Through his larger-than-life paintings, Randolph Dilla has created a way for the past and present to merge.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s November 2023 Issue.
A battle between generations has always been an issue in any field. A boomer struggling to confront the work ethics of a Gen Z or a Gen X trying to figure out how to be like a millennial— all these scenarios are happening because of a generational divide. In art, a divide between the classic and the contemporary is an ongoing discourse. However, some artists have the capability to find a resolution to the conundrum—and Randalf Dilla is one of them.
Dilla is an artist who is no stranger to referencing Filipino master artists. His appreciation of Flipino artists who are considered legends and masters of the craft started after he graduated from college after joining an exhibition paying tribute to Fernando Amorsolo. “I found inspiration not only in the iconic artworks by the masters but also in the magnificent museums I visited here in the country, as well as abroad,” he reminisced.
Ode To Masters
His respect for the masters of Filipino art is unwavering— he studied and took a deeper dive into the meaning of the works of Juan Luna, Fabian de la Rosa, and Fernando Amorsolo. He unlocked a better understanding of how the giants of Filipino arts invoke reactions and emotions through their masterpieces. Guided by his utmost respect, Dilla created Time Tunnel.
Time Tunnel is an exhibition of Dilla’s three large-scale paintings. The exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and centers around Dilla’s reinterpretation of works from Luna, de la Rosa, and Amorsolo. Respectively, it was Luna’s “En El Palco” that inspired “Theater Show.” Meanwhile, it was de la Rosa’s “Kundiman” that prompted the creation of “Old Culture.” And lastly, it is Amorsolo’s “Planting Rice,” that became the foundation of “Reminiscence.”
The exhibit came into existence when Dilla was commissioned to make one large-scale painting. After finishing one painting, he was then commissioned to do the other two—following the theme of art that merges the modern to the classic. In order to further unlock the messages of the classical paintings, Paulino and Hetty Que, regarded as one of the most important collectors in Philippine art, exhibited the three classical paintings and the three Dilla reinterpretations.
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Banner photo by Metropolitan Museum of Manila.