The Collection of Jane Ryan and William Saunders

Pio Abad2014/2016

EVA International

EVA International
Limerick, Ireland

Pio Abad (b. 1983, Manila, Philippines) is an artist who lives and works in London.
Working across drawing, sculpture, installation, and photography, he uses strategies of appropriation to mine alternative or repressed historical events, unravel official accounts, and to draw out threads of complicity among incidents, ideologies, and people.
The Collection of Jane Ryan and William Saunders (2014–15) is an installation of two parts that includes a series of fifty-one photographs of Georgian- and Regency-era silverware that appeared in a Christie’s auction catalogue for the ‘Magnificent Silver’ sale in New York on the 10th of January 1991. The silverware was part of a large haul of artwork and antiques sequestered from the Marcos collection that was sold in an attempt to recoup the country’s losses from the couple’s kleptocratic reign. This hoard of unused silverware reveals the true intentions of the Philippine dictators: behind their proclamations of postcolonial self-realization was the desire to establish a royal court, one fuelled by visions of European cultural heritage filtered through a Hollywood lens. An interpretation of the Communist flag is shown alongside the photographs, the workers’ hammer replaced with an auction gavel. The Christie’s sale was intended to fund the Philippine revolutionary government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme, a land redistribution exercise aimed at quelling the country’s Communist insurgency.
The auction continued on the following day. Acting on behalf of the Philippine government, Christie’s sold paintings that had been acquired by the Marcos using ill-gotten public money and sequestered by new government after the pair were forced out of office in February 1986. The painting collection, which included works by Raphael, El Greco, and Titian, sold for a total of 15.4 million dollars. Abad has reproduced images from the auction catalogue to create ninety-eight different postcards so that each artwork is available to the public; the seized collection finally free for the taking.


  • Title: The Collection of Jane Ryan and William Saunders
  • Creator: Pio Abad
  • Date Created: 2014/2016
  • Location: Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Ireland
  • Medium: digital print on postcards

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