Hilgemann Projects


David Medalla

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David Medalla (* 1942 in Manila) is a pioneer of land art, kinetic art, participatpry art and live art. He currently works and lives in London. At the age of 12 Medalla was admitted as a special student at Colombia University in New York upon the recommendation of american poet Mark van Doren. Medalla's tutor at Colombia was Professor Moses Hadas under whom he studied ancient greek drama. Medalla also attended the lectures on modern drama by Eric Bentley, modern literature by Lionel Trilling, modern philosophy by John Randall and the poetry workshop by Leonie Adams. In New York City David met the american actor James Dean and the filipino poet José Garcia Villa, who encouraged Medalla's early interest in painting.

When he returned to Manila in the late fifties, he met Jaime Gil de Biedma (the catalan poet) and the painter Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who became the earliest patrons of Medalla's art. In Paris in 1960, the french philosopher Gaston Bachelard introduced David's first performance in France at the Academy of Raymond Duncan, the brother of the great american dancer Isadora Duncan. Years later in Paris, the french poet Louis Aragon (co-founder of surrealism with André Breton) introduced another performance by Medalla and hailed the filipino artist as a genius. Marcel Duchamp made a "medallic" object for David. From 1964 - 1966 Medalla edited SIGNALS newsbulletin in London. In 1967 he initiated the Exploding Galaxy, an international confluence of multi-media artists. From 1974 - 1977 he was chairman of Artists for Democracy and director of the Fitzrovia Cultural Centre in London. In 1994 he founded the Mondrian Fan Club in New York with Adam Nankervis as vice-president, in 2000 the London Biennale, the idea for which occured to him while he was on a boat en route to Robben Island, off Cape Town, South Africa, during the 2. Johannesburg Biennale in 1998.

David Medalla has given numerous exhibitions in many parts of the world. He was included by Harald Szeemann in the exhibitions Weiss auf Weiss (1966) and Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969) (both at the Kunsthalle in Bern) and in the DOCUMENTA 5 exhibition in 1972 in Kassel. Among solo and group shows David Medalla participated in are: Travels II curated by Chris Dercon at the Clocktower Gallery in N.Y.; Art Lifts Berlin (1998) curated by Friedrich Meschede at the DAAD Galerie in Berlin (when David was in the Berliner Künstlerprogramm); Pinaglabanan in Manila; Micropolitquess curated by Paul Ardenne at Le Magasin in Grenoble, France; Fluxattitudes at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in N.Y.; The Other Story (1989) curated by Rasheed Araeen at the Hayward Gallery, London; Perfotijd (1984) curated by Wink van Kempen at the Theatre de Lantaren in Rotterdam; Live in your Head (2000) at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and the Museo de Chiado in Lisbon; L'Informe (1996/97) curated by Yves-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Transforming the Crown (1998) at the Haarlem Studio Museum, N.Y.; Live/Life (1996/97) curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist at the musZ?e d'art moderne de la ville de Paris and at the Centro Cultural do Belem, Lisbon; A Quality of Light (1997) at Tate St.Ives, Cornwall; Century City (2001) at the Tate Modern, London; Out of Actions (1998) at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and MAK in Vienna and Tokio; 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1998), South Africa; Force Fields (2000) curated by Guy Brett at the Hayward Gallery in London (among other). David Medalla has been a lecturer at the Slade School of Art, University College London, St.Martins School of Art, Chelsea School of Art, Goldsmiths College of Art, the University of Southhampton. In 1989 he gave a series of lectures on global cultures at MOMA, the Museum of Moderm Art of N.Y. He has also lectured at the University of Hawaii in Manva, Cooper Union in N.Y., the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, the ƒcole des Beaux Arts in Bruxelles, the Fundacion Tapies in Barcelona, the Sorbonne in Paris, the British School in Rome and many other schools, universities and colleges all over the world.