“Most people will only see an asterisk but smart people will see more. To be honest I have many interpretations of my work but I prefer that you interpret it for yourself and then call me genius.
(Manila) The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) announced Saturday that it has decided to close another exhibit due to the controversy surrounding an art work which has become the subject of more heated debates between artists and Christians.
This comes less than a week after the CCP closed the exhibit “Kulo” for security reasons as threats to both CCP officers and featured artists mounted.
Krus na May Apat na Etits
The subject of this new scandal is an oil painting by Cesar Marcelino entitled “Krus na May Apat na Etits” (Cross With Four Penises) which depicts a black asterisk on a field of white.
“Most people will only see an asterisk but smart people will see more. To be honest I have many interpretations of my work but I prefer that you interpret it for yourself and then call me genius.” Marcelino told reporters during the exhibit’s opening last week.
“But if necessary, I can use big words to defend my art. Deconstruction! Discourse! Dialectics! Dendrochronology!” Marcelino said.
Genius or Blasphemy?
Even only a week after the exhibit opened, reaction to Marcelino’s work has been swift from both sides of the fence. Art critics, both foreign and local, have praised the piece for its minimalist yet profound approach to expression.
“This piece, “Krus na May Apat na Etits,” may look like an asterisk on plain white paper but it’s more than that. It’s genius. I think it reveals the binary nature of religion. Black versus white. Center versus periphery. David versus Goliath. ” David Ornadal of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London noted.
“It’s so profound. Marcelino uses such words as deconstruction, dialectics, and dadaism so he must be really really smart.” National Artist Budoy Soledad said of Marcelino and his piece.
On the other hand, Christian groups have already expressed their disapproval of the work.
“This work is offensive. Mideo Cruz’s work only had one penis on a cross… this has four!” Christian Artists Against Unchristian Art (CAAUCA) spokesman Msgr. Jerry Nepumuceno said.
Meanwhile, a third group called Sensible Artists of the Philippines (SAP) released a statement amid rising tensions between supporters and critics of Marcelino’s work.
“We believe both the artists who support Marcelino’s work and the angry Christians who are against it are all idiots. It can’t just be one or the other.” the group said in their statement to the local media.
“On the one hand it’s a f**king asterisk. A silly piece of work crying for attention. On the other hand, there is no need to censor silly pieces of work.” the group explained.
All three groups are expected to meet at the CCP on Wednesday for another public forum. The bringing and use of weapons at the forum has been authorized by the government to expedite a decision on the matter of censorship and expression in the country.