Curator: Michela Sena
7.1 - 7.25, 2021
Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present “Paradigmal Traps”, a solo exhibition by Filipino artist Jigger Cruz, curated by Michela Sena, which will be on view between 1 July - 25 July 2021. This exhibition will feature both paintings and drawings by the artist, created in 2021.
Jigger Cruz returns with a body of work that challenges perception rendered in his signature style. Tubes of oil paint squeezed onto the canvas, spray painting and decisive, confident strokes create a rough and thick three-dimensional surface that meets in a grid of colored lines, in a nervous tangle. Strips of color overlap, travelling in parallel or intertwining, pushed by the artist’s impulsive gesture.
Deliberately playing with the ideas of disfigurement and vandalization through his thick oil layers and color tangles, Cruz reviles and destroys those familiar images painted on the background, making the destruction an integral part of his art aesthetic understanding. Cruz’ assemblages of recognizable objects and dark forms, intertwining into each other, lead to a reflection on the very matter of painting. Encrypting linearity, his tangled colored vortexes decipher the paths of a new mapping, unhinging the universally accepted culture’s fixed points. Thrown into a dizzying displacement, oriented by new cardinal points, the observer loses any known landmarks, and finally embraces new alternative ways of perception.
This exhibition, continuing Cruz's latest developments, features a color palette subtly desaturated, almost tending to cool tones, which smoothly depart from the artist’s typical use of bold, vivid colors. From the original aim of producing contrasts and shock, Cruz’ palette guides us into a more discreet and minimalist atmosphere, perhaps turning from an explicit dialectic with the external world towards an introspective dimension. Smoothly flowing onto a reflection on his own aesthetic, a more self-referential phase, he makes blunt the original vehemence, allowing his art the state of a statement, still questioning itself to find its own relevance.
b. 1984, Manila, Philippines
Born 1984, Malabon City, Manila, Philippines, Jigger Cruz graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Far Eastern University, Manila and also trained at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde before pursuing a full-time career as a painter. The artist has been listed in international auction houses around the world, and has exhibited in both solo and group shows locally and internationally, from the Philippines to Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, and the United States. His work can be found in multiple public collections, including: The Dikeou Collection, Denver, CO, USA; Guggenheim Museum, NY, USA; Saatchi Collection, London, UK; and Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK.
Cruz’s art practice is characterized by his idea to play with defacement and vandalization, making use of oil colour, spray paint and rough interventions directly on the canvases, which is sometimes burned and, in some cases, even to cut. Each artwork is created by the artist from a canvas previously painted, where he copied the Flemish and Post-Renaissance masters. Apparently without a logical scheme, Cruz applies layer by layer the dense oil colour, not only hiding, rather mystifying the classical backdrop. In this way the artist explores, through his artworks, the deep relationship between the canvas and its meaning, past and present, figuration and abstraction. The figures of the classical paintings that transpire below, remind the viewer of the painstaking pictorial activity and the artistic historical baggage of the contemporary painter.
Michela Sena is a Rome-Bangkok based curator and art critic. Her research relates partly to the potential of global language and the relationship and dialogue between contemporary artists coming from different territories. After she graduated in museology and art history at Roma Tre University and got a Chinese language degree at SISU Shanghai Foreign Studies University, she was Director of Primo Marella Gallery Beijing and Director of Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok. She curated a wide number of shows proposing a punctual snapshot of contemporary art research, developing in recent years a focus on Chinese and South East Asian art.