The Language Of Comics
Francesc Ruiz is a Spanish artist that uses the language of comics to bring to light, the ephemeral and illusionary nature of contemporary society, epitomized by the magazines that we look at, catering to every whim we might have and in most cases, fantasies of the kind of life we can only dream of, as we gaze at the celebrities in them.
However these comics are used as a language and not an end in itself, as there is always an element of absurdity, something that is introduced emthat breaks with the traditional comic strip story arc, leading the viewer to conclude that his comics are actually not comics at all.
He also uses these comic-based stories to delve into the lifestyles involved in various homo fantastic subcultures, retaining a certain female twist to allow himself to be distanced from it and for greater imagination.
In Kiosk (2010) Ruiz created a traditional newsstand, stocked full of magazines and other paraphernalia like lottery tickets, that people buy, except these items upon closer inspection, are fake, with covers designed by Ruiz himself in cartoon style, a commentary on illusion and reality. And to drive the point further, even the cartoons on the cover are sometimes blurred, leaving no doubt as to the illusory nature of the exhibit.
In Gasworks Yaoi (2010), Ruiz created a series of comics revolving around the lives of gay men and their night-life in a homosexual part of London, employing only female illustrators to do the task, which incidently is based on a genre of Japanese homo-erotic stories produced and consumed by women (yaoi means ‘boys love’ in Japanese). By employing an all-female authorship, and by introducing a certain absurdity to break up the seriousness, something that people would find incomprehensible, like ‘horse meat disco’, he makes it clear that these comics not comics at all, but more of a experiment on ‘inter-sexuality’.
The installation sculpture Corsica Newsstand (2014) spreads multiple copies of magazine covers out across the newsstand, the resultant dizzying array of repetitive magazine covers describe the type of hyperized reality we live in; the images seen in the media, which are themselves manufactured copies of the real, have become so ubiquitous, perpetually present, in this spectator society of ours, that together they have been mistaken for reality by hijacking it.
Ruiz has tried different effects for different renditions of this theme; in Kiosk (2010) the magazine cover pictures are partially blurred and finally for the Spanish pavilion in the 2015 Venice Biennale, these magazines are ‘bleached’, color saturation lowered to the point of almost black and white, while the repetiveness of Corsica Newsstand (2014) is lowered to bring a sense of abstractness to the display.
Sukia (2010) is a series of discontinued Italian erotic-horror comic magazines from the 1980’s that Ruiz resurrected called ‘Sukia’; a heterosexual vampire that sometimes feels like being a lesbian and her gay butler, Gary on their jet-setting adventures around the world, as they both have sex with all the men that they meet along the way, which made it also a covert homo-sexual comic. Exhibited in the toilet of a bar in London, Sukia (2010) was more of a reminiscence of the sexual liberation that existed before the Aids crisis came in the mid-1980’s which co-incided with Sukia’s disappearance.