Martha Atienza
Exhibition View


Born in Manila, Philippines to a Dutch mother and Filipino father, Atienza (b. 1981) has moved between both countries and cultures throughout her life. Currently she resides both in the Netherlands and the Philippines, dependent on where her projects bring her.

She was awarded the Baloise Art Prize in 2017 Art Basel Statements. She was also one of the five shortlisted for the Benesse Art Prize for the Singapore Biennale. In 2015, Atienza was awarded the Thirteen Artists Awards by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In 2016 and 2012, she received the Ateneo Arts Award with studio Residency Grants in Liverpool, Melbourne, New York and Singapore. In 2009, she joined a residency at Green Papaya Art Projects in the Philippines. In 2006, Atienza received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Academy of Visual Arts and Design in the Netherlands. She also participated in the art program at the Kuvataideakatemia in Helsinki, Finland, in 2005. Previously, she has exhibited video art, often described as snapshots of reality, as part of installations in galleries. Her works have been exhibited internationally at various art spaces, galleries, and video festivals. She is also the recipient of the first Mercedes Zobel/Outset Residency at Gasworks in London (2016).

Atienza’s video installations are visions culled from her Filipino and Dutch background. The precept of ‘stranger’ emanates as crevice between the operations of understanding and imagining. Her work is a series mostly constructed in video, of an almost sociological nature that studies her direct environment.

Atienza concocts her observations into fictions framed by gallery devices. She does not spare herself from this presentation of anomalies. Tempting as it is to construe identity within the operation of the gaze, Atienza hardly gives us this power. She remains the employer of this gaze, even when the view is centered on her own image. It remains a curious sensation: to stand as voyeur to another person’s voyeurism.

Currently, she is investigating the usage of contemporary art as a tool for effecting social change and development.