Czar Kristoff Laguna, Philippines


Czar Kristoff (b.1989) is an artist who works across still and moving images, intervention, performance and publishing. His current practice is derived from his inquiries on function and memory.

His work has been exhibited throughout Europe and Asia-Pacific. He lives and works in Laguna, Philippines.

Czar Kristoff


Czar Kristoff was chosen by photographer Kevin Kunishi



Laatikkomo’s interview with Czar Kristoff, January 11th, 2019


L:  Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?

CK: I am originally from a small town in Camarines Sur region in the Philippines. But now I am based in Laguna, in the outskirts of Manila. I moved here over ten years ago.


L:  What is your earliest memory of photography?

CK: There are two significant memories:

  1. Segregating 3R and 4R size colored prints which are mostly damaged due to a devastating flood in 1997. An introduction to longing and regret.
  2. Peeking at the view finder of my Aunt’s point and shoot camera when I was in 4th grade. I was them amazed by the idea of fragmentation and/or limitation (of sight and other senses) and how it can transform how we value and desire things/place/person.


L: Your work includes more than just photography, you often work in installation and ”repurposing familiar and easily available utilitarian materials” as stated in a text by Marionne Contreras for your exhibition ”New Refuge”. What is your relationship to photography and what place do you reserve for photography in your work?

CK: Our relationship with the external is the reflection of the internal–which constantly change.

At the moment, I am relearning photography by exploring its materiality and its existing uses (both in public and in private) and also by detaching from it. Right now, I am working on the second edition of Develop, Fix — a limited edition lathala (a hybrid of an artist book and a zine), which showcases text (and images) extracted from photography manuals from 1978-1980 in the form of life guide.


L: What other forms of art inspire your work?

CK: Things that doesn’t fall into any categories of art (in the traditional context) amuses me.


L: Your work deals with concepts of private and public space often relocating elements from private spaces into public realms. It seems you have a little bit of a provocative edge in shifting things around, turning habitual expectations upside down. From your personal perspective which of your previous projects made the most impact, and how so?

CK: The limitation of space in both political and physical context could open new possibilities.

Operation Latag (means to spread) is one of the most important project that I performed last year. The idea was to sell prints in a limited time (5-15 mins) and illegally in front of seven major  commercial galleries in Makati City. This work is an act to regain my power as an artist and to publicize the hustle (via Instagram Story). Some people respond to it in a very good way but some were dead silent, which is to be honest my secondary concern. To be able to explore new territory is what I need in my practice.


L: What is one of the most important questions that you ask yourself, or would like to inspire others to ask, through your photographs?

CK: What is the purpose of what you do?


L:  Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?

CK: Exhaust, extend, empathy, erase, evaluate.


Thank you so much Czar!!