Anton Mallari whisks us through art history, sometimes at a dizzying pace, in Back:Track, an exhibition that pays tribute to masters who have inspired him and many others through the centuries.
It is his most straightforward homage yet, with explicit references to iconic works ranging from the Italian Renaissance to German Expressionism. Mallari is as much a curator as he is cialis pharmacy online an artist, selecting works to emulate based on iconography that manages to stay relevant to him on a personal level despite being enshrined in numerous art-historical texts.
His recreations of Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas and Medusa possess little to no artifice. Mallari remains faithful to the is canadian family pharmacy legitimate Baroque painter’s theatrical chiaroscuro, to his depictions of the doubter’s finger probing Christ’s wound, and to the Gorgon’s decapitated head (silent scream and bug-eyed facial expression intact). While fascinating and intriguing on their own, the titles of these likenesses—Minsan May Duda Din Ako (After Caravaggio) and Protect Me From What I
Want, Homage to Caravaggio
—clue viewers in on why Mallari chose these works. Others, such as Untitled (after Ghirlandaio) and his salute to Ingres, were chosen for purely formal reasons.
As a whole, Back:Track highlights Mallari’s facility with paint and his ability to move comfortably from one idiom to the next. He takes on entire art movements, dissects representative works, and explores technical aspects with fearless curiosity. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in Bukas Iba Na, the exhibition centerpiece that alludes
to, among other things, Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus, Picasso’s Guernica, Amorsolo’s The Burning of Manila, Munch’s The Scream, Luna’s Spoliarium, and Raphael’s Sistine Madonna (represented here by the overexposed pair of adorable putti pulled out from the altarpiece and placed on every possible thing you can think of).
Mallari surrounds the focal point of Bukas Iba Na—a woman in traditional clothing supported by a santo de bastidor—with several centuries’ worth of art history. One finds, on a canvas measuring six-by-eight feet, an encyclopedic museum courtesy of Mallari’s hand. He plucks symbols from great masterpieces and stitches them together in a collage meant to comment on the Philippine state of affairs. Reading the painting and synthesizing the politicized origins of Guernica, The Burning of Manila, and Spoliarium; the religious import of the Crucifixion; and the angst of Munch’s modern Mona Lisa (to paraphrase Arthur Lubow) requires serious time and thought. chineseviagra-fromchina In the end, Mallari explains that Bukas Iba Na bears a message of hope.
Going back to the process behind Back:Track, which, no doubt, will raise questions: Revisiting and reproducing works, whether as a whole or in part, is a time-honored tradition that stretches back to the Renaissance, to apprentices joining guilds and learning from the masters by doing as they did. By deconstructing Caravaggio’s understanding of light and shade or Picasso’s use of multiple perspectives, Mallari is able to move forward in his own development as an artist. Take it from Jose Rizal. “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” “He who does not
know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”