Soy Sauce

Espai 13

Exhibition program
Cycle: Once upon a time?
Francesc Ruiz
Curated by
Marie-Thérèse Champesme i Pascale Pronnier

The work of Francesc Ruiz ( Barcelona , 1971) explores new narrative models based on what could be called the expanded comic, in which he includes constant references to the city and its wide variety of sub-cultures. He frequently uses drawings of crowds or of multiple scenes in which a lot of action is going on, and the narrative system he employs is based on scenes with no apparent connection between them. The drawings are maps of situations, i.e. scenes that show the different actions that people perform there. The mountain of Montjuïc (a place often used for quick homosexual encounters at night), the Plaça de Catalunya (with El Corte Inglés department store, the streets around the square, and the whole underground area with its carparks and Metro carriages) and the beach (as a place for relationships and exchanges) are some of the settings chosen by Francesc Ruiz for showing the thousand and one scenes and situations that take place in the city. The artist's method of work is to produce drawings which he then digitalises and exhibits in the form of a collage of photocopies stuck up on the wall.

Some of his more recent pieces are Yaoi Ayor (a large-format drawing inspired by the yaoi, a variation on the Japanese manga, which is a reflection on the idea of the projection of private fantasies as well as a review of the discourses of different genres, by means of dedramatising them) and Francesc Ruiz y QDQ (an installation of drawings that recreate and translate the area around Calle Doctor Fouquet in Madrid, produced from information found on the internet and in the qdq guide, in which the blurring and dead areas allow the artist to move between reality and fiction while at the same time demonstrating the ambiguities generated by all systems of representation.

Soy Sauce, Ruiz's project for the Espai 13 at the Joan Miró Foundation, consists of a collection of comic-books (the name given to a format of 24 pages, 26 x 17 cm, in black and white with the cover in colour) that tell the story of the adventures of a particular group of people in Barcelona. Each of these comic-books appears every so often over a period of eight months. This allows the artist to develop a narrative strategy on the basis of a meta-comic exercise. The idea behind the whole process is to generate a sense of expectation, creating the desire and the need to follow the story, on the part of those who like reading comics and also among artists. The comic-books are distributed in an innovative way, with each new issue only able to be found at a single distribution point. The plot of Soy Sauce takes the reader round different parts of the city, so that the place where one story ends is the distribution point for the next issue. The website is a permanent source of information on Soy Sauce as well as a meeting point for those following the story.

The title Soy Sauce is a pun: as a Spanish expression is would translate as “I'm a willow”. The meaning of the title, which refers to sushi and to Chinese food, but also to a melancholy state of mind (from “weeping willow”), will be made clear as the plot unfolds.

With his proposal to develop a community of followers or fans of Soy Sauce, Francesc Ruiz uses the comic format, as he himself explains, “as a trap to investigate the possible relationship economy that could be developed through this initiative”. His aim is to explore the ideas of collecting, desire, obsession, belonging, exclusivity, community, temporality, distribution, reality, virtuality, fantasy, adventure, city and sub-culture.

Montse Badia
September 2004