Czar Kristoff (b.1989) is an artist who works across photography, video, site-specific installation and independent publishing. His current practice is derived from his inquiries on function and memory.
His work has been exhibited locally at Vargas Museum, Ateneo Gallery, Underground Gallery, MO Space, Altro Mondo, Post Gallery, Blanc, West Gallery and Drawing Room Gallery, and internationally at Art Dubai, Danselhallerne Copenhagen, Geffen Contemporary Los Angeles, Riga Photomonth Festival Latvia, The Museum of Photography Seoul, Krakow Photomonth Festival Poland, Atelier de Koekoek Vienna and Fotobok Gothenburg. His series Configurations was a finalist at Riga Dummy Book Award Latvia in 2016 and was shortlisted in Ateneo Art Awards for Visual Art in 2017.
He lives and works in Laguna, Philippines.
Infinitely Near: A Luca Bray Exhibit
Luca Bray cannot be contained. From his home in Brescia, Italy he travelled to Mexico and stayed there for six years without even a telephone to communicate with the outside world. Well, he survived another four years there, now with a phone. He then decided to move to New York and then to Australia. He is now in the Philippines after spending time in Shanghai and Cambodia.
Bray’s world as a young boy was a small village called Orzinuovi. He has since circled the world and his art has made it small, its nooks and corners “Infinitely Near.”
For his Philippine debut, Bray brought his oil on paper, wood and canvas of gestural abstracts of black and muted blue, orange and gray with calligraphic messages in charcoal and pencil. (I remember how my daughter Maningning has also used gestural strokes for her 44’ x 8’ landmark mural, “Soliloquy.”) His message is one though the forms and contents he presents vary in every country he exhibits – Spanish in Mexico, Chinese characters in Shanghai, and Filipino in the Philippines.
His paintings breathe zest and energy to life. Within him, he says, is an insatiable desire to wrest a universe within every fragment of his art. He tells a different story in every painting that he does. His favorite, a painting all in black, is entitled “I have no more space in the ocean, I will now try the sky.”
Bray found his calling when at age eleven, he painted a chicken using up all the paint in a tube. He decided right there and then that he would be an artist.
Four years of basic art from the B. Bembo Art Liceo in Cremona and another four years from Milan’s Brera Fine Arts Academy did not make him a figurative artist, even when he graduated with highest honors and learned the art of great artists like Klimt, Igor and Mondrian. He gravitated towards non-representational, avant garde painting reminiscent of the works of the irreverent Piero Manzoni who, like Bray, came from Soncino, Cremona, and whom he considers the greatest of artists.
Why abstract? “Because I can dream, I can make stories with my fantasy forever evolving.”
Here comes Bray’s passion, his joie de vivre, his mantra of living every second of his life in the here and now. And his art is a lot like him – whimsical, fragmentary, yet passionate and alive.
BRAY is a recipient of numerous awards. He was a finalist in the International Celeste Prize in New York in 2010 and Aesthetica Award in the United Kingdom in 2014. He was a guest artist at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai and an artist-in-residence at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
He has exhibited worldwide, including the 54th Venice Art Biennale. His works can be found in numerous public collections, including the Jumex Collection in Mexico City and Los Angeles, Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado Museum, the National Palace Museum, Sinaloa Modern Art Museum, Morelia Contemporary Art Museum, Amparo Museum and the Bancomer Cultural Foundation, all in Mexico, as well as Daniela Chappard Foundation in Venezuela, and the Government of Socino in Italy.
He has also works in private collections in France, Italy, Spain, San Salvador, Venezuela, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada as well as the cities of New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago in the United States.
--Alma Cruz Miclat
Author, Soul Searchers and Dreamers: Artists’ Profiles
President, Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc.
The key to art lies in breaking its rules and redefining it. For centuries movements in art have been brought about by a reaction to the current norms of society and the realities of its present: from the painters of the Impressionist era trying to free themselves from the confines of Realism, to the Italian Neorealism’s gritty rebuttal to the films of classical Hollywood.
Annie Concepcion and Leny Leonor explore works that thrive on themes related to the practice of Hunting. Grotesque images of animals are presented: hauntingly beautiful situations where subjects become predators and/or preys. Relentless takes the task of investigating one’s ceaseless obsession to hunt: the need to force one’s strength over another, resulting in submission or death.
When the present address becomes too muddled with white noise and too many conflicting meanings—to the point that it loses all meaning—the best place to retreat to, is nowhere. Not within nor in between definite places, but an entirely new space where all the previous confines are Not Applicable.
If you were to sell your soul, how would you name your price? Would you condone the Devil’s haggling? Or sweeten your deal with a discount? If paid by credit card, are air miles earned? Will it come with a lifetime warranty? Does the government demand VAT on the sale of souls? What’s the policy on returns? And gift-wrapping… will that cost extra?