Hocus — An Exhibit of Paintings by Guy Custodio Envisioned by Saul Hofileña, Jr.

Betchay, a long-time marketmanila.com reader, had graciously invited Mrs. MM and I to the opening of this wonderful, unusual and visually stunning exhibit, now at the National Museum. We were out of town at the time, but I promised Betchay we would visit the exhibit soon after it opened… So one day last week, after taking a quick trip to the GSIS museum to see Gejo’s (another reader) painting of a lechonan on exhibit there, we decided to visit the National Museum as well, which has recently been renovated and is very much worth a first or repeat visit, if you have never been before.

I have to admit I was curious about Hocus, what was billed as a collaboration between a historian and a painter, and done in a style of several centuries ago. This write-up in the Inquirer is quite informative, and we went just to take in the paintings themselves, knowing just that teeny tiny bit about their background story…

The theme of the church and the Spanish colonizers is a familiar one, and honestly, not one of my favorite genres of paintings at all. But this exhibit was beautifully curated, the paintings just that much more stunning, new looking old, content-rich, vibrant but dour, serious but in your face. I am not sure how else to describe it but unusual, head-turning, thought-provoking, a bit of another era, but right smack in the middle of today.

My grandmother had several old antique religious paintings from the era, which were much more religiously one-dimensional and dark and dirty from centuries covered in soot and grime… many of them we loaned to the Basilica de Santo Niño and they hang in their museum to this day. But I wouldn’t want any of those paintings hanging in our living room today.

These paintings, however, tell more of story, probably much deeper than the superficial ones I was registering, but they were also rather visually appealing. Colours were vibrant but not tacky, the feel was of a modern day artist painting in a very classical way. I would definitely love to have one or two of these paintings hanging on our walls… Or better yet, commission Mr. Custodio to paint a family portrait, but set three centuries earlier… :)

Betchay, I particularly loved this painting. Not sure why, I just really liked it.

A book was published along with the exhibit, so you can get a copy if you like at the museum I would imagine. If you are in Manila, take a few hours to visit the National Museum, not only for this HOCUS exhibition, but for the other galleries as well, a post on those up next.

P.S. Betchay, email me if you or the artist (currently the private collection owners I presume) :) are selling that bridge painting. I know someone who is interested. Or if he is open to a commissioned family portrait. :)


10 Responses

  1. I wrongly speculated that it would be about Philippine black magic, but as it turns out, exceedingly more interesting than mere magic, it’s artful depiction of our history. So not Hokus but HoCus, a blend (not an acronym) of initial syllables of the surnames of the two protagonists. Thanks Marketman for the coverage above and for the link which is also informative although it contains my English usage pet peeve, modified unique, most unique, twice. Fortunately, it was redeemed with shots of GCA, still pretty after all these years so everything is forgiven.

  2. Oh, what a surprise MM! Thank you for this post and your appreciation of the artworks. Glad that you really enjoyed the exhibit…history and art combined. This is like a continuation and visualization of hubby’s history book “Under the Stacks”. It is thru history that we learn from the past.
    Here is another article that may explain to you the appeal of the Bridge of Caprice:
    Btw, presently there is no museum shop but the book “HOCUS” as well as the Philippine themed tarot cards “Cartas Philippinensis” are both available in Fully Booked.
    Sending you an email re: your questions

    And to our eagle-eyed grammar police Footloose, thanks for pointing out that modifying absolute is a no-no :) and GCA will be pleased ;)

  3. @Betchay, Thanks for the additional links. BTW, I’m blind to spelling and grammatical slips in blog posts and comments but vigilant only with those who make their living from writing.

  4. …”Or better yet, commission Mr. Custodio to paint a family portrait, but set three centuries earlier… :) “… It would be interesting to see you in Lapu-lapu’s outfit! :-)

  5. Off topic: MM, Zubuchon is featured on this vlog by Mark Wiens, a Chinese-American food vlogger based in Bangkok, beginning at 18:46.

  6. Off the subject, MM, but thought I’d say it especially for you a Bond fan. James Bond lives on but Roger Moore is dead. He was the James Bond of our TV screen from 1973 through 1985. Farewell Sir Roger Moore!

  7. Being senior by at least a generation over you guys, I caught Roger Moore early in his career as Simon Templar. I thought he was too pretty as 007 but that’s only because Connery was my contemporary Bond. Riley, Ace of Spies (here is the Shostakovich romance they used as theme httpss://goo.gl/IryQvt ) gave me my indelible taste for British espionage and set the pace for me for fast moving and intelligent thrillers supplied in ample measure by Ian Fleming up to John le Carré.



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