Metro Gallery - Zurich, Switzerland


 

                       


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P O L E T E I S M O (Polytheism)

 

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Mideo M. Cruz is an active cross-disciplinary artist based in Manila. His works shows strong allegorical images of the social order. Presently, he is preoccupied with the international artists' network "new world disorder" and frequently invited for his ingenious actions around the globe. He is actively involved with tutok Karapatan, an artists initiative focus on the rampant extra judicial killings in the Philippines, which at the moment around 850 activists were being killed in six years since the beginning of the Arroyo Regime. He is a recipient of three most prestigious awards for young artists in the Philippines: the 2003 Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award, the 2003 Sungdu-an Grant and the 2006 Ateneo Art Award.

Press Reviews:

Mideo's Message


Contrast play an important part in the performance-installation of Mideo Cruz: antiseptic white against bloody red, asperity against chaos, bourgeois authority against squalid effusion, human against animal, one against many. These striking contradictions make for a powerful performance governed by rhythms and a driving audio score. The performance-installation centers around a persona acted out by Cruz dressed in a white formal suit and wearing a white mask with pig's snout. He sits at a table set for one and faces a mountainous pile of raw meat and bones, a bloody mess. The porcine greed transforms him into a repulsive beast, as he digs into the victuals, while many people come in to watch along the walls of the room. In the performance at CCP, the raw flesh is replaced by a mountain of bones and animal debris which likewise engages his greed. On the wall above is a plaster model of the Last Supper.

The work gives a striking performance of the unbridled greed of the wealthy who grab the lion's share of the world's resources in wasteful consumption. The pillage of the natural world occurs daily for the profit and satisfaction of the few. Violence to humans is also central to this rapacity as knives seem to guard the wasteful frenzy. -Alice Guillermo

Mideo Cruz has several segments to his project, the most prominent of which is Anghel de la Guardia, a 9 and a half foot ethereal figure that is part angel, part icon and part doorkeep to a hallucinatory yet gated wonderland. He seems to ask: Is Disneyland the virtual surrogate for Paradise Fading? He converts an in-house phone station into a dense collage of connectivity with the complex political landscape with its deities, lords and coerced idolatries in Politeismo 3. And his nearly cute but also subversive viriña named Altar nudges us pixie like not to forget how the nexus between materialism and proof of faith might, on occasion, reify into conceit and fetish. -Jose Tence Ruiz

Blood, body parts, sex, violence, blasphemy! What's not to love?

The art of Mideo Cruz is quite a heady mix for the uninitiated: so many symbols, meanings within meanings, one can easily get lost amid the traffic, and that's exactly what draws me to this piece, It's a Frankesteinian appeal is as Pinoy (Filipino) as halo-halo (local delicacy, mixed preserve sweets, milk and crushed ice) and jeepneys (vehicle adopted from World War 2 vintage jeep). Everything that fascinates me is here: religious imagery, pop iconography, found items, Divisoria (wholesale/retail marketplace with varieties of goods) chic!

It's irreverent but serious, a little naughty, a little scary. Most of all, it tells me stories with different endings. - Norman Crisologo

Mideo Cruz constructs Superpower, a figure fashioned out of odds and ends that is also clearly a reference to robots depicted in cartoons as "saviors of the universe". Cruz delivers a jab not only at the economic influx of imported items (such as the cheap plastic toys used as components of the piece), but also the importation of mentalities and frameworks that the foreign machine facilitates. -Lisa Ito

Notions of self as nation are currently besieged, their inner gut work sucked out by a voracious globalist zeitgeist funded by large late capital. To cite a potential contribution to one's national culture would have to be determinedly conceited on mine or Mideo's part, but, if one might be able to determine such a lofty yet necessarily foundational category, then one would have to support those who have been consistent, bold and willing to sustain its thankless, uphill climb, for all that takes. Mideo Cruz has so far shown himself to be equal to this. The nationalist project of Social Realism in the Philippines, which began in 1975, has found, after the co-opted faltering of Salingpusa and untimely implosion of Sanggawa, an appropriate bridge into the 21st century's vast, bewildering and fractured terrain in Mideo Cruz and his collective, the new world disorder. - Jose Tence Ruiz



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