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Sculpture undergoes restoration 26 years after artist created it; Idea stems from Caesar

By Staff | Aug 29, 2008

Things are starting to come together for Tiite Baquero. Or, more appropriately, things are starting to come back around for the Cape artist — projects, pursuits and notations that started nearly three decades ago have suddenly re-emerged, begging to be examined once more.

Baquero’s “Paradise Rubicond,” a monument-sized sculpture created in 1981 as a commentary on the birth of genetic engineering, has found its way back to its creator.

Baquero has been restoring the sculpture at a Cape Coral metal shop, then plans to return it to its “environment” at a private residence in Fort Myers in September.

According to the artist, the restoration of “Paradise Rubicond” is a testament to the uncertainty posed by genetic engineering, and humanity’s ability to balance the pros and cons of such a complex, and relatively new, issue.

The very fact the sculpture needs to be restored is an indication to the artist that new, workable solutions are desperately needed to insure genetic engineering does not continue to spiral out of control.

This is evidenced in the statue’s feet, which have been ravaged by the elements and are being replaced.

“I created the first functional transgenic creature,” Baquero said. “It gives us the opportunity to see how beautiful ‘beautiful’ really is when we let nature do its thing.”

As written in a brief by Baquero, the idea of “Paradise Rubicond” came from the reign of Julius Caesar.

Caesar crossed the Rubicon, a small stream in northern Italy, leading to what the artist said was the “genesis of modern European culture.”

“Just as the crossing of the Rubicon had launched the Roman Empire,” Baquero wrote, “my Rubicond marks the launch of genetic engineering and the plunge of science into the manipulation and creation of life according to human design.”

The restoration comes at a time for Baquero when he is on the verge of unveiling what he calls his “grand scheme,” a revelation that will bring together 47 years of work and experience into one single statement.

The artist chose Cape Coral to develop his message and, ultimately, his movement, as not to be influenced by some of the negative connotations associated with artistic expression. He also wanted to create art in a place where art is not being created, to develop a language that is built on “beautiful foundations.”

Baquero said he has been looking to “transcend all barriers” of art during his long career.

“When we look back, we’ll see we were building an art form for the 21st century,” he said. “If it means anything it will need to be documented, or else history will have no pins to go by.”

For more information on Tiite Baquero, visit his Web site at: www.tiite.com.