The extent of influence technology has had on our consciousness and sense of identity is central to the work of Filip Custic, who explores what it means to be human in the present, as well as what it will mean in the immediate future. In order to do so, he uses hyperrealistic objects and humanoid figures as a means of communication, thereby exacerbating the differentiation between what is real and what is computer-generated. Using photography, video and their combination he examines how digitally generated images challenge the subject/object dichotomy. By destabilizing the notion of pictures as representing the reality that exists outside of their frames, this type of depiction occupies the liminal space between fiction and reality. The artist often toys with his own digital persona, viewing it not as an imitation but as an extension of himself as a product of society and capital. He probes the ways we construct ourselves, communicate in the online world, build brands and position ourselves on the market.
The exhibition is divided into two conceptually different rooms that offer a glimpse into Custic’s artistic past (white) and future (black), highlighting the body as the main scene of events. The white room features newer photographic works, turned into floating objects as to further emphasize the transformation of the body into a sculpture, i.e. the image into an object. Some of these objects reference the traditional painted portraits in which physical symbols are replaced with their artificial equivalents. The artist views his photographs as “virtual paintings”, digital canvases with a strong visual component that brings to light his skills as a costume and set designer. He is inspired by science, mathematics, astrology and history, which he manages to incorporate into surreal, illusionist compositions.
The installation in the black room deals with the future of technology and self-representation. The central element is a kind of a technological and sculptural image that functions as a materialized version of the artist. He presents himself as a godlike avatar, able to modify its body and facial features at the click of a mouse (e.g. facial filters and digital make-up), constructed of figures that symbolize all of us, content-generators as well as consumers. The idea behind the installation is to draw attention to the influence of new technologies such as robotics, virtual reality and biomedicine, and in doing so examine the experience of not only intimacy and control, but also inaccessibility with respect to our own or someone else’s body.
Filip Custic (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1993) is a Spanish-Croatian artist that lives and resides in Madrid, Spain, whose artistic practice combines photography, performance, sculpture and video art. Recent exhibitions include: Link in Bio: Art after Social Media, curated by Anika Meier, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Leipzig; micro=macro, performance for Manchester International Festival, Selfridges, Manchester (2019); Filip Custic en conversación con César Manrique, curated by Belinda Martín Porras, Fundación César Manrique, Lanzarote (2019); Homo-?, curated by Belinda Martín Porras, La Térmica, Málaga (2019); Presente mental, curated by Xurxo Ponce, Centro Cultural de España, Montevideo (2019); Laberinto de espejos, Absolut Manifesto 19 – We Are A New World, Madrid (2019). As creative director and fashion photographer, he has worked for Opening Ceremony, VOGUE, Fucking Young!, GQ UK, Esquire, Visionare, Palomo Spain, Rosalía, among others.
Black room installation:
Artist (photography and creative direction): Filip Custic
Art production: Belinda Martín Porras (Lava Art Project)
Set production: Aida Salán Sierra
Assistants: María Forqué and Sam Whitehouse
Photography lighting: Joan Hurtado
Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) supports the exhibition through the Programme for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture (PICE).