Restoration is both going forward and going back in time

It’s been a week and a day since, but Toti Cerda’s “Restorer III” is still fresh on my mind. This homage to twinned icons—the muralist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, who died in 1969, and the ubiquitous smartphone, whose Internet origins go back to around the same time—was the work that moved me the most at the 2018 Art Fair Philippines. Cerda updates Botong’s “The Nose Flute” by integrating a smartphone into the ritual scene, but at the same transforms the 1955 painting into what looks like a much older mural (a second tribute to Botong) that would not look out of place in Rome. The colors and the perceived texture of this 48″ x 60″ painting (acrylic on canvas) remind me of ancient Roman murals and mosaics, with the bolder red of the wrap-around woven possibly hinting at the Renaissance. But of course the artist in shorts and sleeveless shirt is a very Filipino type (and adds yet another layer to a beautiful and complicated work). Endlessly fascinating.

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2 Comments

Filed under Spiral Notebook

2 responses to “Restoration is both going forward and going back in time

  1. That is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this! From a faraway Filipino who otherwise would never have known about it!

  2. johnnery

    Many other works at the Art Fair made a deep impression on me, but this one was, yes, “absolutely beautiful.” Thank you for reading.

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