Clara Luzian aka Render Fruit makes haunting, spellbinding, and eerily beautiful GIFS that explore themes of human isolation, alienation, personal artistic expression, non-verbal communication, and the collective unconscious—made all the more visible with the Internet.
Luzian grew up in Argentina in the 80s, a period of dramatic change for the country. Following the right-wing coup d'état that ousted President Isabel Perón in 1976, Argentina's military dictatorship ruled until 1983—right before the country began experiencing sustained inflation due to increased government spending, disproportionate wage increases, and overall fiscal mismanagement. By the late 80s, Argentina's foreign debt equalled three quarters of its gross national product, and for anyone coming of age at the time, the effect must have been harrowing and surreal.
Many of Luzian's GIFS are developed from her own hidden impulses, as opposed to deliberate aesthetic choices, and it's not crazy to believe Luzian's childhood had a large unconscious effect on her work. Having grown up during the transition between analog and digital as well, Luzian found herself understanding both, and it's this comprehension—along with themes of the human condition—that continue to inform her work today.
Married to video artist, illustrator, and art director Gustavo Torres aka Kidmograph, Luzian taught herself motion-graphics software while living alone for the first time, perhaps in an effort to create movement where there was none. After studying graphic design in a big city not far from her hometown, she found herself navigating the hidden recesses of culture during the emergence of the world wide web, effectively harnessing the cultural transition to her creative advantage. A GIF artist was born.
Today, Luzian finds inspiration in regular people and their emotional responses to everyday stimuli. The humanoid figures in her GIFS are largely androgynous, calling attention to human issues versus gender-specific ones. The focus is less on the characters and more on the peculiar kind of situations in which they find themselves. By making her figures as unremarkable as possible, Luzian is able to invite her viewers to insert themselves into the mysterious narratives she's created, substituting themselves for the bald, clinical, mannequin-type figures that literally animate each tableau. The result is a special kind of visceral response, not unlike those generated with VR/AR technology. But instead of using any kind of fancy headgear, all a viewer needs to relate to Luzian's artworks is a solid imagination and a capacity to feel empathy.
Luzian aims to express thoughts and feelings that are collective, including concerns that affect our social behavior, so in one way or another, the issues Luzian explores are meant to be familiar to everyone. While Luzian excavates and manifests the simple stories from her own unconscious, they are meant to be related to something we all can understand together. "I think art will always be at the service of communicating human collective issues, finding its way through media and evolution," Luzian says. "[Humanity] itself is a piece of art and communication."
The artist believes that most social behaviors can be represented through art, because it is the very ability to express something that enables humans to communicate with one another in the first place. In this way, Luzian says art becomes "a tool to represent social concerns [and] a channel of cultural expression and communication."
While issues and media in art have changed over the years, Luzian feels that the cultural exchange of expression and communication remains largely the same. "Humans need expression to feel alive and unique, to differentiate," she explains. "Some of us do it through art.