For a National Artist who just sold one of his “Sabel” canvases for P47 million two weeks ago, Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera looked quite unassuming as he held court among black suits mixed with black satin and lace in last night’s launch of his latest exhibit, “BenCab in Two Movements” at the Yuchengco Museum.
This year marks BenCab’s half century as an artist, but this must be the first time he permitted half a hundred of his opuses, which he himself hand-picked from his sketchbooks, to be digitalized to enhance viewer experience.
The exhibit, which runs from October 1, 2015 to January 16, 2016, uses customized Samsung Smart TV and mobile apps to enable the museum-goer to interact with BenCab’s art.
Touch his pen-and-ink sketch of dancers on rows of tablets on the wall and watch them morph from one stance to the next.
Try to mimic his animated sketch projected on a screen, in effect dancing in tandem with his artwork.
Retrieve information on his painting that would otherwise fill panels upon panels of long descriptions from slim Samsung tablets lined up before his canvases.
One can simply scroll through the extensive information, listen to interviews with the artist or opt to view each work in augmented reality for a deeper understanding of Ben Cab’s handiwork.
At a single touch, a visitor can watch and listen to BenCab in his studio as he pauses between painting sessions and then pick up his brush again while his model resumes her sitting.
It’s a very intimate experience, watching such a great artist wield his brush as he explains his creative process.
Simultaneously, his collaborator-models, London-based Chinese dancer San Lee and Polish dancer-choreographer Paulina Wycichowska, move across his studio floor, improvising movements which he captures on canvas even as I behold his already finished work in front of me.
Indeed, digitization brings the artwork closer to viewers, enabling audiences to grasp what makes the artist’s mind tick, what is truly involved in creating the finished image – things they will not ordinarily see if they just look at a static canvas.
In effect, technology becomes the ultimate curator of the artistic showcase.
“Everyone should experience art,” Samsung AV Group Director Jupiter Guibone emphasized.
What’s more, “Smart TV is the perfect vehicle to make art accessible to all. It’s Samsung Philippines’ honor to present BenCab’s works through the wonders of technology, showcasing two forms of artistry through brush strokes and dance movements.”
It took Samsung people six months to mount the exhibit, from conceptualization at the cost of around P2 Million.
Of course, the longest part was the legal aspect – about four months, getting the permits for each of the artist’s work. Digitalizing BenCab’s was a mere six weeks max.
“BenCab’s work captures the depths of Filipino artistry. We are proud to showcase this using Samsung’s innovative technologies,” Guibone explained.
After all, marrying traditional painting with digital technology is part of Samsung’s commitment to promote artistic expression and cultural development.
“By leveraging its strengths in technology, Samsung provides an ecosystem for digital art creation and presentation,” he concluded.