RENE J. MARQUEZ
CORNELIO OF THE FIELDS
Paintings, Drawings, Video
July 1 to August 15, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 1, 6-8pm
Cultural Center of the Philippines
Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo (Small Gallery)
4th Floor, Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas, CCP Complex
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
The exhibition’s title refers to the artist’s paternal grandfather, but the exhibition’s real subject is the family photograph, and, more specifically, the sentimentality that belies family pictures. Artist Marquez, born in the Philippines and raised in the U.S., explores personal iconographies that emerge from family pictures and asks “what’s wrong with sentimentality?”—particularly in a diasporic context and in relation to the modernism of Western intellectual thought.
Expanding upon Marquez’s recent article, “The Postcolonial Sentimental: Imagining Cornelio” (International Journal of the Arts in Society), this exhibition interrogates the relationship between the artist the grandfather he never knew. Grandfather Cornelio serves as a metaphor for aspects of the diasporic condition, a critique of Western intellectual imperialism, and considerations of global culture. Provoked by Nicolas Bourriaud’s Altermodern, the Tate Triennial, Marquez explores how artists contribute to contemporary, ontological revision and reconstruction vis a` vis cultural hybridity. Cornelio simultaneously represents the desire for concrete self-definition—“where do I come from”—but also the impossibility of realizing this desire. “Where I come from” reflects imagination constructed by ever changing contexts and implicated by sentimentality.
As much as the work in this exhibition investigates images, the paintings, drawings, and video can be regarded as representations of representations themselves: a painting is of a photograph as opposed to of a person. In this respect, Marquez’s work is very much a material investigation. He situates material culture within the “creolization” that Bourriaud posits as characterizing contemporary culture globally. Furthermore, the implicit sentimentality attached to objects serves the mashup that we call cultural hybridity which, in turn, encourages and acknowledges new subjectivities.
Marquez currently resides in the Philadelphia area where he serves on the Art faculty at the University of Delaware.
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