I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m trying very hard.
8 – 16 September 2018
Juan Cruz’s I don't know what I'm doing but I'm trying very hard. is the artist's fourth show with Matt's Gallery. The exhibition speaks to an interest and awareness of remaining somehow on the margins of art making.
The videos shown have grown out of a series of photographs made by the artist after taking a weekly run; photographs that were not originally intended as art works but which were subsequently noticed as images that might betray some insight. A rucksack containing a series of print outs of these selfies was stolen from the artist while he attended the funeral of a former teacher, and this experience affected a shift in the artist's thinking about the work, leading him to consider them as a form of auto-obituary.
Cruz's gestures strive to be slight and self-effacing while battling the essential ego required to do anything at all and think that others might want to see it. In this regard, the work speaks to Cruz's ongoing interest in the poetry of his namesake, the mystic poet San Juan de la Cruz and his famous assertion I live without living in me.
I don't know what I'm doing but I'm trying very hard. is characterised by a rather desperate, sentimental and hubristic desire to avoid aging, irrelevance and death. Cruz grapples with the shame and embarrassment of being an artist and the bizarre irony of wanting publicly to deal with that shame through the form of the exhibition. The work currently comprises 12 videos, played here at random these total approximately 30 minutes.
Juan Cruz is Professor of Fine Art and Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art and is represented by Matt's Gallery, London.
Matt's Gallery thanks the Arts Council England and Ron Henocq Fine Art for their generous support.