Pedro Ruiz's work occupies itself with social and political issues that affect his country, Colombia. Nature and the concept that it is a force which we cannot control and must live in harmony with, is ever-present in his works. There are three fundamental series which Ruiz has developed through paintings and installations: Love is in the Air, Displacements and Gold.
LOVE IS IN THE AIR Love is in the Air is reminiscent of a nostalgic poem bleeding with elements of a love that seems to have drifted away from where it is needed most. Images of strikingly beautiful poppies overwhelm our sentiments, almost misleading in their humorous delight, as love songs fill the air. A sinister thread of gas hangs, an ironically gentle yet foreboding sign of the destruction yet to come.
Focusing on the politically charged theme of fumigating heroine producing poppies, Pedro Ruiz’ latest body of work imbues his subject with a spiritual and utterly human tone, posing the most basic yet complex of questions: where is the love when such drastic acts take place? Behind such devastating beauty lies an irony that is at once fragile, humorous, and deeply profound, one that Ruiz hopes will bring viewers to thoroughly contemplate a problem that involves all of us as a society. For when violence breaks, it is a ripple effect of involvement and suffering, and the solutions proposed yield no true answer.
As Carl Jung has expressed, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart…who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” It is precisely this awakening that Ruiz is calling upon, and through the lovely irony of bittersweet reflection, he begs the question, where is the love?
DISPLACEMENTS Through this series Pedro Ruiz gracefully alludes to the tragedy born from warfare in Colombia, juxtaposing strikingly harmonious and peaceful images of a man transporting a symbolic representation of his homeland in a canoe with the painful context that this image represents: that of the forced displacements in this country. Displacements grew from the artist’s perception that, through art, the collective memory of a country in conflict can grow beyond that of sorrowful memories of loss. From Displacements stems the idea that those who have had to leave their home, their land, their place of origin, always take a part of it within themselves. The image of banana trees bathed in red alludes to the violence and heartbreak suffered by those who must depart from a territory that is an essential part of their being. Whether those displaced take their land with them in its natural state, or metaphorically tainted in red, this body of works demonstrates how nature can find itself in tune with the reality of our existence.
GOLD, Spirit and Nature of a Territory, born out of the artist’s Displacements series, seeks to convey the essence of the Colombian spirit, with the canoes now carrying elements of a beloved cultural patrimony to be shared with the rest of the world. Conceived as a traveling exhibition of 40 unsellable miniature works, 4 have now been transferred into a larger format, reflecting a collective identity that leaves behind the sweeping stereotypes born from violence and conflict, to encompass a clearer definition of who Colombians truly are.
When displaced Colombians must depart, relinquish their home, and start anew, the cultural elements embodied in their identity escape and are overshadowed by the definition of a country wrought with warfare and difficulty. They are no longer from the Colombia whose butterflies rise to the heights of planes flying at dawn, but from a country that is suspiciously judged before being truly experienced. With GOLD, Spirit and Nature of a Territory, Ruiz serenely invites us to reflect and meditate upon the different values that throughout the centuries have shaped this nation, asking us to look beyond the initial impression, through the multifaceted layers, and into the heart of a rich and complex identity.
NATURAL GOLD Pedro Ruiz presents a new series that derives itself directly from his series “Gold, Spirit and Nature of a Territory,” and proposes conceptual variations. Although he continues to invite the observer to preserve Colombia’s and the world’s most precious natural values and treasures, the symbolic aspect of the image is strengthened by its simplicity. The calm and unassuming appearance of the works, evokes images of eastern mysticism that reinforce a direct and powerful invitation to reflect… to contemplate upon the urgency of mankind to reconnect to the natural world, a vital relationship necessary for the continuing evolution of humanity and today’s world.