Gian CRUZ

About The Artist

Gian Cruz (b. 1987) is a multidisciplinary Filipino artist whose practice is heavily rooted in photography and performance, and engaged with translation, history, architecture, ecology, cinema and HIV/AIDS activism. He was the first Southeast Asian participant in the Independent Studies Programme at MACBA, Barcelona. His work has both been shown and in done collaboration with the MMCA, Korea; Jeu de Paume, Paris, Picto Foundation, Paris; The Museum of Photography, Seoul; La Biennale di Venezia; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga; Pride Photo Award, Amsterdam; Visual AIDS, New York; 4A Centre for Contemporary Art, Sydney; Casa Asia, Madrid.

Gian CRUZ

"It fleshes out parallels between HIV/AIDS and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the proliferation of a culture of fear and trauma. This brings us to the realization that a virus’ human contexts and conditions of social exclusion ascribe meaning to it, and further advance its dangerous potentialities."

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°2 (1/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°2 (1/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°3 (2/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°3 (2/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°4 (3/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°4 (3/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°5 (4/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°5 (4/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°9 (5/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°9 (5/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°14 (6/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°14 (6/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°15 (7/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°15 (7/8)

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°16

(séro)TROPICAL(e) n°16

About The Artwork

(séro)TROPICAL(e)

Digital photography and performance

(séro)TROPICAL(e) metaphorizes the tropics and its ecological terrain as a site of resistance against colonial exploitation and the naturalization of sexual norms. Performative self-portraits of the artist, who surpassed AIDS-related complications and currently lives with HIV, are juxtaposed against botanical species found in Southeast Asia and South America, foregrounding the intersection of the bodily, the viral and the ecological. The work makes visible HIV/AIDS narratives in the region and, in particular, Cruz’s native Philippines. Here, nature and the body are de-colonized through the notion of queer ecologies, which is premised on the inherence of non-normativity in our natural environment - an idea that also recalls the fact that the first tropical botanic garden in Southeast Asia was established in Malate, Manila, thus aligning the marginality of the colonized with that of contemporary queerness. The work bears, as well, relevance for the current crisis. As the artist notes: “It fleshes out parallels between HIV/AIDS and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the proliferation of a culture of fear and trauma. This brings us to the realization that a virus’ human contexts and conditions of social exclusion ascribe meaning to it, and further advance its dangerous potentialities.”

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