Maria Taniguchi

b. 1981, Manila, Philippines
Lives and works in Manila, Philippines

Maria Taniguchi is best known for her ongoing series of labour-intensive ‘brick paintings’ that are made of repetitive patterns of grey-black rectangles. For the paintings, which are all untitled and unnumbered, Taniguchi first draws out a grid, then fills one ‘brick’ at a time over a period of months on the floor of her Manila studio. While the works differ in size, the content—or lack thereof—always remains the same.

The artist is also known for her poetic and somewhat abstract videos portraying objects with connections to the craftsmanship and history of the Philippines. For the video ‘Untitled (Dawn’s Arms)’ (2011), Taniguchi engaged a Filipino marble craftsman to remake the arms of a sculpture at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Spain. Shots of the process are interspersed with footage of the jungle on the island of Romblon, while a black-and-white photograph of the resultant arms accompany the video. The work was notably featured in the 2016 exhibition ‘Oceanic Feeling’ at ICA Singapore alongside works by Sriwhana Spong. Similarly focusing on lush vegetation, Taniguchi’s 2012 video ‘Figure Study’ shows workers digging for clay in a dense jungle, with cicadas and the clanking of their shovels audible.

Maria comes from a family of sculptors and earned a BFA in sculpture at the University of the Philippines, and an MFA at Goldsmiths in London (2009). Along with artist Pio Abad, Taniguchi launched ‘Telenovela’, an exhibition platform dedicated to presenting the work of forgotten Filipino artists. In 2011, she received an Ateneo Art Award for her solo exhibition ‘Echo Studies’ (2011) at the Jorge B Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center in Quezon City. In 2015, she won the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award, which launched her to even greater international acclaim.

Biography information from Ocula, May 2023

Country: Philippines
Social Media: @maria_taniguchi