Codruța Cernea uses painting as the ideal medium to exercise possibilities and to reveal hidden aspects of her own existence.
Her works have a profound meditative atmosphere and often capture private moments, reflec ...[read more]
"For he who creates must be a world of his own and find everything within himself and in the natural world that he has elected to follow."
Perhaps each of us is a world of its own, regardless of purpose or occupation. The creative act can only project the light of this world far enough so that it becomes visible on the skies of other similar worlds, thus enabling its potential to be explored – an unconditional and self-assumed vulnerability brought forth by necessity.
In the exhibition “This Will Feel Like a Strange and Warm Embrace”, the two artists acknowledge some sort of “gestaltic” mechanism which incorporates personal perceptions and experiences, in their indivisible and singular nature, while still managing to engage everybody universally. In this sense, the title plays a bigger role than simply transmitting a well-known, general feeling. Other than directly addressing the viewer in a calm and reassuring tone, the effect has deeper echoes that reach the most intimate parts of the self. This collaboration between Codruța Cernea and Roberta Curcă gains form based on an elaborate introspective process that takes into account the ground of extended subjectivity, thus transpiring from the self outwards, and back again.
A first clue of the common direction showcased within this exhibition can be found more formally through the use of medium and materials. Usually apprehended as a universally used element in our lives, the paper itself represents a conceptual core because it can amplify the works’ intimacy and vulnerability. What can be more personal than old and re-found scribbles on a piece of paper? What can be more sincere than traces left on paper without an ulterior motive? Although we know all too well that all these lines will be lost among the pages, never to be seen again, we continue to leave these scattered signs on paper, specs of our existence, randomly set free, like little messages in bottles meant for ourselves, others, and then for anyone anymore.
No matter if we are talking of manuscripts or even about the generic and practical grocery list, the paper offers a sort of refuge by its nature, ready to contain, affirm and bestow sense and order, without superimposing anything – and these are vital things for us, beings permanently overburdened by the contents of our perceptions.
Roberta’s works intentionally bend to the personal realm of diaries, scrapbooks, and journals, focusing on collages, doodles, and stencil drawings. They all appear to be made in the heat of the moment, without a plan or a clear-cut motive. It is noteworthy how, in a journal, we tend to record only the extreme peaks of our daily life, either positive or negative. When nothing noteworthy happens, we almost forget to write something altogether, or we simply lose interest. Maybe the real reason for this forfeit comes from our intimidation in the face of the world’s apparent stillness; because it is not at all easy to find something to say about simple things. They seem to disappear as soon as they are noticed, like some sort of transient landmarks, bearing the unobservable task of connecting those other more interesting things.
There isn’t room for boredom or routine, or for the generally felt anxiety produced by the passage of time, or for our restless search for meaning, although they somehow overshadow all our time spent alive and breathing. We became accustomed to them to the point that we don’t even notice them or pay any attention to their undeniable impact. Today, thinking about such things equates with “lost time”. Our interest in normality, for common and unremarkable things, is almost null while we often find ourselves constantly chasing what is sensational, special, or even detestable. Rarely do we pursue ordinary things, the kind of things that build up our everyday environment without us noticing.
In her series, Roberta documents this (real or imaginary) world, rendering fleeting and isolated impressions, all collected in different seasons, moments, and states of mind. Moving between the universal and the particular, the stencil and the collage are the artist’s main creative methods, both allowing the occurrence of a double reflection. This creative interest can also be identified in Codruța’s works, in which she explores the same extraordinary-normal world that is always surrounding us, both inside and outside. She builds comfortably-strange realms, with symbolically charged elements and views from timeless spaces or spaceless times. The medium (watercolor on paper) is the perfect choice when it comes to representing such reflexive and otherworldly places: it retains a kind of lucid neutrality while its transparency reveals the pigment stratification, thus communicating sincerely and openly. In Codruța’s images, repetition is reoccurring as a central element, this fact leading to an association with both the idea of relations and its counterpoint of solitude. It can either be a relation between two worlds, or that of a single world with itself, expressed through techniques as gentle and warm as an embrace.
Text by Tea Vindt
I Live My Paintings
There is a significant difference between working with a vision that is somewhat formed and forcing something to come out.
I started thinking about this exhibition last December.
I was in the middle of a series of works and making slow progress, so the prospect of this new exhibition seemed like a breath of fresh air. Taking a break from a difficult process, the fact that I was exhibiting with Roberta, the spontaneous decision and short time, gave me the feeling of unlimited possibilities, of liberating expansion… as if I could stop being me…
When I hear artists talk in interviews about their work process as a matter of life and death, it sounds like an exaggeration, but that’s how it feels and that’s how it should feel. This is how the energy that sustains a process that would otherwise seem senseless is generated.
By January, although it was clear to me that nothing was clear, I started 4 canvases almost simultaneously, to consume the excess adrenaline and get some answers through painting. But there was always this uneasy feeling that something wasn’t right.
That is until I got to do a watercolor on paper (Afterlife). After weeks where I could feel my brainworking frantically, it all became quiet and I knew that I’ve made the first step in the right direction.
From that moment, I no longer thought of the works trying to make them correspond to some external requirements (to be a specific number/size/ready in a certain time), but I was in the middle of them, and they came one by one, calling each other out.
Painting on paper had a liberating effect. I painted with enthusiasm, managing to experiment, fail and materialize at a faster pace.
For the most part, the works included in this exhibition with a title like an inviting promise, are an extension of the series I was already working on. Mysterious rituals, strange and fluid scenes that unravel a non-linear notion of time and space, where everything lives symbiotically and everything seems possible.
Samples of Time and Space
An ongoing series that uses marks, notes, scribbles, and personalized stencils to develop a language for documentation, Samples of time and space contains observations that range from landscape drawings to texts and data about the time of the year, season, architecture, or natural elements.
In these works, data about the winter and spring season is gathered in an attempt to capture the collective anxiety surrounding another year with extreme fluctuations in temperature and the personal anxiety related to the relentless passing of time.
The works are grouped into categories such as stencils, samples, notes, and collages. Indispensable elements in the artist’s arsenal, the stencils are presented as a form of process art; they are aesthetic tools shown as art objects.
The drawings that are part of Samples build upon the visuality of samples and sample books as they explore the abstract and figurative dimensions of both imaginary and real landscapes. The drawings are usually made on handmade paper, 100% cotton, a unique and almost precious material that contradicts the usual expectations we have of a sample book or palette.
The collages explore different dimensions of the paper itself as well as questioning the idea of permanence and materiality as they are usually expressed in traditional collage-making. The works contain various forms of interventions such as paper with perforations, insertions, and folds as well as materials such as stones or resin tiles. In the end, the works become these sculptural notes, a play on binding, perforating, and collating in and of itself while also reflecting on ways to document experiences.
Pivoting between personal and public, particular and universal, the works propose ways of documenting reality that draws on memory, randomness, and discharge of tension, while also showing a purposeful and systematic process that aims to reconcile the chaotic with the orderly.
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