Saturday, May 11, 2013

Apocalypse Wow

What do the Philippines, Francis Ford Coppola and surfing have in common? To find out, you’ll have to see Apocalypse Wow, the latest exhibition by Mike Chavez. It’s been two years since his last Melbourne solo show and Chavez returns with all guns blazing in a visual mash-up that’s part surf culture, part social commentary, and all Hollywood.

"Apocalypse Wow is a perfect storm of ideas gathered over many years. I remember as a child being transfixed by movie posters of Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now. As a film student I was mesmerized by its powerful narrative and haunting imagery. More recently as a fine artist I became fascinated by the movie as a metaphor for failed U.S. military ambitions and the fact that it was filmed in my native Philippines – itself a former U.S. territory."
In 2009 Chavez moved back to the Philippines, where he learned two things…

"How to surf, and a little known fact that surfing was first introduced to the Philippines over 30 years ago via the movie Apocalypse Now. Surfboards from the movie were given to local villagers after production wrapped, spawning the first generation of Philippine surfers. The surreal sequence in the film showing marines surfing in a war zone perfectly mirrored the madness of life in the Philippines."
Two years later Mike Chavez came back to and Australia started to create a new body of work that would merge these experiences - the developed and developing world, mass consumption, colonialism, surfing culture and Hollywood.

This coming Friday you can check out what Mike has been busy working on at Gallery Smith in North Melbourne. Seeing for yourself that Charlie does indeed surf.

Apocalypse Wow - Mike Chavez 
Where: Gallerysmith, 170-174 Abbotsford St, 
North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Exhibition Opening: Friday 17 May 6pm - 9pm
Exhibition: Thursday 16 May – Sunday 16 June
Websites: and

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