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Cian Dayrit

The interdisciplinary practice of Cian Dayrit (b. 1989, Manila, Philippines) explores colonialism and ethnography, archaeology, history, and mythology, through paintings, sculptures, and installations. Dayrit subverts the language and workings of institutions such as the state, museums, and the military to understand and visualize the contradictions these platforms and formats are built upon.

Images Courtesy the artist and NOME, Berlin

The cartographic artworks, often materialized through embroidery, textile, and mixed media collages, plot the patterns of imperialism and feudalism in activities such as the extraction of natural resources and the displacement and exploitation of marginalized populations. At the same time, the works summon new imaginaries that recognize the overlapping struggles and periods of resistance.

His multimedia works examine how empire scored out the maps of the modern world, how its aftermath perpetuates industrial development, and how alternative territories might be imagined from the ground-up. Through narratives that expose the inner-workings of imperial power, Dayrit’s work invites us to reconsider how we spatially perceive and interpret the world. While informed by the experience of colonialism from the perspective of the Philippines, Dayrit’s work nonetheless defies being tied to a specific position or location. Instead, his work and research cross over geopolitical and supranational bearings.

Cian Dayrit studied at the University of the Philippines. He has been exhibited in international biennials, including the Sidney Biennial, Gwangju Biennale, Berlin; Biennale for Contemporary Art; Bangkok Biennale, Kathmandu Triennale, New Museum Triennial “Songs for Sabotage”, New York; and Göteborg Biennial. Dayrit has also participated in exhibitions at Museo Reina Sofia and CentroCentro in Madrid; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; ParaSite, Hong Kong; Hammer Museum, L.A.; and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. His work will be shown in 2024 at Barbican Art Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, UK.

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