The Postcolonial Sentimental: Imagining Cornelio

By René J. Marquez.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

From Oscar Wilde to Susan Stewart to Nicolas Bourriaud, does the notion of sentimentality persist as a perceived negative criterion in contemporary art? Does today’s remix, global culture allow for a re-examination of sentimentality as a concept and even make room for its influence in contemporary art? Filipino American artist René Marquez considers these questions in a metaphorical remembrance of his paternal grandfather Cornelio, a figment of diasporic conjuring and imagination. Through the figure of Cornelio, Marquez questions the Western intellectual thought that casts sentimentality as a suspect non-structure for ordering knowledge. Cornelio offers a postcolonial re-evaluation of emotional attachment, remembering, and imagination that bind nomads of contemporary days to home bases.

Marquez’s postcolonial take dubs a transgressive sentimentality onto modernist-inspired ontologies. He argues that the “creolization” of globalized culture that Bourriaud describes must necessarily allow the romantic and idealized imagination. Through constructing the figment that is Cornelio, Marquez explores the possibilities of sentimentality as a transformative and radical force in contemporary artistic practice.

Keywords: Postcolonialism, Diaspora, Sentimentality, Nicolas Bourriaud, Susan Stewart

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.497-504. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.129MB).

René J. Marquez

Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Delaware, Landenberg, Delaware, USA

René Marquez’s work examines the material image and its roles in signifying place. Born in the Philippines, he explores issues of migration, travel/tourism, and domestication through painting, drawing, and video. He is particularly interested in popular culture’s constructions of ethnicity relative to immigration and colonial history. Past exhibitions include the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the International Center of Photography, University of California-Irvine, College of William and Mary, the Delaware Biennial, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Ayala Museum in Manila, the Philippines. He received his MFA in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania and also holds an MA in Asian Studies from Cornell University. He resides in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania metropolitan area where he serves on the Art faculty at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

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