Takwil: Pixelated Anxiety is an inventory of 20 years of Jose Tence Ruiz’s attempts at printed digital imagery; from 1996 to 2016.


By the early 1990s, the internet had come to the Philippines. Photoshop, software that would move picture building into the realm of pixelized fluidity suitable for the world wide web, had moved onto the visual palette of many graphic designers. Advertising and Commercial Arts seized upon its versatility and visual artists were opening up to its uses for personal statement. It was a magic wand for Commercial Art but personal expression faced a speed bump. What objects could be generated by this electronic sorcery? Would they hold up as proper, durable art, like paintings in oil and acrylic?

Fast forward 20 years and we still teeter on this speed bump. The jury is still out on whether digital outputs, printouts and tarps and Giclee hard copies will last and merit being called art. In a market economy, permanence has become a sought-after guarantee of value. 20 years is just not enough time to prove that digital works will, as the cliché goes, stand the test of time.

Takwil: Pixelated Anxiety is an inventory of 20 years of Jose Tence Ruiz’s attempts at printed digital imagery from 1996 to 2016. He rides this new wave even if a commercial wipe out might be lurking. Digital Art, strangely in the age of the digital, seems a displaced practice whose final products have yet to prove their durability. And, as this has yet to come, the genre rests in a state of abeyance, of qualified rejection, of Takwil as we say in Tagalog. The anxiety of the practice covers not only its survival as form but the neuroses of these decades– the collapse of religious orthodoxy, the subjugation of overseas Filipino workers, the rise of arms sales to guarantee peace, the reduction of public service to private conspiracy and the ironic inability to authentically reach out our oversupplied age of communication.

Takwil: Pixelated Anxiety is a 20 year inventory of Tence Ruiz’s efforts. He represented the Philippines at the Venice Biennial in its 2015 comeback after a 51 year absence. He somehow hopes that digital hard copy need not wait that long. Takwil; Pixelated anxiety opens at the NCCA Gallery on August 4 and will run until August 26. Artist Talk is set on August 18, 2016 at the Leandro Locsin Hall, NCCA Building. The galleries are at the ground floor of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts building at 633 General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. For details about the exhibit please contact: NCCA Gallery secretariat at 527-2192 loc. 328 or email us at nccagallery09@gmail.com.

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