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Synthetic Realism

Prerequisites 

The artworks I allowed myself to classify under this term, synthetic realism, emerged due to previous experiments with figurative painting, in a moment in which I wanted to take further the direction of a synthetic solution, namely the receding of a naturalist handling and the approach towards an artificial one, in which we no longer encounter exclusively natural elements, but they tend to become synthesized, stylized, as if they were made out of materials that are different from their rough, unprocessed state. The outcome is that of a digressed reality, through chromatic and strokes the quality of the image is shifted to a synthetic area. This stylistic endeavor overlaps with the topics in question, roughly regarding the way in which our species interacts with nature and the tensions born in this process. 

adidoes (cat. 11)

The panda bear is, apart from an animal, a powerful symbol. Through its application as a logo for the ecologist organization WWF, it becomes the embodiment of all pursuits to protect the planet and thus functions as an image of our consciousness, as a wake-up call made in front of perilous actions towards the environment. The fact that the species itself (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is classified as being vulnerable in regard to its conservation status only succeeds in highlighting the gravity of the situation, it reproves the human indifference for such causes and supports, imperiously, a change of approach. 

In the current painting, the bear’s fur is recolored so that it resembles sportswear, illustrating the reverse of the phenomena in which fashion design draws its inspiration from flora and fauna. This reversal of meanings is meant to raise our caution towards nature and to reestablish the awareness of the relation of interdependence in which we place ourselves in respect to the world around us. 

To a further reading, through extrapolation, the endangering of the panda bear with extinction and its face, that can be compared to a skull (due to its three black blots from its eyes and nozzle against the white base), are two conditions which, brought together, render the theme of death, the painting functioning as a genuine memento mori , bracing up the previously mentioned concept, heralding the end in case we don’t connect to (our own) nature in a better way. 

Merry Consumption! (cat. 13)

Visually, the artworks refers, on one hand, to the illustrations typical for winter holidays, and, on the other hand, to the Coca-Cola commercials, keeping the character of synthetic representation which I mentioned earlier. From a conceptual point of view, it shows two sides of the same problem: the association of the Cola can with the polar bear symbolizes the harmful effects of industrial activities and of certain products upon the environment and consumers, but also our weakness, the weakness of those who abandon themselves to such offers, since the guilt is shared, at least in the case of the educated ones, those who have a choice, where this is possible. As a matter of fact, it is a plea for diminishing the attachment towards material things and which incriminates the obsession for making profit by all means. In the same line, it shows the disapproval of the fact that religious holidays, which aimed to maintain social cohesion, among others, became an opportunity for boosting commercial activities.

Madonna and Child (cat. 12)

The artwork proposes, apart from reiterating an all known theme of European iconography, to extend the previously stated problematic of the man-animal coexistence and of the imagery that accompanies it. This time, the situation is less tense, thanks to the candid atmosphere effused by the maternity scene. The presence of the panda bears, captured while breeding, symbolize fertility, but also the raciness of the animal world, which makes the doctrine of the incarnation a mere mythological fiction, fade in front of the lifelikeness of the two animals mating. The stripes of the Adidas brand, which ascend on a bluish sky, similar to the color from the shoe boxes manufactured by it, refer to transcendence, ironically though, as a critic towards the consumer society, in which any spiritual concern seems to be outmoded, neglected, the possibility of which may even be forgotted.

Picnic with K. (cat. 16), Captain Planet Reminds Us to Recycle (cat. 14), Portrait of Kristina (cat. 15)

These artworks were exposed in the context of the “Don’t Get Mad Bro” (a sort of “Ludo”) exhibition from Point Contemporary from 2009. The curatorial intention was that of reuniting nine artists from Bucharest and nine from Cluj, all of them being recent graduates or at the beginning of their career, the concept being that of grouping them one by one in order to encourage them to come up with a series of three artworks in which they quote one another, in a sort of cultural face off, a battle between the poles of the Romanian artistic scene, through its newest representatives. The “couples” were assigned through a draw, and my “match” turned out to be Kristina Ratiu, otherwise the only one I knew beforehand, whom I met during highschool at art national contests, where artist-students from around the country used to meet. So, the artworks of both of us resulted from this exchange have their own brand, but also contain different borrows from the other’s creation, including the intercrossed portraits. 

(A.P.)


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