Manuel Ocampo (Filipino, b.1965) is a painter who plays with religious and cultural symbolism and iconography. He studied at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City in 1984, and in 1985, he moved to the United States to study at California State University in Bakersfield. While living there, he found himself attracted to the marginalized punk culture that was rising at the time.
His first solo show, Lies, Falls Hopes, and Megalomania, was held at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1988. Many of his early works juxtaposed secular and religious imagery to evoke social and political criticism. In Virgin Destroyer( Ipis Ni Lupe) (1996), a cockroach is painted in the style of the Virgen de Guadalupe and adorned with painted images of a vodka bottle, a plastic rosary, and a bloody knife. Ocampo’s work has been included in exhibits at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, Documentahallen in Kassel, Nosbaum & Reding – Art Contemporain, The Asia Society in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He participated in the Venice Biennial in 1993 and 2001. He has also received the Rome Prize at the American Academy, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and Art Matters Inc.
In 2009, the artist exhibited She has a hot ass: The Demystification of Art and Its Incorporation into the Practice of Everyday Life Could Only Be Achieved Through the Deliberate Lowering of Standards at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne. Ocampo created a drawing and performance installation referencing Marcel Duchamp’s appropriation of the Mona Lisa, L.H.H.O.Q, in which a tattoo artist was set-up to permanently place his sketches on the skin of any gallery visitors. The artist is represented in New York by Tyler Rollins Fine Art, in Copenhagen by Space of Drawings, and in Graz by Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill. In 2003, Ocampo moved back to the Philippines and co-founded the Department of Avant-Garde Clichés Gallery in Manila, where he lives and works.