This landmark exhibition traces the discourse between the high art of painting and the low media of komiks and graphic design in the works of Botong Francisco and Francisco Coching. It offers an intelligent account of the complex and often ambivalent relationship between art and popular culture, which signaled the emergence of Philippine modernity.
From the hectic postwar years to the advent of Martial Law, Botong Francisco and Francisco Coching articulated the visual sensibility of their era. Botong transformed sly notebook caricatures and design sketches into sprawling murals. Coching delved into abstruse historical sources and the widely circulated Tagalog novels of his time to create stirring narratives of Filipino heroism and nationhood in his komiks. Together they forged an iconography of the folk and the popular, the mass and the national, in kindred registers.
Telling Modern Time: The Life and Art of Botong Francisco Coching, on view at the National Museum of the Filipino People from 11 December 2009 to 11 January 2010 and curated by Patrick D. Flores, will feature approximately 100 works by Botong and Coching, spanning a fascinating range of material, including komiks excerpts, murals, prints, sketches, and memorabilia.
The exhibition is accompanied by a limited-edition numbered box set, available only at the opening night. The box set includes the exhibit catalogue of Telling Modern Time as well as the hardbound editions of the books The Life and Art of Botong Francisco and The Life and Art of Francisco Coching, both edited by Patrick D. Flores.