In Philippine idiom, the word salvage has a pair of meanings that are contradictory to each other. On a more benign use, to salvage means to save, to reuse. But its more harrowing meaning is synonymous to murder, to destroy. Joven Mansit can be described as a painter who is engaged in salvage of historical images, both in the process of preserving their rarity, and in the violative action of superimposing images that cancel out their sense of nostalgia. This painting, a parody of a pietà, shows a photorealistic rendition of a woman in a Philippine terno costume. That the artist chose to show this pictorial element as a piece of faded photograph is a device to elicit nostalgia. However, the presence of a painted carcass, emanating from what seems to be a walking stick disturbs our expectations of sentiment. We are confronted by this ambivalent presence that has no bearing on the picture beneath it, if not as a means to salvage the picture in its malevolent sense. Mansit's body of work testifies to a changing attitude of a younger generation of artists who try to reveal the farce behind fake nostalgia and inauthentic, but well crafted sentimentality as tools of beauty in art. Thus by salvaging (read: violating) the art of pictorial artifacts, he is poised to salvage (read: save) this genre from vultures.
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
190.5 x 112 cm (75 x 44”)