In And the Rest Was History, Bembol Oligario Dela Cruz delves into the secret—and often pernicious—history of ordinary objects, as exemplified by the iconic forms of the manual typewriter and the Volkswagen Beetle. Though they look innocuous, some objects trace their roots in the dark chapters of the human story, such as fascism. The Beetle, for instance, replicated by Dela Cruz in life-size scale, was the brainchild of the Nazi Germany’s leader, Adolf Hitler, who commanded Ferdinand Porsche to design a car that was as affordable as the then-ubiquitous motorcycle and would ply the network of newly built roads under the Reichstag. Though production was discontinued in 2003, the Beetle remains a beloved icon by automobile connoisseurs, prized for its impeccably modern silhouette and efficient engine. In the painting, the car is disemboweled of any discernible machinery and wheels, presenting the husk of what was considered an automotive achievement, as if hunted by the burden of its undeniable past. Though defunct, these inventions have informed succeeding innovations (the laptop and the driverless car), part of the grand scale in the evolution of inanimate objects. Placed within the ambit of the viewer’s attention, these paintings are part visual record of obsolete technologies and part illumination of their history—the medium being the message.
–Carlomar Arcangel Daoana