About Pia Cruzalegui

ABOUT

In my own words:

I am a visual artist based in the United States. My art practice comprehends visual and curatorial arts with a primary focus on digital media (video, sound and new technologies), and installation. I like working with moving images and sound because I find the medium malleable and favorable for the stories I like to tell, whereas I make art or curate an exhibition.

A little bit from some of the work in my portfolio:

One of latest works is a sound installation "Poema sinfónico AmericanX para cuarto de siglo (sin partitura), o trova para mitos y tabúes antropológicos, volumen 1" (2021), (Trans. Symphonic poem AmericanX for a quarter of a century (without a score), or ballad for myths and anthropological taboos, volume 1 (2021) is the first in a series of sound works that joins Latin American cultural pluralism and that precedes ethnocentric dogmas. For this work, I chose to work with more than 30 Peruvian musical pieces, the vast majority of international recognition. This collage represents the lineage and the mixture of Peruvian culture, and the diversity of all its regions (coast, mountains, jungle; north, center and south that make up more than 20 subregions with roots dating to a pre-Incan era). The regions conform to only a fraction of what it means to be Latin American, and like this poem, dissonant but symphonic, is irreducible. (Read the complete statement here: Statement)

"View from the Crystal Tower, or..." (2020), is a work that, far from dealing with identity, brings forward the interrupted path of the children of Latin America resulting from foreign penetrating forces throughout its history from colonization to modern times.
After creating the video art piece, which resulted from a year of research of untold Latin American histories, I hosted a number of conversations with fellow Latin American artists, as well as family and friends, and friends of friends in the diaspora (here in the US and abroad). Our conversations on contemporary global politics, our personal experiences in and with Latin America, the intergenerational cultural experience that resurfaces today more than ever, the colonization of the female Latin American body, and the massive white washing we have experienced in order to be accepted in North American society, connected us at deeper levels, where we intersected at various points.

I decided to organize a small group exhibition and invited five contemporary women artists and their works to participate in March 2020 (Chicago Art Department). The exhibition opened around the same time the world commemorated Women's Suffrage and women of color during Women's International Day. This curatorial project, Power of the Feminine (Re) Interpretadas (2020), a multi-media (digital media) exhibition showcased the works of Karina Aguilera Stravinsky, Constanza Bizraelli, Cristina Flores, Rebecca Montalvo, Laura Drey and I. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced me to close the event the same weekend it opened.


Towards the end of 2018-19, I produced Rojo Rosa Rosado, a work that opens dialogue to femicides in the Latin American region and how young girls and women continue to be a target for mistreatment. Rojo Rosa Rosado led to an award and recognition by the Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio in Quito, Ecuador.

In 2018, I curated my largest time-based media exhibition this far, Vital Signs. This group show became the highlight of the Twisted Oyster Film and New Media Festival and took place at the 2nd floor gallery of the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, a 15,000 square foot space where I created two micro-cinema environments to compliment the art installations. Vital Sign had two iterations in Greece and Italy. The exhibition brought awareness to the climate crisis through the works of artists from Peru, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Uzbekistan, Russia, former Yugoslavia and the US.

Vital Signs results from a period of research between 2017 and 2018. Time that I spent traveling to Mexico and South America. This is also a time that I spent reflecting on the United States departure from the Paris Agreement and masterminding how to synthesize and use my curatorial abilities to voice the concerns of so many artists at the time. This is how the project takes life. I invited artists whose works directly address issues like the disappearance of bees, the death of the coral reefs and plankton (leaving the human chain at an urgent risk of attention), the rage of tornadoes, fires, hurricanes and tsunamis, the accumulation of trash, specifically plastics, the melting of icebergs from Antarctic, industrial pollution (from factories to mining corporations that rob indigenous populations of legitimate ownership of their lands in the Altiplano and here); artworks that address poisonous waters, aquifers at risk due to urban sprawl, and military interventions responsible for the disappearance of entire ecosystems in Asia. To say the least, Vital Signs ended up being a very moving show and many people in attendance expressed it.

I am also the founding director and curator of Twisted Oyster, a theme based new media and cinema event (currently under revision) created with the sole intention to connect and interact with the community. Twisted Oyster has given me the opportunity to meet and connect with so many artists and filmmakers from around the world, who like me, utilize their works to voice concern surrounding pressing issues of our world. Through this project, I along with the many artists represented, have explored issues that cause us and many people distress related to perceptions of freedom (or lack of) and gender, as well as climate change. Twisted Oyster is curated with the help of jurors and has grown thanks to the support of awesome collaborators.

Looking further back, Subspecies Synergia, (2013-18) is a video art installation that deals with identity and migration from a retrospective standpoint. This work has appeared in several iterations of I AMerican (2013-2019), a group exhibition organized by Sergio Gomez (Chicago), which led me to having my first commission by a museum, the Freeport Art Museum, American Tales in the Making, a collection of interviews of locals that now resides in their archives.

Reflecting on my practice, I stand at the intersection of so many aspects of life and the world. Perhaps we are all there, at the same or similar crossroads. I just choose to make art with it. As a young child I fantasized about histories, geographies and how I (and my family) came to be, I mean that I used to ponder on things way too complex for a child to grasp. I always knew there was a lot more than what my eyes could see as an 8 year old observing the city from the balcony of our 5th story flat. I was the awkward kid always standing at the intersection of something.

Today, as a professional artist who stands in a much different world, in a much different intersection, and sitting from the comfort of my home studio revising this entry, I can attest that art is my most powerful weapon. The intersection is the best place to be: thoughtful and in between art and technology.

I stand in a world filled with flaws that serve me as point of departure to make art and to open spaces to curate mindful exhibitions that can prompt conversations. My goal is simple: to tell you a story, immerse you in a sensorial experience where your only escape is to think about what I am trying to share with you. I treat every idea with attention and I turn environments into expressions of our human condition through works that may assist in discerning our common tales.

The recurring themes in my practice are linked to gender, climate change, and Latin America. I document life instances using video cameras, sound recorders, and I jot all sorts of notes. Then, I deconstruct them in my studio. What you experience, as a viewer, is an abstraction to reinterpret.

Truly, madly, deeply,
Pia
-January 2022