Constructed Identities and Entangled Histories in Monuments

Architectural Case Studies in the Philippines and Switzerland

Constructed Identities

Leandro V. Locsin, Saint Andrew the Apostle Church, 1968, Makati, Philippines. Photo: Tristan Weddigen

Project directors: Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen (Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich), Prof. Dr. Patrick D. Flores (Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines)

Researchers: Charlotte Matter MA (Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich)

Funding: Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau

Project website:

Short description:

The project addresses the iconic aspects of monumental architecture and sculpture in public spaces, and their function in constructing history and identity. Based on site visits in the Philippines and Switzerland carried out by researchers from the respective other country, the project will focus on specific case studies whilst engaging in a transnational discussion of broader methodological and historiographical issues posed to the field of art history.

One main aspect of the research carried out on site will consist in analyzing the relationship between the Philippines and Latin America, for instance the hitherto unexplored formal and constructional similarities between the churches of Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil, of Felix Candela in Mexico, and of Leandro V. Locsin in the Philippines. Special attention will be further be given to sites such as Iloilo, Cebu City, and Bohol, in order to further study Spanish colonial architecture and its blending of Chinese craft. In Switzerland, Prof. Dr. Patrick D. Flores will investigate the work of the sculptor Richard Kissling, who realized, amongst others, the William Tell monument in Altdorf and the monument of Jose Rizal in the national park of Manila, erected where the Filipino national hero was executed. His research will focus on the discourse of heroic sculpture in both countries and the nature of transcultural artistic exchange between the Philippines and Switzerland. The project further aims to address the fundamental lack of art historical exchange between Switzerland and the Philippines so far.