Worldwide openings this week

1. Register in order to get a username and a password.
2. Log in with your username and password.
3. Create your announcement online.

13 Sep 2016

Reproductions of Margaret Thatcher's handbags amongst newly-commissioned works in Pio Abad's Notes on Decomposition at CCA Glasgow

Pio Abad, Study for a Flag. 2016.

Pio Abad, Notes on Decomposition
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow


Sat 17 September – Sun 31 October 2016 Tue-Sat: 11am-6pm // Sun: 12noon-6pm Preview: Fri 16 September, 7pm-9pm Free



CCA Glasgow
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow, G2 3JD

Share this announcement on:  |

Pio Abad returns to Glasgow with new body of work created for CCA's gallery spaces, exploring ideas surrounding value, cultural artefacts and the political histories of the UK and the Philippines.

A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Abad is interested in the social and political significance of objects. Using drawing, sculpture and photography, he considers alternative or repressed historical events, unravels official accounts and draws out threads of complicity among incidents, ideologies and people.

Notes on Decomposition will attempt to map our current state of cultural disenchantment through a collection of objects bought, sold and sequestered from 1991 to the present – objects that embody specific moments of political and economic decay and become an inventory of neoliberal fantasy through decorative things.

Abad comments: 'To be able to create this work for the CCA galleries is incredibly fitting as it was during my time as a student at the Mackintosh Building that these interests in political histories, drawing and seriality first came together.

I have been working on the exhibition for almost a year but given how events have unfolded in the past few months, the timing of its opening could not be more appropriate – tropical idylls have recently been re-revealed as the illicit setting for public resources to be converted into private wealth and the political landscape seems to be dominated by impoverished renditions of Margaret Thatcher.'

New large-scale drawings, commissioned by CCA, follow particularly important global auctions, bringing together a concentrated site to understand the mythologies, domestic lives and laundering practices behind these auctioned-off objects. From selling off the confiscated silverware of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos in 1991, to the sale of the Lehman Brothers' collection of Chinese porcelain in 2010 and Margaret Thatcher's personal effects in 2015, the auctions represented in Abad's drawings highlight a global undertaking and interconnectedness of ambition through objects, their beneficiaries and their buyers.

The exhibition also shows Not a Shield, but a Weapon, an installation of 100 newly reproduced bespoke handbags, which trace the effects of trade liberalisation on the city of Marikina in the Philippines, where the bags are produced. Once a thriving site of leather manufacturing, Marikina suffered from the easing of trade restrictions in the early 1990s and has been in decline since. Abad's installation proposes a direct link between Margaret Thatcher's problematic legacy and the history of the city.

The handbags are modelled around Thatcher's black leather Asprey, which was auctioned in 2011 and sold for £25,000 in a charity sale held by the disgraced Tory peer Jeffrey Archer. Each counterfeit handbag will be on sale online throughout the exhibition for the same price as the original was sold at in 2011. A parody of Archer's auction, this sale examines the arbitrary way that objects are valued and considers the various forces that create these reproductions – from destructive economic policies to misguided lifestyle aspirations shaped by colonial legacies and capitalist diktats.

CCA Curator Ainslie Roddick said: 'We were first interested in how Pio's work tells the story of objects and archives, and how his work maps a certain history of the Philippines that is rarely discussed here. This show links together two seemingly very different political and international histories – but his work allows us to see how intertwined our policy and politics have been, looking at the legacy of Thatcher, global economics and corruption across the world.

For this show, Pio has painstakingly hand-drawn a vast and eclectic collection of auction artefacts, owing to an urge to bring his own hand back in to his production process and allowing us to think about the often forgotten significance of labour and craftsmanship within the creation of cultural objects. The objects he has chosen are venerated for their connection to powerful people or catastrophes, and find a new, uneasy cultural value within a wealthy underworld. Pio is great at translating these relationships through a diverse approach to making and it has been a pleasure to work with him to develop the show.'

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events.

On 18 October, there will be a free screening of Tony Manero, a lurid depiction of the effects of political realities on individual desires amidst the violence of everyday life in Pinochet's Chile.

Pio Abad will be in conversation on 25 October with CCA's curatorial team and curator Natasha Ginwala discussing some of the themes of the show.

Manila in the Claws of Neon screens at CCA on 26 October. Lina Brocka's film follows fisherman Julio, who arrives in Manila looking for his girlfriend, and is considered one of the greatest achievements of Filipino cinema.

CCA is grateful for support from Outset Scotland for this exhibition, and to Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI's Film Audience Network, for their support of the accompanying film programme.