Curator: Wieslaw Zaremba
Assistant Curator: Çağatay Tuna Özkan
Organizer: Yoong Wah Alex Wong
Exhibition date: April 21, 2014.
Location: FASS Art Gallery
KRIZ CRUZ: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST
Krzysztof Izdebski-Cruz is a contemporary artist with a painterly technique that is highly respectful of tradition. He paints in oil and pastel. The works that he creates have a direct link to the technical tradition of Renaissance painting. His subjects, meanwhile, are most often classical, allegorical, and sometimes also symbolic. His paintings are systematically in dialogue, then, with the works of his historical predecessors; often his part in these conversations is polemical, frequently including, as well, elements of irony.
Izdebski-Cruz numbers among the New Old Masters (a term first coined by Donald Kuspit in his book The End of Art, Cambridge University Press, 2004). Krzysztof Izdebski-Cruz signs his paintings in mirror writing using the artistic pseudonym “Kriz Cruz.” The artist was to forge his pseudonym from the conjunction between the first two letters of his own first and last names (Kr+Iz) with the Spanish maiden name of his mother, Cruz. He dates his works 100 years prior to the actual dates of their completion, thereby symbolically omitting the past century, which he asserts was a lost century for art. Into selected paintings he introduces signpost-inscriptions in an organic way, as left-handed mirror writing.
Krzysztof Izdebski comes from a family familiar with art. Vladimir Izdebski, a cousin of his great-grandfather born in Kiev in 1882, was a painter and sculptor and was, along with his friend Vassily Kandinsky, one of the precursors of modernism. From 1908-1912, he became famous as an organizer of and participant in the so-called “Izdebski Salon,” an exhibition featuring art from the Russian avant-garde. Art by Vladimir Izdebski, as well as documents concerning his work, can be found in Saint Petersburg (the Russian Museum), Paris (the Pompidou Center), and New York (MoMA). Vladimir Izdebski died in New York in 1965.
Krzysztof Izdebski was born in May 1966 in Toruń, Poland. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where he studied painting and the graphic arts, defending his thesis project in 1999 under the supervision of Professor Jerzy Krechowicz, also a Rector at the Academy. From 1996-1998, he co-edited the art quarterly PROJEKT. From 1999 to 2006, he served as director of the Gdańsk branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers (ZPAP), and from 2004 to 2007, he was the president of the Pomeranian Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts. He acted as deputy director of the National Museum in Gdańsk from 2005-2007, and he is now (since 2010) a member of the Warsaw branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. He is the creator of the exhibition series “Defending against Oblivion,” which commemorates the work of important deceased artists from the Polish coastal region. As the director at that time of the Gdańsk branch of ZPAP, he was also the person who established the Kazimierz Ostrowski Award, a national award for outstanding Polish painters. He co-organized and participated in the Great Exhibition of Contemporary Art: New Old Masters” curated by New York art critic Donald Kuspit, an international exhibition that included 111 pieces by 33 artists from around the world from the end of 2006 to the beginning of 2007. He is a founding member of the Apelles Group (2009), which unites artists sympathetic to the ideas of the most famous painter of ancient Greece, Apelles of Colophon. Kriz Cruz exhibits his own work mainly abroad. It has been featured in galleries and salons from New York through California and Wyoming to Vienna, Warsaw, and Kołobrzeg. He lives and works in Poland (Gdańsk and the seaside resort town of Sopot). His paintings have been reproduced and copied all over the world, and the originals can be found in numerous collections, mostly private collections, both within Poland and abroad, including in the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.