Czar Kristoff


Why do you take and create images?

ToĀ testĀ theĀ limitationsĀ ofĀ memoryĀ andĀ understanding.

How do you define your photographic/artistic body of work? What subjects do you often explore in your work?

They are residues of continuous reformation of memory and existing beliefs. My practice extends from archiving, field research, ephemeral exercises and independent publishing.

Recently,Ā I’veĀ beenĀ interested in architecture,Ā vernacularĀ identity, andĀ humanĀ behavior.

What motivates your work?

Continuous political (both external and internal) tensions. It’s not that I find it pleasurable but to be in the middle of opposing poles or to be part of one, reveals the truth within the self and the external. And by this, the formation of honest work becomes possible.

What relationship does your work have with reality?

The use of photocopying machine for my zines, the non-archival prints on plotting paper, tarpaulins and transparency films, my posts on Instagram Stories, my installation worksā€”all of these presentations are conscious gestures of my belief that reality is ephemeral. By addressing the limitations of the medium, the material and the self, the work becomes human as it doesn’t pretend to be infinite or divine. The work becomes reality.

For you, what is the purpose of art?

To reactivate the senses of the artist and the viewer (and of society).

How do you want the public to respond to your work? Do you have a particular audience in mind?

I believe that every response is valid. Whether you believe in the work or not is acceptable and must be respected.

For your second question, I think everyone is a potential audience including myself. What I mean by this is that sometimes it amuses me to see my work in a gallery or in someone else’s hand without completely understanding why I made the work. It raises internal question/s, then it alienates me from my own work, and then I become a spectator. I become an audience.

What is your training? Were you trained as a photographer?

I didn’t take any formal studies on photography and the arts. I think my constant urge to learn helped me develop my practice.

How do you define your actual professional situation? What are your expectations?

70 percent daydreaming/research, 30 percent actual work.

Itā€™s hard to live off art. Does this affect you and your work?

It does. But I have to work on these limitations, value it if possible, use it as a tool, an accomplice. You have to own your struggle and accept that it exists. Once you own it, it becomes part of your identity, and eventually part of your work. And then you become you.

Have you worked with gallerists, curators, institutions and other art professionals? Can you discuss more about this particular relationship?

Yes, a few times. You have to focus on the agenda and keep it professional.

In your opinion, what is the current state of contemporary photography in the Philippines?


How do you want contemporary photography to develop in the Philippines?

We can’t reach progress if we keep on refusing our history. We need to address our issues, our limitations, our defects, in order to magnify our next step.


Name: Czar Kristoff

Camarines Sur, PH

Laguna, PH




Awards and Recognition:

2017, Shortlisted, Configurations, Ateneo Art Awards for Visual Art

2016, Finalist, Configurations, Riga Dummy Book Award


Solo Exhibitions

2016, Configurations, West Gallery, Manila

2015, Here Is Always Somewhere Else, Altro Mondo Gallery, Manila

2014, Forget What To Remember, Remember What To Forget, 98B, Manila

Group Exhibitions

2017, Ateneo Art Award Presentation, Ateneo Gallery, Manila

2017, Over Photography, M O Space, Manila

2017, Extract, Para://Site Projects, Manila

2017, Re/Con, Noise Gallery, Bloomington, Indiana

2016, All In One, Piazza Martiri della Liberta, Chiari

2016, Der Greif A Process 2.0, Krakow Photomonth Festival, Krakow

2016, Binding, Blanc Gallery, Manila

2016, Concurrents, Gallery Orange, Bacolod

2016, Art Dubai Marker, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

2016, Incognito Field, Post Gallery, Manila

2016, Alternative Instructions, Altro Mondo Gallery, Manila

2015, P-Noise Filipino Art and Music Festival, Danselhallerne, Copenhagen

2015, Building A Better Edifice Leisurely, Underground Gallery, Manila

2015, Naked Lunch, Altro Mondo Gallery, Manila

2015, If You Leave, Atelier de Koekkoek, Vienna, Super Salon, Warsaw, Betahaus, Berlin

2015, Reroute, Vargas Museum, Manila

2014, Before And After, West Gallery, Manila

2014, Hantong, 98B Collaboratory, Manila

2014, Of The Afternoon Magazine Showcase, Darnley Gallery, London

2014, The Ones We Love, Viaduct Gallery, Iowa

Artist Books:

2017, Point of No Return. Self-published.

2017, Disinformation Express. Co-published by Hardworking Goodlooking and

2017, Zines of Production. Co-edited with Lobregat Balaguer. Published by Hardworking Goodlooking and Exhibited at Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (LA Art Book Fair), MoMA PS1 (New York Art Book Fair) and Kamias Triennial (Manila).

2016, Configurations. Co-published with Thousandfold Small Press. Text by Lobregat Balaguer. Exhibited at Art Dubai Marker (Dubai), Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju), Riga Photomonth Festival (Latvia), Blanc Gallery (Manila), West Gallery (Manila), The Museum of Photography (Seoul), Ateneo Gallery (Manila) and Fotobok GBG (Gothenburg).

2015, Fugue. Co-published with Thousandfold Small Press. Exhibited at MoMA PS1 (New York Art Book Fair), Center for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne), Obscura Photo Festival (Malaysia), The Museum of Photography (Seoul) and Krakow Photomonth Festival (Poland).

2015, Ephemeral Motives. Self-published. Exhibited at Post Gallery (Manila).

Curatorial Projects:

2017, Zines of Production, Anthology of zines by artists from the Philippines, co-editor

2016-present, Every Second Project,, director

2016, Alternative Instructions, Group exhibition at Altro Mondo Gallery, Manila , curator

Online Exhibitions:

2016, Humble Arts Foundation Online Exhibition, Curated by Jon Feinstein

2015 – 2017, A New Nothing Project, Conversation with Joseph Kadow

2015, Der Greif Online Exhibition, Curated by Kim Knoppers (FOAM Amsterdam)