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Sansó’s unique set and costume designs now open at Ayala Museum

MAKATI CITY – In celebration of his seventy years as an artist, Fundacion Sansó and Ayala Museum are co-presenting the exhibition Sansó: Setting the Stage, which opened to the public on July 19, 2016.

Internationally-acclaimed visual artist Juvenal Sansó, whose prolific and distinguished career in printmaking and painting spans 70 years this year, has produced quite a number of stage and costume designs for his favorite theater form: the opera. Sergei Prokofiev’s The Gambler (1965, Aix-en-Provence, France), Giancarlo Menotti’s Markheim (1967, Spoleto, Italy) and Jacques Charpentier’s Beatris (1971, Aix-en-Provence, France) are among the operas which he designed sets and costumes for. Locally, he co-designed the set with National Artist Napoleon Abueva for the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ production of Nick Joaquin’s Tatarin (1978), which was directed by Lamberto Avellana, both of which have now been named National Artists.


Queen of the Night costume design for The Magic Flute by Juvenal Sanso

The exhibition will include Sansó’s colored sketches for costume and stage design for the aforementioned operas, as well as for unproduced operas like Alan Burg’s Wozzek. There are also studies for the operas The Magic Flute, An Important Man, Cadenza, La Clemenza di Tito, and Seraglio.

Complementing the sketches are archival materials and paintings relating to his set and costume design, including rare examples of his reverse paintings, textile designs and cliche verre. Enriching the show are the talents of Toym Imao, James Reyes and Viva Voce. Toym Imao, son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao and an artist in his own right, is creating a maquette and an installation based on Sansó’s scenographic career. James Reyes will be exhibiting several costumes for Mozart’s The Magic Flute, excerpts of which the classical vocal ensemble Viva Voce will perform on opening night.

Photograph from the opera Beatrice. Set and costume design by Juvenal Sanso, 1972, France.

Sansó has won critical acclaim all over the world during his illustrious career, but the awards dearest to the artist are those given to him by the three countries he has considered home. These are: The Distinguished King’s Cross of Isabela which was awarded to Sansó by the Spanish King Juan Carlos on January 8, 2007, the Chevalier de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres conferred on him on February 26, 2008 by the Ministry of Culture and Communications of the Republic of France, and the Presidential Medal of Merit given to him by a grateful Republic of the Philippines on May 20, 2006.

Sansó’s works have been collected by prestigious museums around the world such as the Musee d Art Moderne, Paris; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Art Institute and San Francisco Museum among many others. In the Philippines, one can find his works in the National Museum, Ateneo Art Gallery, Lopez Museum, the Ayala Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, as well as in many respected private collections.

Sansó: Setting the Stage opened to the public on July 19, 2016 and runs until September 18, 2016. It is one of seven exhibitions co-presented by Fundacion Sansó with the Ateneo Art Gallery, Lopez Museum and Library, Vargas Museum and the Ayala Museum to celebrate Sansó’s 70 years as a visual artist. For inquiries, contact Ayala Museum at 759 82 88 and

Main photo: Costume design for The Most Important Man by Juvenal Sanso

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