Ronaldo Ruiz: Seoul’s Camouflage in the 9th Korea Experimental Arts Festival 2010

Ronaldo Ruiz brings The Camouflage Project, a performance photography exhibition, on July 24 to August 1 at GongGan415 in Seoul, Korea. As part of the 9th Korea Experimental Art Festival 2010, Ruiz is participating in a 19-nation, 200-artist strong event made up of performances, workshops, exhibitions and symposia in various spaces surrounding Hong-ik University. The countries participating in the 2010 KEAF are Germany, Latvia, Mexico, USA, Myanmar, Bolivian, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, Estonia, Japan, Israel, India, Canada, Tibet, Philippines, France, Korea and Australia.

Organized since September 2002, KEAF has become the most popular experimental art festival in Korea, giving a glimpse of creative dynamics to the public and letting artists all over the world converge in a community that promotes art as an experimental experience. For the second year in a row, KEAF aims to ‘Make a City of Art and Culture’ as artists transform normal spaces in the vicinity of Hong-ik University in Seoul to art spaces in the nine days that the festival takes place.

The Camouflage Project

Started in 2007 in Beijing, China, The Camouflage Project is Ronaldo Ruiz’ ongoing docu-commentary performance in photographs. As an exploration of natural habitat and man’s liability in today’s ecological issues, The Camouflage Project was conceptualized based on Ruiz’ zeal for interpreting human responsibility for the environment he exists in. By using his body in visual performance both as an anchor and as a signifier of the need to lose one’s identity in his surroundings for total immersion, assimilation and compassion, Ruiz in The Camouflage Project lets himself be photographed while doing performances in open space, natural formations or man-made structures. With his actions usually entailing hiding parts of his anatomy, most notably the head, in the various settings he finds himself in, it is worth noticing that Ruiz usually executes these performances in bright red clothing, which serves against the purpose of blending in with his surroundings. On the contrary, his alarming presence serves as an intervention to the usually placid surroundings as he forces his body to fit into crevices, fissures and chasms. In preferring the visual loss of his head, however, it seems that Ruiz is bowing down to the powers of nature, letting himself be subordinated by the undeviating presence of the earth’s natural features.

As an ongoing endeavor, Ruiz continues to set his performances against notable locations, from the moon crater-like rock formations in the beaches and steep cliffs of Biri, Capol, Salvacion, and San Antonio in Samar, Philippines, its seemingly fathomless crystal blue waters, or even soft loam and driftwood formations elsewhere. In China he tries to blend into the Great Wall and lies against stone croppings in ChengDu’s Flower Park. In more urbanized areas like Hong Kong and Singapore, he sites himself with man-made structures and fountains.

The Camouflage Project will be further exhibited in a travelling showcase of visual art performance and art photography around the Philippines, Denmark, Poland, London, USA, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar as the artist’s statement against habitat destruction and man’s apathy to his part in the devastation of his sole sanctuary.

Ronaldo Ruiz (b. Manila, Philippines, 1971)

Ronaldo Ruiz studied fine arts at the University of the East, Philippines. He was awarded by the Cultural Center of the Philippines as one of the Thirteen Artist Awardees of 2003 in recognition of his significant contribution to the expanding language and evolutionary dynamics of the Philippine Contemporary Art. Awarded by the University of the East as a Distinguish Alumnus and Achievers of 2007 and 2006. The Metrobank Foundation Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (ACES ) of 2009. Two time winner of the Philip Morris Philippines Art Awards in 2000 and 1997. Ruiz was also an artist in residence at Artesan Gallery + Studio in Singapore, 2009 and Artspace in Sydney Australia, 1999 and has presented his artworks in 22 one-man exhibitions in the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Seoul Korea and Denmark often incorporating painting, photography, installation and performance into his show. He has also participated in group exhibitions and visual performance art events in the Philippines and abroad, including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, China, Denmark, Dubai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Yugoslavia, among others. His works also collected by the Singapore and Macau Art Museum. Ruiz is the artistic director of Tupada Action and Media Art (TAMA) an international action art event held every year in the Philippines.

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