Martin Krenn, 2014/2018, Exhibition: „The real glory and other stories …“ 1335MABINI, Manila 2018
In November 2014, during the studio residency program AiRPMANILA, the artist Martin Krenn has been researching on two historic figures: José Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt.
The initial result of this artistic research in Manila was presented in the solo exhibition „… truth should be honored.“ in 1335MABINI from November 29 to December 20, 2014.
Krenn continued his research in the winter of 2017 in Litoměřice (in former times Leitmeritz), Ferdinand Blumentritt’s hometown. Litoměřice is a town in the Czech Republic in the region of Ústí nad Labem.
Jose Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt
José Rizal (1861-1896, Philippines) is the national hero of the Philippines. He was a key member of the Propaganda Movement during his time and considered an icon of Philippine independence. Rizal was a scholar and author whose novels have been translated into numerous languages.
Rizal’s most intimate friend and European supporter was the Austrian Ethnologist Ferdinand Blumentritt (1853-1913). Until today, Blumentritt holds a prestigious reputation in the Philippines based on his friendship with Rizal, as well as his engagement in the movement against the relentless Spanish colonial politics in the Philippines. However, Ferdinand Blumentritt spent most of his life in the small town of Leitmeritz (today Litoměřice), where he met Jose Rizal for the first and only time in 1887 – an encounter that triggered a lifelong and deep friendship. The Blumentritt station and Blumentritt Road in Manila testify to his social prestige, though Ferdinand Blumentritt never set foot on the Philippine ground.
Litoměřice is a town in Czech Republic and part of the region of Ústí nad Laben. The historic city center is well-preserved, for example, the Hotel Krebs, where José Rizal resided during his visit, and the school building where Ferdinand Blumentritt taught are still in their original conditions. Busts and Plaques, memorials of Rizal and Blumentritt can be found throughout the city.
Throughout his life, José Rizal corresponded with several scholars from Europe but it was with Ferdinand Blumentritt that he corresponded the most. Out of the three hundred letters of Rizal, one hundred were addressed to Blumentritt, though they have only met once. During his time, the Austrian ethnographer Ferdinand Blumentritt was considered to hold profound knowledge and was considered expert about the Philippines. Though largely unknown in Austria, Blumentritt is still a popular figure in the Philippines. In Memoriam, a statue of him is located next to the Rizal Fountain in the Philippine’s capital Manila. The inscription of the statue says: „Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt – Best friend, companion and mentor of Dr. José Rizal in his fight for freedom and light.“
„The real glory and other stories” presents 5 photographs (90 cm x 90 cm), 6 collages (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm) and one film (25 min) by Martin Krenn. Taking the relationship of Blumentritt and Rizal as a starting point Krenn thematizes (post-)colonialism from different perspectives. The title of the exhibition is referring to the movie ”The Real Glory” (USA, 1939), which is an “apologetic version of the colonization of the Philippines by the United States” (Brossat 2014). Two Film stills of this movie as well as the material of other movies are used in Collages, which combine them with photographs taken by Martin Krenn in Manila and Litoměřice.
The collages confront different layers of the (post-)colonial history of the Philippines.
Missionize (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage “Missionize”
- Photo of a dead drug suspect, “City of the Dead”, CNN special report (USA, 2017)
- Film still of the movie ”The Real Glory” (USA, 1939)
- Photo of statues of friars on Plaza Moriones, Fort Santiago, Manila
Arrival (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage Arrival
- Old train station in Litoměřice/Leitmeritz (today a coffee house). José Rizal visited Ferdinand Blumentritt for a few days in Leitmeritz and arrived on 13 May 1887 at this station.
- Film still of the movie ”The Real Glory” (USA, 1939). The film still shows a supposedly friendly Moro leader (Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sokoloff) who is attacking an army medical officer (Gary Cooper).
Execution (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage “Execution”
- Photo of the bronze statues which recreate the execution of José Rizal in Rizal park, Manila, Philippines
- Film still of the movie “Battle at Bloody Beach” (USA, 1961). Craig Benson (Audie Murphy) is a civilian working for the Navy helping supply guerrilla insurgents in the Philippines.
Friendship (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage “Friendship”
- Photos of the busts of José Rizal and Ferdinand Blumentritt in Litoměřice
- Face of Clyde, a black elite diver from the US Army (Jim Brown), main character in the B-movie “Pacific Inferno” (American-Filipino co-production, 1979)
- Face of Fukoshima (Vic Silayan) a Filipino freedom fighters with whom the Black diver rapidly forges an alliance.
Give and Take (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage “Give and Take”
- Photo of a Sculpture made by José Rizal, University Archives, Ateneo de Manila University
- Photo of a garrote, Manila 1899
Love (59,6 cm x 59,6 cm), Martin Krenn 2018
Material used in the collage “Love”
- Filmstill of the experimental documentary “… truth should be honored.” (Austria/Philipines, 2014). Blumentritt Station
- Booro Philippines Marian Caroline Islands, by Johann Georg Heck, Antique Print, 1857
- Film poster “Pacific Inferno” (German DVD Version)