

Commissioned for the Leandro Locsin-designed Benguet Center building, this geometric metal sculpture, entitled ‘Cubi’ by Arturo Luz (1926 -2021) originally stood on the small lawn fronting the original building’s entrance. ‘Cubi’, one of the few public sculptures in the Ortigas district, was produced in the 1980s and is one of Luz’s various public sculptures scattered throughout Metro Manila. 

Now gracing the driveway of The Podium’s West Tower, ‘Cubi’ is one of Luz’s unique sculptures, not only due to its size, but also its perceived density. A large cubic structure balancing steadily on one of its corners, the sculpture’s apparent solidity is given some lightness and much grace due to its bisected sides. This method is in keeping with the artist’s sculptural system of interlocking planes and solids. Luz’s modernism was undergirded by the local internationalism which was borne of the 60s, and his practice of abstraction, determined by the distillation of form and figure into the recognisable surfaces of geometry.

About the artist

Arturo Luz (1926-2021) was a painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, and photographer. He founded the Luz Gallery, an influential gallery in the 1960s, and was director of three cultural institutions of art in Manila in the 1970s: the Design Center Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and the Museum of Philippine Art. 

He participated in the 11th São Paolo Biennial in 1971, the Tokyo International Print Biennial in 1974, and the 8th British International Print Biennale in 1984, to name a few. In 1997, he was conferred the distinction of National Artist in recognition of his contributions in the field of the visual arts. 

Luz’s works animate the element of line and let them thrive within generative geometries. His works span a diverse array of forms, figures, and materials that encompass paintings, drawings, etchings, collage, sculpture, photography, and jewelry. His works are starkly bare, strongly structured, and reduce cyclists, cities, jugglers, shells, vessels, buildings, and mountains to their fundamental aspects, the nucleus of their substance.

Cloud Canyons no. 31

Plexiglas tubes, wood, fibreglass, water, soap, oxygenators
254.2 by 199.5 by 199.5 cm. (installation dimensions variable)
Conceived in 1964 and executed in 2016



Lyon, 14th Biennale de Lyon, 2017-18

Wakefield, The Hepworth Wakefield, Hepworth Sculpture Prize, 2016-17

About the installation

The frothing mouth of a dying Japanese soldier, clouds during tropical sunsets in Manila, the bubbling guinataan of his mother’s cooking, a visit to a brewery in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the skyline of New York are images which the artist relates to the creation of his work ‘Cloud Canyons’. First made in 1961 as ‘Cloud Canyons: An Ensemble of Bubble Machines  (Auto-Creative Sculptures)’, and initially exhibited in 1964 at the Signals Gallery in London, the present work is this evanescent sculpture’s thirty-first version.  

The ‘Cloud Canyons’ (an early name for the bubble machines; later iterations would produce the ‘Cloud Gates’, for example, in 1994) is one of David Medalla’s seminal artworks. The work, according to Medalla, was an attempt “to give tangible form to invisible forces… find a model that would show the transformation of matter into energy.”  A kinetic sculpture that works using air compressors to propel a solution of soap and water through large Perspex tubes, it produces any number of soapy clouds and towers of burbling effervesce. This admixture of bubbles and foam presents us with a sculptural form that rises to great heights and then bends, breaks, slides down, and eventually, disappears. Each time the bubbles are set in motion what slowly emerges from the tubes are any number of shapes, always unknown, always new. The ‘Cloud Canyons’ is a sculpture that continually ‘re-creates’ (or auto-creates) itself. Writer Guy Brett wrote that these sculptural works show how form can be monumental, while at the same time, fleeting and imperceptible.

About the artist

David Medalla (1942 – 2020) was a Filipino artist who practiced abroad for most of his life. His work ranged from sculpture and kinetic art to painting, installation and performance art

Medalla is recognised as a significant figure in the development of installation, kinetic and participatory art. His practice deconstructs the idea of sculpture as solid, timeless and monumental by producing objects and situations that can never be repeated and are continually changing form. 

The artist moved to London in 1960, and was included in some of the more important exhibitions during the 1960s and 70s that defined minimal and conceptual practice in Europe and the US.

“There are a few modalities that operate in my process: one involves the material of light, one considers the residue of the absent body; the other builds the unknown, imagined space that brings forward an object.”

About the installation

Sculptor Michelle Lopez’s ‘Chandelier II’ (2020), as seen from across the main lobby, is a delicate trace of light, gracefully held within the languid line of the glass sculpture that encases it.

A sculptor deeply interested in material and their properties, Lopez often aligns form with the history of her chosen material; for this commission, she works with hand-pulled glass, that is, molten glass shaped by the artist as it cools. The work’s final shape is determined by the bodies of the artist and her fabricators as they articulate the large-scale glass sculpture with their breath and gesture.

Lopez researched the history of chandeliers and how glass and light could register movement of the body at such a large scale. There are then several registers of “the figure” to be found in these suspended forms.  ‘Chandelier II’ is a trace of the artist’s movement as each segment of glass is blown, then pulled, to create the form of an uninterrupted stroke.  It outlines, not a shape, but intimates the action of the artist’s process of production. In this work she combines a grand gesture into a sensitive, dynamic, continuous line.

Lopez is also known for her manipulation of minimal, abstract forms that hint at societal collapse and human vulnerability. Her interests, too, are found in the application and materiality of industrial materials—in this case, ropes and their utility. She writes, “The idea for this work began with my interest in rope(s) and its industrial applications to rig, hang, pull—some of these refer to a kind of historic violence. The rope becomes a stand-in for a figure—an absent or implied body.” ‘Chandelier II,‘ can then be read as a fragile rope of glass and light, drawn through the ceiling, and dropping down to drape the space below with its crystalline shimmer of an unspoken violence.

About the artist

Michelle Lopez (b. 1970) is an interdisciplinary sculptor and installation artist. As a builder, conceptualist, and manipulator of materials, Lopez explores cultural phenomenon, stretching to their limits the industrial processes that craft consumerism in its many forms. Lopez’s gimlet eye examines collapsed political and social structures by inverting cultural tropes through the process of building, exploiting industrial materials to expose the hidden boundaries of embedded societal constructions.

Lopez was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019. Her public commissions include those for FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain), Jardin des Plantes, Paris (2014); Art Public, Miami Basel, Miami (2013); The Public Art Fund, Brooklyn, New York (2000).

She has exhibited at Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia; Simon Preston Gallery, New York; Alt/Protocinema, Istanbul; Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris; Fondazione Trussardi, Milan; Deitch Projects, New York; MoMA, PS1, New York.

She has taught at University of California Berkeley, Yale School of Art, the School of Visual Arts, and currently heads the Sculpture division in the Fine Arts Program, at the Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

About the Installation

The work of Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz takes over one of the architectural skylights and spaces of The Podium Mall. Hanging from the skylight is a light installation entitled Amazon (Sing to my Water, Sky and Leafage), and below on the wall are three light boxes shaped like monastery windows entitled Alien Blue Windows.

Built to echo the frame of the skylight, Amazon (Sing to my Water, Sky, and Leafage) projects pure RGB green and blue light on the walls, down through the levels under the skylight filling the Atrium with an ambient atmosphere that calls to mind the experience of light radiating through trees and plant foliage, and of the sky reflecting on the blue water of the Amazon river.

Rosenkranz’s installation presents us with a concern for the ecology of the Amazon rainforest, and for nature in general. Along with the lights, recordings of sounds of the rainforest are played in reverse. While the sound generates a soothing and relaxing background, it also simultaneously invokes the violent processes that nature is capable of.

Below Amazon (Sing to my Water, Sky and Leafage) are Alien Blue Windows.  Shaped like windows from a monastery, the artist uses the windows as metaphor for the many screens that permeate our life, sucking us into an artificial realm of an online existence. For the artist, the Amazon blue is not only that of the Amazonian jungle, but also that of Amazon, the online consumer paradise. The Amazon, is not only the lung of the world that influences the global climate, but also a more tangible presence in our lives through the gleam of a computer screen.

About the Artist

Pamela Rosenkranz (b.1979, Uri) is an artist that works across media often utilizing materials and creating experiences that allow for a sharpened perceptiveness to light, color, scent and sound. She investigates the systems by which people give meaning to the natural world, reflecting on our need to anthropomorphize and construct metaphors to navigate our lived environment. She creates conceptual, abstract sculptures, works on paper, videos, and installations, that nearly always reference the figurative by alluding to its condition as a malleable code that has been repeatedly hijacked by commercial marketing strategies and consumerism.

Rosenkranz represented Switzerland at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 and was the first recipient of the Paul Boesch Art Prize. She has shown her work at the Sharjah Biennale (2019), the Okayama Art Summit (2019), the 15th Biennale de Lyon (2019), KreuzgangFraumünster (2018), Fondazione Prada (2017), GAMeC Bergamo (2017), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (2017), and K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2017).

Her work is held in the collections of the Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris; Louisana Museum of Modern Art; Humlebæk, Denmark; Kunsthaus Glarus; Kunsthaus Zurich; the MigrosMuseumfürGegenwartskunst; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others.