Interview: Gian Cruz

You as Me_cube 4Gian Cruz, You as Me, 2013. Collage of images from the portraits series

Interview: Gian Cruz

Gian Cruz‘s artistic practice is heavily rooted in photography. His major preoccupation is about tracing identities in the context of the global and the digital age, which is often self-referential. His artistic practices range from photography, video art and performance art although his persistent curiosity yearns to situate his artistic practice into a wider range of media and intends to explore sound art, installation art and sculpture as new platforms for his work in the future.

006Gian Cruz and Truth Leem, Artificial Memory, 2014

Luca Curci – When did you start practicing art and why?

Gian Cruz – Art has always been a part of my quotidian […]. Things only started to take a more serious turn when I started pursuing art theory and criticism for my postgraduate studies […]. Then came my accidental stint last year as a visiting researcher for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. This was a pivotal turn for me because, during this time, the more I saw exhibitions, the more artworks that I saw; the more I was driven to create. And it didn’t take so long that I made up my mind that I really wanted to be an artist and pursue a career as one.

007Gian Cruz, You as Me, 2013. Colllage of images from the portraits series

L. C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

G. C. -I like my art to seem very simplistic on the outset but the more you spend time with them, the more there are layers being unfolded. Other than that, there’s always this ineluctable reality resting in my artistic work, wherein the finished work is just an initiator towards a bigger discourse […]. Although my artistic practice heavily involves photography, my curious impatience always leads me to the peripheries of things, so that I could not see myself being limited only to one particular medium or category. This is why my works also cross over to video to digital, to sound, to performance, to conceptual, to multimedia, to sculpture and to painting to installation and many others that might come in the way. […] As far as inspiration goes, I am influenced by a lot of artists. Some of the most crucial figures for me are Marcel Duchamp, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, Bill Viola, Sophie Calle, Robert Longo, Nikki S. Lee, Doh Hoh Suh, Nan Goldin, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Judy Freya Sibayan, Christian Boltanski, Ryan McGinley, Lani Maestro, to name a few.

003Gian Cruz and Truth Leem, Artificial Memory, 2014

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

G. C. – At present, I am constantly shifting between three projects and maybe another one might be underway sometime in the first quarter of 2014. It’s another collaborative project wherein I’ll curate and exhibit my work alongside other photographers in the South East Asian region with the theme of the “Self-portrait” and its spectrum of social trajectories […]. On the other hand, one of the two projects currently ongoing is the “You as Me” portraits series. In the “You as Me” portraits projects, I play around with the notion of the performative self-portrait in a paradoxical way by having other people stand in for me […]. Meanwhile, the other one is the “City-scape” series (a collaborative project with Claire Villacorta), which is an installation of videos that deal with the fleeting identity in relation to cities and bodies. Lastly, it is another collaboration. This time around, it is with my photographer friend Truth Leem. The current working title we have for this photographic series is “Artificial Memory/Documentary” wherein we yearn to reconnect Manila and Seoul by recollecting certain fragments of our memories under the guise of a documentary. Although in an attempt to reconstruct memories, there’s always that inherent crossing of spatial, temporal, and geographic boundaries intermingling with paradox. […]

005Gian Cruz and Claire Villacorta, City-scape n°1, 2013. Video still

L. C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

G. C. – Never give up. Go beyond where you’ve always imagined yourself to be. Be visible and omnipresent even. When I made up my mind to put out my work into circulation, I used to get easily disheartened by the frequency of rejection letters from curators to exhibit and festival organizers, but then they’ve become quite natural over time. […] They kind of give a young artist like me a way of shaping up myself for the future. […]

002Gian Cruz, You as Me, 2013. Colllage of images from the portraits series

L. C. – What is art for you?

G. C. – I’d like to situate art as something tailored to my liking, as something that is always within the promiscuity of the present, one that gives us unprecedented challenges about its unstable nature and not merely preserving previous models and furthering their legacy. Also, it is not just a means of aesthetic contemplation, but rather contemplation over processes and unfinished actualities that leave for the possibility of a bigger elsewhere. […] It can be ironic at times, sometimes straightforward, then perhaps irreverent to yielding to something vague, to something distinctly concrete. I like it to have its own sort of freedom, its own language and its own particular universe.

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?

G. C. – International Art Expo appeals to me as an organization because of its very open and dynamic take on things. It is very open towards the interaction and crossing-over of different fields: from architecture to photography, to installation, to fashion and such provides worthwhile venues for discourse and further explorations, which is always crucial in art nowadays.

004Gian Cruz, You as Me, 2013. Colllage of images from the portraits series

L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo can represent an opportunity for artists?

G. C. – It is a very critical and the same time a very dynamic platform, wherein established artists and new artists can get discovered and re-discovered at the same time. Other than increasing the visibility of artists, the exhibition platforms by International ArtExpo situate artists in the heart of the ongoing dialogues taking place in the art world, which also helps artists to come up with more forward-thinking discourses in their work.

more. www.facebook.com/giancruzstudio

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