Christian Vistan

Christian Vistan is an artist and curator from the peninsula now known as Bataan, Philippines, living and working on unceded and traditional Musqueam, Squamish, Tsawwassen, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. They make paintings, texts and collaborations that describe a hybridity in form, folding together elements of biography, material exploration, poetry, and abstraction. This work is rooted in their inquiries into place, language, and memory, as well as water as a material and an agent in painting and in migrant-settler histories. Their work has been presented in Canada, US and the Philippines. In collaboration with Aubin Kwon, they run dreams comma delta, a space for artist projects and exhibitions located inside Vistan’s family home in Delta, BC.


  • Perla/Pervize

    November 26–January 21, 2017











    In her discussion of the importance of friendship as a form of solidarity in cultural production, artist Céline Conderelli posed the question “How do you want to inhabit the world, in whose company, and upon what terms?”[1] Jasmine Baetz and Christian Vistan have continued to work in a way that has foregrounded their friendship, guiding how to speak to and engage with the often fraught terrain of personal identity and histories. Their work in Perla/Pervize echoes Conderelli’s proposition of friendship as an organizing social principle in forging bonds and structures of support to enable a means to explore mutual associations and affinities.

    With Vistan living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia and Baetz in Boston, Massachusetts, distance and proximity have guided their collaborative work through which the artists frequently consider geographic borders as legal jurisdictions and sovereign states that determines or denies access and movement between countries. In this body of work, limitation becomes a material in itself. Repetitive forms mark an attempt to create and locate a psychic transformative agency through material and newly formed familial bonds. The title of the exhibition Perla/Pervize takes the names of family members as an initiation of a matriarchal incantation; Perla, Christian’s mother and Pervize, Jasmine’s grandmother.


    Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting

    The repetition of these words in their type set pattern almost appears to mimic code, an immersive physical poetic intervention. Assonance as repetition emboldens the words to take on a perfunctory incantation, where the limitation of these four words within themselves becomes the material. They bring together two bodies; that of the artist Christian Vistan, and that of his mother Perla. The words personify and rehearse the repetitiveness of labour becoming the embodiment of Christian and Perla’s daily rituals and tasks. They command concentration and acknowledgement of being present in the moment, an attentive activity in their work that demonstrates respect for our environments and social relationships that we nurture. Perla’s drawings punctuate this repetition. Read yourself into the world. Slowly. Carefully. Precisely.

    + + + +

    Read, each and every word at your desired pace. Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting Pilipino Fainting Filipino. It seems crass to reduce such complexity for the purposes of efficiency however functional they may be. O.F.W. a three-letter acronym that in its brevity suggests a confident familiarity, devoid of an emotive core, also working to obscure the entanglements. Overseas-Filipino-Worker. The formation of these three words locates this three-letter acronym within a very specific lived experience, along the intersections of class, race and gender. Whether these work conditions are temporary or not, the body is now a diasporic body. Words shaped through repetition reveal a working rhythm attached to a body that is stretched, a body stretched and worn across continents and seas. What are the narratives that we embody as we write ourselves into the world?


    While the limitation of words forms the material basis in Vistan’s work, the limitations of the material of clay determines Baetz’s work. Third shift signifies a revision, a reworking of the same form; a retelling, or the production of a new version. The material fragility and suspension of Third shift defies its assumed lightness and instead the ceramic carries weighted histories. The haphazardly forged links and bonds, cloaked in a rust like surface, tenuously connected resemble chain mail. The mass of ceramic chains and the repetitiveness of the forms implies continuity, shackles or a burden carried, wrought in clay and fire. An arduous desire and measured reenactment guided by hands is evident within its production; proposing invocations of embodied forms of knowledge, histories, herstories, and narratives shared. Third shift maintains an openness that allows for vulnerability to permeate. What is it to acknowledge and embrace vulnerability as we read and write ourselves into the world?

    + + + +

    A singular Dr Scholl’s sandal (which belonged to Baetz’s grandmother Pervize) rendered in clay, sits by the door. The sandal is without a companion. Disembodied cacti limbs, skeletal in form endured the heat of a kiln. While these remnants of broken bodies, missing companions and absent ties of kinship might assume narratives of loss and mourning; deterioration and production start to fold into one another creating spaces of healing and renewal. In his poem Pilipino Fainting Filipino Painting Vistan mentions “The labour of painting often hides itself”. The mass of entanglements permits not only fragments of a narrative, but fragments of forms start to emerge and bind themselves together through familial ties of friendship that were not there previously.

    + + + +

    Perla and Christian; Pervize and Jasmine; Jasmine and Christian; Perla and Pervize…


    1 Céline Conderelli, The Company She Keeps, London: Bookworks, 2014, p. 116.


    Postscript 67: Dada Docot on Jasmine Baetz/Christian Vistan








Talks & Events

  • Book and Cider Launch

    April 24, 2018

    Please join us on at 7 pm to celebrate the launch of these publications:

    Glue by Claire Geddes Bailey
    Swan Dives by Kiel Torres
    a lot, a lot  by Christian Vistan
    Liminal Ziplock by Emma Metcalfe Hurst
    Stop Wincing/We’re Fine by Cristina Holman

    Over the past ten months, the Studio for Emerging Writers has been running weekly/bi-weekly workshops, with occasional site visits, discussions, meals, walks, edits, bus and boat rides, readings, and hang-outs. During this time together, we brewed a cider along side a set of five chapbooks, each written by a participant of the Studio.

    Publications and refreshments will be available for sale.

    Special thanks to Sheryda Warrener, Stephan Garneau and Erica Wilk.

    Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the BC Arts Council Youth Engagement program for their support of this initiative.

    Claire Geddes Bailey is a writer and artist from Edmonton currently living in Vancouver, where she studies English Literature and Visual Art at UBC. She recently attempted to cut her own hair into a 2000s-chic mullet, an experience that resulted in a pixie cut and a new appreciation for the creative power of scissors.

    Cristina Holman is a writer and artist who holds a degree from the University of British Columbia, where she studied Psychology and Creative Writing. She works as an arts administrator and volunteers as a literacy mentor. Cristina has a pixie haircut that her grandparents love. She had a recent urge to ask for a bowl cut at the salon, but suppressed it. She is at peace with this.

    Emma Metcalfe Hurst organizes, catalogues, records, writes, edits, reads, watches, talks, and walks, more or less interchangeably. In 2017, she was a curatorial intern at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, and now works at the Western Front on Acts of Transfer, a project that aims to highlight and annotate the performance art by women from its media archive. She is revelling in the lightness of a fresh three-inch trim.

    Kiel Torres calls Vancouver home. She studies art history at the University of British Columbia and dreams of one day becoming a contestant on Jeopardy! Her writing has previously appeared in SAD Mag, the UBC Undergraduate Journal of Art History and Visual Culture, as well as in publications for the Hatch Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology. Her bangs are not a phase.

    Christian Vistan is a Filipino-Canadian artist originally from Bataan, a peninsular province. He works out of his home, his studio and various libraries in Ladner and Vancouver, BC. From 2016 to 2017, he was a Curatorial Assistant at Centre A, where he contributed to the gallery’s programs and exhibitions. His work has been exhibited in Canada, US, and the Philippines. Currently, he has hair past his shoulders and is contemplating an internal layer in the back.

    Sheryda Warrener is the author of two poetry collections: Hard Feelings (Snare, 2010) and Floating is Everything (Nightwood, 2015). Her work can be found online or in print in Event, Grain, The Fiddlehead, Hazlitt, The Believer, among others. In 2017, she was the recipient of The Puritan’s Thomas Morton Memorial Prize for poetry. Originally from Grimsby, Ontario, she lives in Vancouver, where she’s a lecturer in the Creative Writing program at UBC.

    Moniker Press is a risograph print and publishing studio in Vancouver, BC, that works collaboratively with artists , designers and writers to produce small editions of books, zines and print ephemera.

    Stephan Garneau is a designer and writer based in Vancouver. In his work he is interested in the two-dimensional visual representation of information through textual, graphic and photographic mediums. In addition to freelance and self-directed projects relating to contemporary art and design, he works as an instructional designer for software. He is beginning his Masters of Visual Communication with a major in Information Design at Aalto University in fall 2018.

  • Response

    January 21, 2017

    Soledad Muñoz Fiegehen will close the exhibition ‘Perla/Pervize’ by deconstructing Jasmine Baetz’s sculpture ‘Third Shift’. Her response through sound will incorporate samples of audio recordings of construction sites, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and various forms of artistic production as well as readings by herself and Christian Vistan. Her engagement with the deconstruction of the work, whilst introducing audio recordings of different forms of labour into the exhibition invites us to attune ourselves to the works through acoustic means. The gradual shift and process of deconstruction offers a layered sonic reworking of the space of the exhibition as a site of continual cultural production.

    Soledad Muñoz Fiegehen is an interdisciplinary artist born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Rancagua, Chile. Currently based in Vancouver, her work seeks to explore the analogy between the ever-changing social spaces we inhabit, the inter-connectivity materialized in the woven structure and an embodied experience of sound. While still living in Chile, she studied Film Arts at Universidad de Artes y Ciencias Sociales (ARCIS). After returning to Canada she completed the Textile Arts Program at Capilano University and earned a BFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. In 2014 she founded Genero, an audio project which focuses in the distribution and greater representation for women working in the sound realm. Soledad was the recipient of The City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Craft and Design and The Emily Carr President’s Media Award – Installation/Interactive Media.


  • a lot, a lot

    a lot a lot_front

    a lot a lot_back

    Artist: Christian Vistan
    Category: Studio for Emerging Writer Publication
    Design: Stephan Garneau
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Erica Wilk, Moniker Press
    Year published: 2018
    Edition: 50
    Pages: 20p
    Cover: soft
    Binding: perfect bound
    Dimensions: 260 x 182 mm
    Weight: 95g

    ISBN: 978-1-927630-06-8
    Cost: $15
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