Simion Cernica (born in Bucharest) has been living and working in Los Angeles since 2011. Simion began his career focusing on mediums such as photography, painting, video art, moving images, art installation, and performance. Over the years ...[read more]
Imagine a number of men living in an underground cavernous chamber …
For centuries, darkness has been associated with ignorance, and throughout history, light has become a concept analogous to knowledge in its ability to make objects visible. The cave was one of the first places where total and “artificial” darkness could be found. More than that, from an anthropological point of view, the cave also embodies the first concept of “home”, being humanity’s first refuge. But, by its very nature, the cave imposes limits. It describes a closed, finite space where everything is known and certain, a space that opposes change. Plato’s premise also travels down this path, where the idea of the cave is used in the allegorical construction of the incipient and inevitable state in the process of awareness: ignorance. A very rudimentary summary is that, by exiting the cave, one brings upon itself both a broadening of the intellectual horizon and alienation.
In the early 1970s, Marshall McLuhan asserted that advertisements are the twentieth-century equivalent of cave paintings. This idea has deeper implications than it might seem at first glance. Half a century later, without realizing it, technology, together with the whole of its connective assembly, gives us the opportunity to more effectively decorate the intellectual and material caverns mentioned before. Our awareness of this fact comes later, at the time of disconnection, when all the virtual ornaments disappear but the bare walls of the cave remain. Helplessness and anxiety are both reactions caused by the inability to receive information, both arising from a re-assessment of oneself and one’s true social alienation. The idea behind the expression “to live in a cave” becomes synonymous with the act of willed or controlled embrace of wildness that develops with a potential withdrawal from the information flow that dictates our way of being. Returning to an “unplugged cave” can be both therapeutic and transformative, in terms of both technology and limiting external interference on the self. Although we strive for modernisation, refinement, and “light,” there is an inner drive towards a kind of “darkness” that is always present in a dormant state, bringing us back towards simpler, more instinctive elements such as UNPLUGGED CAVES. In this sense, the mental break generates the escaping path, which unfolds this time in the opposite direction, towards the inside, suppressing the entire arsenal of mediated knowledge in order to obtain an independent perspective.
Although Simion Cernica’s artistic practice incorporates a wide range of environments and practices, within the exhibition “Unplugged Cave,” there is a unifying impulse that brings everything together, based on both the relative pillar of social criticism as well as the attempt to re-contextualize certain radically contemporary trends from an informed but still disconnected perspective. The general artistic tendency to overturn the predetermined balance of power also manifests itself in what it means to be called “aesthetics,” through interventions that take the form of “non-violent vandalism” or “civilized anarchism”. Moreover, using some linguistic relics embedded in the abstract context of his paintings reflects the expansion of the limits of language through visual perception. From this vantage point, gesture and word become two sides of the same coin, forming a hybrid but stable terrain whose navigation necessitates the abandonment of any prefabricated pattern of understanding. In the case of Simion’s painting, some guidance is provided by basic geometric elements that have the role of apparent points of stability, guiding the gaze through an amalgam of traces only to leave it lost in their midst. The chromatic mechanism is employed in a similar way, starting from the relative simplicity of the primary colours and ending up generating a whole visual and conceptual melting pot.
Both sculpture and ready-made objects coexist naturally, holding the same artistic intention, as so clearly foreshadowed in the case of the painting. The mode of production moves away from mass production as much as possible, and the emphasis inevitably falls on materiality, a side that is mostly symbolic. Although the processing of common objects and their integration into exhibition frameworks always draws attention to the insecurity of the border between “reality” and “art,” in the case of Simion Cernica, they serve to communicate the fact that this very limit is also a convention, as it is being overcome. The process started by surprising and undermining such intellectual rules that were adopted automatically, without inner questioning, and thus became the main reason justifying the artist’s initiative to withdraw into the “cave,” a place where thought can take place quietly, beyond influences and external interference.
Using such technical and compositional leaps, all brought into one place through successive expressive recombination, Simion Cernica manages to develop an ensemble that aims to systematically deconstruct an illusory reality, starting from the media layers and reaching the “hard” problems of humanity with important philosophical, political, and social emphasis. In other words, the dominant impulse in the “Unplugged Cave” exhibition is to find a way to escape, in a subversive sort of way. The ensemble gains the sense of a cultural exercise based on the inward orientation process. The cave represents the metaphorical intellectual refuge that allows concepts to be decanted, and art becomes, in this context, a distillate that, although it is inevitably perceived through the basis of cultural and social norms, overcomes them, acquiring distinct properties.Read the Full Description ...