Lot #019

Keb Cerda

signed and dated 2012 (lower right)
oil on canvas
48” x 60” (122 cm x 152 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 80,000
HP + BP : Php 280,320
Provenance Private Collection, Manila
Known for juxtaposing images of turn-of-the-century Philippines with contemporary symbols, Keb Cerda examines the complexity of history by outfitting captured soldiers of war with superhero masks: Ultraman and Voltes V, both having a Japanese origin. Those who have captured them also wear masks (notably of Darth Vader and Robocop), as if to underscore the triumph of the West. But given that they are all superheroes in their respective cultures, Cerda destabilizes the relationship between the victorious and the subjugated: one country’s terrorists, as they say, are another country’s freedom-fighters. With the soldiers smeared with paint, Cerda raises questions on the role of art in such fraught depictions, arguing that the power rests ultimately upon the one writing history or, in this case, brandishing the brush.