Gian Cruz


Gian Cruz (b. 1987, Manila, Philippines), an emerging artist whose artistic practice is heavily rooted in photography. His major preoccupation is about tracing identities (most often self-referential) in the digital age with the aid of photography and his work does the inevitable crossing over to the realm of performance initiating his work to a more complex spectrum. As his works talk about discourses and processes in relation to his art making, the finished work he creates are often just initiators towards a bigger picture, a bigger elsewhere.

Cruz was formerly a researcher for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. He has also previously published research on contemporary art with the Museu Histórico Nacional (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil),
Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), and the University of the Philippines - Diliman. His writings have been simultaneously published in Korean, Portuguese and Thai. Cruz was also shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards : The Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism in 2014, a finalist for the Personal Light | The Photophore Contemporary Photo Award and came in at 2nd Place in the Open Category of the Pride Photo Award (Amsterdam, Netherlands) in 2016. That same year, Cruz was also selected as one of the selected young artists to be trained by the Venice Biennale in their special program called the Biennale College - Teatro. His works have been exhibited in the US, Spain, Romania, Norway, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, India and Korea.  Some of his notable exhibitions include taking part in the Transart Triennale in Berlin and the Manila Pollination of David Medalla's London Biennale. 

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The core of my practice is photography and my explorations of identities often start from a self-referential standpoint. Self-portraits are often a site of exploration of identities for me although certain questions that arise in the process. Although a curiosity towards other mediums and their respective strengths and limitations makes me see otherwise that is why I also explore other mediums like video, sound, painting, installation, sculpture. Even if a lot of my works are photographic in nature, I always pose the curious question about seeing my ideas transcended through different medium and the shift of mediums and the crossing of mediums in itself provide a process full of healthy critical discourses.

The context upon which my art resides is the exploration of identities in the contemporary world working alongside globalisation and the digital age. Altogether these weave crucial facets about the givens of the world I live in and create. And in the language of contemporary art, my works often embody paradox and irony much like how art can be used as an arena for self-critique. At that, it can also be seen as a means of self-critique across different media, which could take things to an unprecedented elsewhere, one that my works always yearn for whether consciously or unconsciously. 


Born in 1987, Manila, Philippines

Currently lives and works in Manila, Philippines



Master in Art Theory and Criticism, University of the Philippines- Diliman, Quezon City


Special Program in Korean Language for Cultural Studies Scholars, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea


Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, De La Salle University-Manila, Philippines


2012 Cultural Studies in Contemporary Art, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea



Biennale College – Teatro 2016: creative workshop with Stefan Kaegi, Venice, Italy, a project of the La Biennale di Venezia to train young artists through its Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema sectors which also offers young artists an opportunity to develop their creations side by side with masters (coincides with the 44. Festivale Internazionale del Teatro)


Masterclass Workshop with Spanish artist/photographer/curator Nicolás Combarro, Manila, Philippines: done in collaboration with IED-Madrid (Istituto Europeo di Design), and Foto Semana 2015: a micro festival of contemporary photography


9th Angkor Photo Workshops, Siem Reap, Cambodia (one of the selected 30 young and talented Asian photographers, mentored by Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata)


Goethe Institute Photography Workshop with Wolfgang Bellwinkel, Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines



Pride Photo Award, 2nd Place (Open Category)

Personal Light | The PhotoPhore International Contemporary Photo Award, Finalist


Ateneo Art Awards: Purita Kalaw Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism, Shortlisted




Autobiography, Altro Mondo @ The Picasso, Makati City, Philippines



Casus Vector, Artzond Festival 2017, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Portrait, CICA Museum, Gimpo, Korea

121 and 1 International Short Silent Film Festival, Gate 3 Gallery, Haifa, Israel


Snap to Grid, LACDA Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California, USA

Highs & Lows No. 20, 4bid Gallery, Overtoom 301, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Brave New World – Beyond the Wall, Institut für Alles Mögliche, Abteilung für Alles Andere, Berlin, Germany

Indian Photo Festival, State Art Gallery Madhapur, Hyderabad, India

Pride Photo Award Edition 2016, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Manila Pollination : London Biennale, United First Building, Escolta, Manila, Philippines

Transart Triennale Berlin : The Imperceptible Self, Uferstudios, Berlin, Germany

Concept : The International Exhibition on Conceptual Art, CICA Museum, Gimpo, Korea

Open Studio, Open Wall (Art Fair Philippines 2016 Offsite Event), Thousandfold HQ, Taguig, Philippines

Hipster & Otaku, CICA Museum, Gimpo, Korea

Unang Hirit, J Studio, Taguig, Philippines


Snap to Grid, LACDA Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California, USA


Snap to Grid, LACDA Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California, USA


BorderBody | Mixing Cities and Identities, MECA Mediterráneo Centro Artístico, Almeria, Spain

Unwrap No. 4: Streaming Performances to and from Oslo, ACTS- Laboratory for Performance Practices, Caféteatret, Oslo, Norway

BorderBody | Mixing Cities and Identities, Gallery MD_S (MD_S – miejsce dla sztuki), Wrocław, Poland

Border Body | Mixing Cities and Identities, Gdynia InfoBox (Obserwatorium Zmian)- Observatory of Changes, Gdynia, Poland

Border Cities & New Identities, The Water Plant “Uzina de Apa,” Centre of Architecture, Urban Culture and Landscape, Suceava, Romania



“You as Me.” Queer Southeast Asia Issue No. 1 (PH)

Rapsodia Independent Literary Review Volume 14 : Individual and Urban Space (IT)

Rapsodia Independent Literary Review Volume 13 : The Aesthetics of Repetition (IT)


Jan. 2017 

“121 & 1 Review.” Anna Bershtansky (IL)פריוויו-תערוכות-19-1-מאת-יהונתן-ה-משעל/

“PH Photography 2016 Highlights and 2017 Wishlist.” Reading Photographs (PH)

Oct. 2016 

“You as Me.” Las Islas Filipinas Photography (PH).!/blog/posts/You-as-Me-by-Gian-Cruz/6

Sept. 2016 

“Pride Photo Award 2016.” MVS Gaystation (NL). 30 September 2016: 12:04 CEST

“Pride Photo Award 2016.” OUTtv Benelux (NL): 28 September 2016

“Repurposing Manila’s ‘Forgotten’ Landmarks into Art Venues Through London Biennale.” The Business Mirror (PH) Article by Pauline Joy Guiterrez.

“Filipino Photographers, Wagi Sa International Photo Competition.” 07 September 2016 : 15:36 PST (Broadcast Time). DZRH News.

“Pride Photo Award.” Photon Magazine (NL)

Aug. 2016 

“Pride Photo Award 2016.” GLIMP! The International Queer Art Bulletin Jaargang VII – No. 8 – August 2016. Article by Helm de Laat.

“Venezia in maschera, tra scandali e cardinali.” Il Manifesto (IT), Article by Gianfranco Capitta

“’In Giro’ per Venezia con Io story-game dell’Opendoors di Stefan Kaegi.” Biennale Theatre Community (IT), Article by Roberta Ferraresi

“Two Filipino Photographers Given Pride Photo Awards.” Good News Pilipinas (PH)

Jul. 2016 

“Filipinos Recognized at Pride Photo Awards 2016.” (PH)

“Gian Cruz’s ‘You as Me’ Wins This Year’s Pride Photo Award.” Team (PH), Article by George Dunca’s-%22You-as-Me%22-Wins-This-Year’s-Pride-Photo-Award

Jun. 2016 

“How Angkor Photo Festival became Southeast Asia’s top event for aspiring photographers.” South China Morning Post (CN), Article by Marissa Carruthers

Mar. 2016 

“You as Me.” Novelty Magazine (UK)

Feb. 2016 

“Hipster & Otaku Culture.” HERALD Art Day (KR)

Jul. 2015 

“Artist Gian Cruz Uses No Words for His Autobiography.” (PH)

“200 People Pretended to be One Man.” (PH)

“Picasso Boutique’s Altro Mondo Gallery Hosts Exhibits.” Business World (PH)

Aug. 2014 

“Converging Conversations: Honoring Art and the Thoughtful, Textual Deliberation of it in This Year’s Ateneo Art Awards.” Garage Magazine (PH)

“Winners of the 2014 Ateneo Art Awards Named.” (PH)

Jun. 2014 

“Striking Portraits of 150 People Wearing the Same Suit.” Pacifiqa (PH)

“There Can Only Be Four.” Business World (PH), Article by Jasmine Cruz

Feb. 2014 

“Interview: Gian Cruz.” It’s Liquid: A Communication Platform for Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design (IT)

Mar. 2012 

“Les testaments trahis: The Photography of Gian Cruz.” Pas Un Autre (US), Interview by Oliver Maxwell Kupper

Jan. 2012

“Une sorte d’élégance mélancolique,” Libération Next (FR)élégance-mélancolique.html


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