Kriz Cruz

(Krzysztof Izdebski-Cruz) born in 1966. Polish painter, graphic designer and an active organizer of cultural activities. Known for his work in Poland as well as abroad, his name is mentioned among the New Old Masters - informal group of contemporary figurative artists described by Donald Kuspit (in his book  „The End of Art”) and presented on the following exhibitions:  „California New Old Masters” – Hermosa Beach, California, USA, 2005; „Nowi Dawni Mistrzowie/New Old Masters” – Gdańsk, Poland, 2006; „New Old Masters Invitational” – New York, USA, 2010.

The New Old Masters term was first coined by world-famous New York art critic, historian and theorist prof. Donald Kuspit, used in his book under perverse title "The End of Art" issued by Cambridge University Press, 2004.

However, in his book, Kuspit did not postulate that the artists should lay down their arms and give up practicing art, on the contrary, he called for strong ventilation or renewal by combining what is old with what is new and creating valuable contemporary art.

Krzysztof Izdebski-Cruz signs his paintings in mirror writing using the artistic pseudonym Kriz Cruz. The artist created his pseudonym from the conjunction between the first two letters of his first and last name (Kr+Iz) with the Spanish maiden name of his mother: Cruz. He dates his works 100 years prior to the actual dates of their completion, deliberately omitting the past century, which he asserts was a lost century for art. Into selected paintings he introduces signpost-inscriptions in an organic way, as left-handed mirror writing, that serve as a guide to decoding the secret and surprising messages within his work. Kriz Cruz is a contemporary artist with a painterly technique that is highly respectful of tradition. He works in oil and pastel. The works that he creates have a direct link to the technical tradition of Renaissance painting. His subjects, meanwhile, are most often classical, allegorical and sometimes also symbolic. His paintings are systematically in dialogue, then, with the works of his historical predecessors; often his part in these conversations is polemical, frequently including, as well, elements of irony. Sometimes he works in metal point - to create his metal point drawings (gold, silver, cooper, zinc, tin) he is according to 600 years old technique, described in C. Cennini tract "Libro de l'Arte". These remarkable works shows excellence of its lines and subtle plasticity.

The usual theme of the Krzysztof Izdebski-Cruz paintings are mythological scenes, which are on current days - rightly or not - classified as school of fantasy art. The artists favourite and often revisited collection of stories is Metamorphoses by Ovid. These stories are the main influence behind the creation of works such as Pan and Syrinks, Captor, Gorgon's Daughter, La Piovra, Medusa, Akis, Akis and Leukippos, and Galatea which is now an painting icon. Galatea was exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Poland (Gdańsk, Toruń, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz) and abroad: Vienna (Austria), 2008 and 2009, New York (USA), 2010 and 2011, Jackson Hall (USA), 2013, Stambul (Turkey), 2014, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 2015. Galtea painting constantly inspires many other artists and it is the one which is duplicated (bulk copy) in China.

Kriz Cruz presented his artworks together with leading contemporary artists as: Igor Mitoraj, Odd Nerdrum, Steven Assael, Richard Estes, Vincent Desiderio, Don Eddy, F. Scott Hess, Robert Graham, as well as younger geneartion: Adam Miller, Richard T. Scott, Fedele Spadafora or Daniel Maidman.

Krzysztof Izdebski comes from a family that is no stranger to art. Vladimir Izdebski born in Kiev in 1882, was a painter and sculptor and was, along with his friend Vassily Kandinsky, one of the precursors of modernism. From 1908-1912, he became famous as an organizer of and participant in the so-called Izdebski Salon, a sequence of exhibitions featuring art from the Russian avant-garde. Art by Vladimir Izdebski, as well as documents concerning his work, can be found in Saint Petersburg (the Russian Museum), Paris (the Pompidou Center), and New York (MoMA). Vladimir Izdebski died in New York in August 1965. Krzysztof Izdebski was born in May 1966 in Toruń, Poland. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where he studied painting and the graphic arts, defending his thesis project in 1999 under the supervision of Professor Jerzy Krechowicz, also a Rector at the Academy. From 1996-1998, he co-edited the art quarterly PROJEKT. From 1999 to 2006, he served as director of the Gdańsk branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers (ZPAP), and from 2004 to 2007, he was the president of the Pomeranian Zachęta Society (Pomeranian Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts). He acted as deputy director of the National Museum in Gdańsk from 2005-2007, and he was (since 2010 to 2015) a board member of the Warsaw branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. He is the creator of the exhibition series Defending against Oblivion, which commemorates the work of important deceased artists from the Polish coastal region. As the director at that time of the Gdańsk branch of ZPAP, he established the Kazimierz Ostrowski Award, a national award for outstanding Polish painters. He co-organized and participated in The Great Exhibition of Contemporary Art: Nowi dawni mistrzowie/New Old Masters curated by New York art critic Donald Kuspit, an international exhibition that included 111 pieces by 33 artists from around the world from the end of 2006 to the beginning of 2007. He is a founding member of The Apelles Group (2009), which unites artists sympathetic to the ideas of the most famous painter of ancient Greece, Apelles of Colophon. Kriz Cruz exhibits his own work mainly abroad. It has been featured in galleries and salons from New York through California and Wyoming to Vienna, Warsaw, and Kołobrzeg.

He lives and works in Poland (Gdańsk and the seaside resort town of Sopot). His paintings have been reproduced and copied all over the world, and the originals can be found in numerous, but mostly private collections, both within Poland and abroad, including in the United States, Malaysia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Great Britain.

Kriz Cruz paintings "B. Dorothea, Montoviensis, Reclusa 1347-1394" and "Sanctus Adalbertus, Martyr 956-997" (both paintings in oil on canvas)  are accessible to public as a permanent decor in Bazylika Mariacka (the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) - currently one of the the two bigest brick churches in Europe, built in 1361. In November 2014 Krzysztof Izdebski was awarded the Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. In October 2015 he was awarded Special Prize for Merit to Culture  “For consistency in applying traditional painterly technique and maintaining classical solutions of beauty canon in hiswork” by the Marshal of Pomerianian Province. His paintings were presented in more than one hundred prestigious group exhibitions and thirty individual shows.

In 2018 the Polish Post issued a post stamp with an image of Kriz Cruz painting "B. Dorothea, Montoviensis, Reclusa 1347-1394". His recent work of art (2018-2020) is titled "Peasants's Princess in the atelier" or " Frédérique Auguste Marie Xavérine Cunégonde de Montléart, Princesse de Montléart-Sachsen-Kurland". This painting is a memory of remarkable woman who lived in the south of Poland in XIX century.

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