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On Heavenly Bodies

The origin of the works from this series could be identified in a curiosity of mine towards the cosmic space. Finding myself in front of such a fascinating a field, I was flooded with a bunch of questions that opened the research path concerning the space’s configuration, of course, at a very superficial level, from the perspective of an outsider in terms of astrophysics. I was concerned with outlining mentally the distances, dimensions, dynamics, vicinities, classifications, subordinations – in other words, with a better understanding of the immensity in which we find ourselves, with what other entities populate it and how. As I was advancing in this process, there also occurred a visual accumulation. My imaginary realm started to be gradually invaded by loads of visions in this direction.

Visually speaking, through its character, this new subject offered me an opportunity to change my palette, black being predominant. This reduction allows a distance from the noisy things, tends towards a certain detachment, induces a reflective state.

In the instances I imagined, the extraterrestrial space becomes the background for a host of problems we confront with here on Earth. The aim is that of taking distance from what surrounds us, so that we can observe better.

The renewed interest professed by states or by private companies for the extraterrestrial space, after a period of retreat, brought forth a whole chain of possibilities regarding the near future. The manifold lucrative opportunities offered by celestial bodies open the path of some related enterprises. Bold companies announce the call for projects for the exploitation of resources from asteroids and comets revolving around us; plans for colonizing the planets and their satellites are put up, associated technologies are developed. With an eye on this horizon, irrespective of the plausibility of materializing such aspirations, I proposed an exercise of imagination to see what this scenario would look like.

The journey begins “In the Middle of No One” (cat. 39)*, where we find ourselves among asteroids rich with ore, water and other useful substances. The title is a pun based on the words deriving from the English expression “in the middle of nowhere”, meant to outline the huge remoteness where these space rocks dwell and the absurdity of the intention to make them private propriety for mining, because it shifts the issue of the increasing need of resources beyond our planet’s limits, instead of reconsidering the excessive means of production and consumption and the quest for profit which triggered these needs. The odyssey then carries us among the waste of the future colonists – “No Littering” (cat. 40), “(Im)plausible arrangement in space” (cat. 41). Their float is opposed to the huge “weight” of the issue of waste on Earth. Continuing our space journey, we reach a monastic refuge – “Space Hermits” (cat. 44). This questions the place of spirituality in this dark future, in which the material interest is of paramount importance. In the cells carved inside the asteroid, the ascetics find the perfect place for immersing into devotional practice.

In the artworks containing relics from Earth – “Trail A/B” (cat. 37, 38) and “Decebalus in outer space”(cat. 36), the gaze towards the future acquires other parameters. The type of space and time play resembles the one from “Rise” series and proposes to place in the depth of space certain fragments of rock recoiled after the devastating impact with a meteorite. In the case of fossils, I’m concerned with the rock tracing of the proof for long extinct creatures and the possibility of deciphering them after eons by other creatures that would accidentally discover them. A real case in this sense occurred with a fragment coming from Mars, which, undergoing examination, revealed traces that could have resulted from the activity of a Martian microorganism. The potential of the conservation of data regarding organisms through impression in soil fascinates me , being linked to the curiosity for long faded worlds and forms forged by time, gradually transforming them. A fossil is an extremely important relic, since it has the capacity to fix precisely that phase of evolution that is irrevocably wiped out of history, which without such a radiography would be completely unknown. The statuary portrait of the last Dacian king, carved in rock at the Danube’s Gorge, is left to orbit through space, in the same manner in which the protochronist delirium entered the orbit of Romanian historiography. In order to rally the phantasmagoric ideas regarding the primacy of an ancient civilization on present Romania’s territory framed by pseudo-historians, I pushed things even further, placing the carved image of Decebal into the absolute, at the world’s origin, above each and all, as a demiurgic figure.

“Kepler”’s portrait (cat. 43) is a homage to the savant who established that the orbits of the planets are elliptical. The lion jumping “Through the Solar Flare” (cat. 42) deals with the hierarchic relation between the objects in the universe, also applicable to the solar system, the Earth revolving around the Sun, which sustains it and ensures its energetic supply for life development and sustainability. At the same time, under different conditions, these cosmic forces can be destructive. Both characters, man and animal alike, have their heads replaced with the terrestrial globe, a substitution which celebrates the diversity of life on our planet. Finally, in the solar disc with the teeth on its brim I intended to offer a visual dimension to the Romanian expression “sun with teeth” which refers to the sun on a frosty day. It shines greatly, but it doesn’t warm, that is how it resulted the statement that likens its rays to some teeth, which rather scratch, prick, instead of caressing. 

(A.P.)


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