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Monday, June 13, 2022 at 07:15 p.m.

Professor and artist José Manuel Ruiz exhibits his work in Quito

The teacher has been selected to show his latest production 'The monster and the fossil' in the Current Art space of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences FLACSO in the Ecuadorian capital.

Albert Rose

It is 09:00 in the morning on the streets of Quito. José Manuel has been awake for a few hours, it dawns there around 06:00, he says. He answers the video call from the house of a friend who is hosting him. These are days to prepare and finalize details for the new exhibition that he is setting up in the Ecuadorian city.

José Manuel Ruiz is an artist and professor in the Department of Communication and Sociology at the Rey Juan Carlos University, as well as a doctor in New Artistic Practices from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. Ruiz belongs to that group of people who see in art “an excuse to meet up with friends”, he jokes.

And it is that his connection with Quito and Ecuador dates back to 2014, when the man from Toledo chose to travel to the South American country to develop his career as a teacher and researcher. Shortly after his return to Spain in 2019, a pandemic locked everyone up at home and artistic vocations increased in homes.

A work conceived during confinement

José Manuel used those days of quarantine to create and shape the work that is about to premiere in the Current Art space of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences FLACSO in Quito, a stay whose expenses are covered by the Embassy of Spain in Ecuador .

“When the pandemic arrives, confinement helps me in some way to maintain a certain work routine and I start to make a drawing a day, sometimes two or more,” he says.

“These drawings have something viral. Small stones from which cables and elements are born halfway between the electronic and the organic”. These are the pieces that star in the work 'El monster y el fósil' that Ruiz opens on June 22 at FLACSO.

The exhibition is conceived as a multimedia artistic project, of an installation nature, in which traditional techniques converge with contemporary technologies. An encounter between the organic and the electronic, between the natural and the artificial, between the waste and the unclassifiable, between the new and what remains.

Art research as a form of media study

José Manuel does not remember his first contact with art because he assures that he has always seen himself drawing. "It's something that has been part of my life since I was very young." That artistic facet has accompanied him in his career as a teacher and researcher, a combination that he has managed very well.

“For me it is very easy to combine teaching and research with the artistic facet because I study creative methodologies and the translation between media. Also, the subject I teach is Multimedia Design and Creation”, he explains.

On the artistic techniques that he uses in his work, Ruiz expresses his bond and relationship with the new media since he began his Fine Arts degree. “I worked as a fellow at the International Museum of Electrography in Cuenca and I surrounded myself with machines from a very early age. It is very natural for me to use technology, the scanner or photography in my works”, he points out.

“Art has always been in crisis because it lives on it”

There is a star question that would lead any artist to spend their entire life trying to answer it. What moments does art live? What future awaits you? José Manuel is only clear that "making good art and living from it is still as difficult as ever" and states that it is a sector condemned to be permanently in crisis:

"I think that the field of art has always been in crisis because it lives on it and in a certain way it should be like that." “The question of creation is always in crisis and that is a good sign. The bad symptom is when art allows itself to be carried away by extra-artistic productive needs”, he concludes.

Regarding the exhibition 'The Monster and the Fossil' that opens in Quito on June 22, José Manuel hopes to be able to exhibit it soon in different galleries and spaces in Spain, starting with Madrid.