26 september – 26 october 2017, Turnul Fabricii de Baterii, Str. Pestalozzi nr. 22, Timișoara
Opening at 18.00, 26 september
CURATOR: Maria Orosan-Telea
In the present exhibition, the classic curatorial concept is substituted by a linguistic exercise that forces together words generated by the multiple possible fragmentations of the title UNIVERSALLOWED. This controlled game functions as a demonstration of the malleability and versatility of spoken languages. With Habermas’s communicative action theory, the human being’s ability to generate complex communication systems becomes fundamental for the analysis of social mechanisms. This understanding of human relationships through the existence of linguistic conventions projects polyvalent perspectives onto the reality of everyday life. In the process of communication, each of us destructures a linguistic whole in order to use fragments from it, in accordance with our own subjectivity. In a similar manner, each of us projects various meanings, images or feelings onto words, which only in a robotized society could mean exactly the same thing for all individuals. Humans have the tendency to filter even the most inflexible notions through their cultural heritage and personal history, thus enriching them with different nuances.
The proposed title, Universal Allowed, written in such a way as to form a new term – UNIVERSALLOWED – becomes an abstract entity in itself, with a structure that can lead to unexpected meanings. Thus, this title can encompass a series of concepts resulted from the above-mentioned linguistic destructuration. Depending on the different ways of grouping the letters making it up, UNIVERSALLOWED can become: universal allowed, universal lowed, universal all lowed, universal all owed, universal sallow owed, universal all owed wed, universal lowed wed, universal low wed, universe allowed, universe all owed, universal loved, universe all loved.
The artistic projects included in the exhibition build their discourse taking advantage of this precariousness, this intended volatility of the general concept. Even the space taken up by the artworks, with its abandoned objects, becomes a universe allowed, partially integrated in the artistic processuality.
*Cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (project team: Liliana Mercioiu Popa / Artistic Director, Aura Bălănescu / Project Manager)
The project does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN). AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project, or for the way in which the results of the project can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.
Maria OROSAN-TELEA, UNIVERSALLOWED, 2017, Animation
Artists / Artworks
„Storytelling is the philosophy of the things that have happened.” – wrote Egon Friedell. Every story is born to an individual, however much the writer struggles to achieve scientific objectivity. The world view, spiritual attitude, influences, epistemology and humanity of the individual can’t be eliminated. Any statement we make about the past, we make it about ourselves expanding our ego. At the same time, the collective social identity, the spirit and belief of the age also affects, warps and changes our attitude towards historical past and memory. It is impossible to truly know the past. We can never know the ultimate truth. Thinking about history like this, is poetry. According to Egon Friedell, we can only talk about legends. As he said: „We will all become legends one day.” There are features which blur, sometimes disappear or become stronger. „Only parts and pieces remain.” – he says. We put these together and create a new reality.
This film series ‘Remembering’ expose several people during remembering. They are thinking about their past from the beginning till today. Their stories are reborn again inside them like a film, but we as spectators can not realize anything. Every story is hidden in the remembering persons as an immaterial world.
HUMAN IMPRINTS, 2017
Interactive installation, both tactile (leapmotion sensor, kinect sensor, carpet) and kinesthetic (kinect, rolled-up carpets, 250×400 cm plastic foils, relative arrangements).
Surfaces that people walk on take a lot of wear and tear, eventually becoming witnesses of collective history, through repeated human imprints. Much in the same way, this sensor-intermediated installation reveals that this imprinting is also a measure of the general impact that man has on the environment. Whether visible or invisible, intentional or accidental, momentary or long-lasting, individual or collective, corporeal or energetic, or simple projections of thoughts, imprints – this time in a digitalized form – talk about an information overload through accumulation (nothing is lost), but, at the same time, about the perpetual transformation of one form towards another (everything is changing).
Black Box, 2017
Installation (painting on canvas, bathtub), variable dimensions
In computerized technology or in the science of electronics, the concept black box system refers to the existence of a device that contains data conversion formulas which the user does need to know to be able to use. Applied to an artwork, this concept makes reference to the capacity of the artistic language, which has its own laws and methods, to overcome hermeticism. A black box which does not reveal its content and functionality, but which is still open, appears suspended in a pictorial space without any figurative markers, with repetitive, algorithmic elements. Its content remains a mystery, also suggested by the black, opaque liquid that fills the bath placed in front of the canvas.
Wireless Faith, 2015
Installation (satellite antennas, stickers)
“Wireless Faith” project is telling a possible story of “equal rights” of the contemporary society.
By using symbols identifying mass demand and religious affiliation, served by means of information of unknown origin, the work asks for innumerable questions.
State borders? Racial and religious prejudices, from what are caused? Who benefits from separation or unification of communities? Is there media manipulation and what is the purpose of it?
Is there a transparent media?!? Radio, television,internet? How we can believe and whom?
Clean Wall, 2017
Installation 174x88x12 cm (soap)
Building components of the CLEAN WALL are bricks (1:1 copies of the real brick sized 25 x 12 x 6 cm) made of soap. Thick, compact soap matter made from pork fat and caustic soda the same way our grandmothers used to make it, was a new inspirational material for Nikolic for creating a simple architecture element such as wall. During the creative process the author had in mind the heterogeneous and often conflicting meanings found in underlying notion of wall, such as – division, obstacle, enclosure, but also protection, security, privacy. Bricks in this wall are not connected, so the wall can easily be disassembled or even destroyed, which gives it a fragile and unstable character that is in the opposition with the very notion of a wall. Soaps can also be taken away and used for their primary purpose – washing. As if Nikolic was wondering how could we build a wall while remaining pure in front of outer world and ourselves.
Turn Your Universe, 2017
Interactive installation (OSB, zinc sheet, neon, spheres, magnets) 250 x 437 cm
Turn Your Universe reflects the meaning given by the variant universe allowed.
The installation is not only one visual representation proposed by the author, as a starry night sky. The concept of this work is a mystery in itself. The 40 yellow spheres (stars) can be placed manually on the entire surface of the zinc sheet (the sky) in random correlations; so that the audience’s ludic action can create infinite networks of “constellations”. These new shapes and apparently geometrical courses are intertwined, resulting an infinity of visual images, of allowed universes. In this context, the blue-green sphere, the 41st, can be understood as a landmark of the celestial contemplation of man … Turn Your Universe (in the sense of rotation, transformation and unexpected turn of events) is each individual’s mission to search for their own destiny that is perfectly integrated into the universe, or, as Anatole France said, if we knew all the mysteries of the Universe, we would immediately fall into deep boredom.
La Cantatrice chauve. A postmodern tale, 2017
Installation (polycarbonate sheets, soap bubble machine, stainless steel support) dimensions?
“La Cantatrice chauve” is an installation made of a series of works that question the postmodern society. The title makes reference to Ionesco’s play that belongs to the theatre of the absurd, the first literary genre to reclaim postmodernism.
Built of dozens of overlaid polycarbonate sheets, the installation portrays the delicately featured head of a woman placed on top of an abstract construction which suggests a woman’s body with slightly curved elongations and fluid extremities, an architecture kept above ground by a stainless steel support. At the heart level, there is a hidden mechanism that generates a torrent of soap bubbles similar to a high verbal flow devoid of significance, lacking any meaning, absurd. A modern body existing in an absurd present, in which the words, despite sounding differently, have the same shape and flow in the same direction, like a stream of impotent sperms.
The depiction of a present in which everybody wants to be louder than the other, in which the supreme victory is to persuade the other, the time in which we have become the targets of our own artificial environment, the era of nihilism, of simulacra and of conjunctural morality, the epoch of this loathed postmodernism.
Color Theory, 2013
Video installation (3 channels, color, sound), variable dimension
The video installation presents three aspects of an absurd parade: a man with a flag in the middle of a barren field. The colours and political symbols of the three flags are reminders of Romania’s recent history, as well as the history of Eastern Europe in general. Red is one of the colours of the national flag, but also a background for Communist symbols. Similarly, when changing context, blue is the field of the E.U. flag. History is investigated through fragmentation and subsequent re-composition. Color Theory proposes a brief account of the political destinies of the East.
Liliana MERCIOIU POPA
Temporal Chain – Ante and Post “Me” , 2017
Site-specific Installation (existent pieces of furniture, rebuilt wall, old picture, 2 pieces from a personal artwork, recently encased diary)
A placement (extension) of myself in time through three hypostases with the specific characteristics of each: the “given” in relation with the external “turmoil” and decisions made at a certain moment… a perpetual reinvention of self and meaning… Tricking the nothingness or merely existing?
Under the apparent and pretentious self-positioning in time through art, I actually present a short history of my family’s creativity, on the genetic lineage. At the same time, this work is a tribute to my grandmother, whose creative qualities were put to work in various types of weave and needlework, in matching the colours, choosing the yarn threads and organizing motifs all through my childhood. Her generous use of the so-called “attributes of femininity”, although not every woman possesses them just by being a woman, was probably the framework for my own creativity. My teenage daughter’s outstanding creative manifestation through picture diaries, as an extension of myself, continues the red thread of some fundamentally individual artistic manifestations.
The installation proposed for exhibition contains one of the pictures sewn and framed by my grandmother – they still hang on the walls of the house I grew up in, just like they were during her lifetime – two elements from a personal work entitled Actions, states, passions – each of them containing the transcription of a number of action verbs, where some take place horizontally and others vertically -, as well as the picture diary of my 16-year-old daughter – opened at a page of her choosing and encased.
The work that I decided to re-contextualize here represents a remarkable moment in my artistic orientation.
Liliana MERCIOIU POPA
No mirage?, 2017
Site-specific installation (existent ramp and platform, stencil maps, irregular frame, clear silicone gel spheres, natural light), variable dimension
The action of setting out to seek one’s fortune is rooted in antiquity. The need for a mirage, for setting objectives, for deciding on a route, lies at the foundation of many life stories. Whether at a geographical level or at a purely aspirational level, the opportunities for pursuing one’s dream have become ever wider. Nevertheless, the horizons seem to be shrinking in today’s context. The idea for the installation is intimately linked to the personal decision that I made almost twenty years ago, to settle in Timisoara, but I believe that it applies just as well to a wider context, since I see myself as a cell moving into the flow of evolution and the perpetual metamorphosis of history.
The recent events worldwide: economic disruption, terrorist attacks, coups d’état, earthquakes, surprise election results, worrisome political statements, etc., all contribute to the uncertainty of the direction, making it hard to keep logic and coherence in any individual project, maintaining everything in a state of suspense/suspension, resulting in a crisis of the phenomenon of migration itself, as well as the motives behind it.
Once, Timişoara, with its industry, job opportunities and general progress was an attraction point for the population that was on the move.
The work is a game of perception and understanding in relation with the multiple meanings of the word, the aim being to reflect on this phenomenon. The answer to the question “no mirage?” is up to each of us
Emerging mural, 2017
Site-specific installation (acrylic wall painting, objects), variable dimensions
“Emerging mural” is a work in progress project meant to continue for as long as the exhibition UNIVERSALLOWED stays open. Growing progressively, the network of lines will engulf the other visual elements present in the small room in the tower of the former battery factory. The remnants of electrical panels or the various parts of deconstructed mechanisms are perceived as relics of the industrial past of the building. The pictorial intervention, which aims to create illusory optical effects, will start a dialogue with these 3D objects and will adapt its routes in relation to them, putting them in the limelight and integrating them into the artistic process. The way in which the ready-made is dealt with is different in this case. The object is not dislocated, but re-contextualized in situ, by having the spatiality around it changed.
Livia Mateiaș & 13m10j
Experimenting life as visual artists we usually duplicate our existence between the art life and social life. If we are lucky enough we are able to merge them into one complete and beautiful experience. Searching for harmony and also not following patterns, we arrive at a unique moment in life in which LOVE made the choice for us and we made the choice for LOVE.
Being both visual artists, we chose each other and the experience of an artistic life. UNIVERSAL LOVE is a concept derived from the UNIVERSALLOWED curatorial statement through which we decided to share a special part from our life trough a multimedia installation. We created our wedding event as a cosmic journey through univers, that we are living it as a lifetime performance. Following our cosmic path through universe, we had choices, we had opportunities, we had some times of struggle but the universe drawn us together, so our wedding became universal allowed.
Visualising our wedding as an ever expanding cosmic event, we decided to share it with the exhibition public, by means of some wedding objects, images and short videos.
Micro Memo Lab: the Tower of the Former Dura Battery Factory. Pilot project, 2017
Installation (photography/ video under the microscope), variable dimensions
The project creates a „micro-memory laboratory” of the Tower of the former Battery Factory that houses the exhibition UNIVERSALLOWED. It presents the stages of the discovery and the personal, artistic re-construction and interpretation of the „micro-history” of this building which was erected at the beginning of the 20th century. Pieces of masonry, wood splinters, dust, cobwebs, feathers, rust, paint etc., were collected from that space before it was sanitized. These reveal another world altogether when combined with different liquid media, reagents and pigments and then inspected under the microscope. A micro-universe of the past meets the present macro-universe in which the artist continues her research on memory, employing her passion for microscopy that she discovered as a student at the veterinary medicine faculty.
The artwork from the Tower of the former Dura Battery Factory is the pilot project of an extensive process of “mapping” and microscopic interpretation of the memory of certain buildings, spaces and historic routes.
Last Supper Meal, 2015
Object display (coal, sample tube with natural gas, oil, cardboard, paint, new testament pages (Gospel accounts regarding the Last Supper) folded into a napkin, plastic tray, straw, beaker) 7 x 42 x 27 cm
“Last Supper Meal” is an object display, part of the exp(x) series which addresses the present day issue of fossil fuels dependency. Displayed as a tray with fast food meal on it, the work containing three-forms of fossil fuel is referring to a final capitalist transubstantiation of man into resource consumption and the resource itself. The self proclaimed master of resources, guided by its endless consumerist need, becomes both the actual consumption and the consumable mass. This change is as basic as our need to feed ourselves, part of our daily meal, it is irreversible and permanent Eucharist of capitalism.
Breathe In Breathe Out, 2017
Installation (tubular plastic foil, rubble, compressed air system), variable dimension
The artwork brings into discussion the incontrollable phenomenon through which our planet’s resources are being turned into industrial products. In the symbolism of platonic bodies, the tetrahedron signifies fire. Transposed into present times, this symbol can reflect the process through which synthetic matter receives a form and utility. The hourglass shape of the artwork as a whole raises awareness to the fact that it is only a matter of time until the industrial product becomes inversely proportional to the wastes that come out of the process of making it. Plastic, the material used for building this work, is considered to be the raw matter indispensable for any field of activity. However, it has a negative side, namely the long period that needs to pass before it disintegrates: between 100 and 1000 years. Despite being aware of the direction of this process which leads to mountains of refuse that change the natural landscape at a global scale, people do not let go of their personal comfort and keep fuelling this phenomenon. The artificial breathing in the artwork draws attention to the fact that this industry has almost got to the point where it has its own life.