Artist spotlight: Jigger Cruz


Having recently acquired a third work by Jigger Cruz, the Tiroche DeLeon Collection is delighted to dedicate this spotlight to one of the rising stars of the South Asian contemporary art market.

Jigger Cruz, 'Trinitarian Formula: Great Corners Through the Eyes of the Moths', 2015. Oil and spraypaints on canvas and wood. 55 x 71 cm.

Overturning all conventions of figurative art, Jigger Cruz has built his success on the extremely original practice of vandalizing images he reconstructs from old masters’ paintings. The artist defaces his works assembling elements such as satellite disks, bicycle wheels, coiling striped horns or by altering them with spray paint and globs of pigment squeezed directly from the tube.

Jigger’s works are characterized by chaos and colourful surfaces that challenge the stylistic quirks of classical canons and brutally gain the attention of the audience, driving it to a dimension dominated by primitivism and anarchy.

Over the past 4 years, since he mounted his first solo exhibition abroad, Jigger has rapidly gained the favour of both local and international collectors, creating a very strong global market around his works. For this reason, The Tiroche DeLeon Collection has recently decided to invest in this young Filipino talent by purchasing one of his most remarkable pieces: “Trinitarian Formula: Great Corners through the eyes of the moths”.

This large triptych holds all the elements that make Jigger's approach to art so special. In this work, the artist hides an old layer, painted with a Flemish and Post-Renaissance style, with splashes of spray paint and a tangle of fresh and thick oil colours. In Jigger’s provocative approach, the representation ceases to be the centre of attention; instead, it is left to the background and replaced by the uniqueness of his method and language.

This very overlap of contrasting layers and apparently senseless composition, intrigue the viewer who is naturally driven to reflect on the failure of a dialogue between figuration and abstraction, between what Jigger calls “the past that never was a present” and “the present that always been a past”. Jigger's intervention does not limit itself to the canvas, but trespasses to the frame, which becomes an integral part of the artwork.

Left: Jigger Cruz, Western Style: The Painter's Eye, in Fine Frenzy  Rolling, 2014. Oil on canvas on wood 108 x 78 cm.
Right: Jigger Cruz, Metaphorical suffocation, 2014. Oil painting and resin, 132 x 53 x 25cm.

Jigger's decision to combine opposite concepts is anything but casual; on the contrary, this tension is born by the artist's urge to explore new ways of painting and perceiving art, which creates an explosive visual experience.

Jigger Cruz studied Fine Arts at the Far Eastern University in the Philippines and Design at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. His works were shown in international as well as local exhibitions. Among the most important exhibitions feature “Deep down into the ecstasy of false modernism” (2015) at Primo Marella Gallery, "Art Stage Singapore solo booth" (2015) at Arndt Gallery, "Depth Circus" at the West Gallery, Quezon City, Philippines (2013) and "Glitch Habitation" at the Primae Noctis Gallery, Lugano, Switzerland (2012). Jigger Cruz grew up and still lives and works in Manila.