This text was written on the occasion of THIS, LIKE..., solo show at Marie-Maure Fleisch Gallery, Brussels
Sept 8 - Oct 21, 2017
In his work, the eclectic artist Alex Mirutziu (Sibiu, 1981), explores two parallel trajectories with ease: performance, a discipline he has practiced for over fifteen years, and another more related to “the reasons for doing”. The former, presented “live” and through post-production with photography and video, often takes on a provocative and protesting vein, sometimes evoking autobiographical references; other times it underlines the raison d'être of fundamental or existential differences. This approach has led many critics over the past years to define Mirutziu as the enfant terrible of Romanian art. His second artistic trajectory starts with drawings to which he attributes a gnoseological value, denoted by a (poorly-concealed) manual dexterity which is irremediably unveiled in his sculptures, often representing a fragmentary aesthetic. The progressive comparison of these two lines of artistic research reveals an interesting intrinsic divergence: although his performances embody an expressive vividness and plastic vocabulary, these characteristics are seemingly contrasted by a metaphorically investigative approach which could be defined as a renewed classicality.
Both of these veins are seen in This, Like…, a complex project entirely dedicated to the tormented figure of Iris Murdoch (1919 – 1999), the prolific British author and philosopher, destined to live out her last years with Alzheimer’s disease. The exhibition opens with About the word experience, 2017, a “performative” drawing in which Mirutziu's edgy pen creates 92 separate frames of a conversation filmed in 1984 between Murdoch and the stateless philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 – 1986). Indeed, the title of the exhibition also subtly alludes to mental distress and moments of confusion to which persons like the British philosopher have to face, unable to associate words and concepts correctly. The work Dignity to the Unsaid, 2017 – a performance first shown at the MNAC in Bucharest – also refers to this same phenomenon. Presented in the form of a harrowing short feature film, it gives a metaphorical, hypertextual insight into the semantic relationship between the said and the unsaid. In the exhibition-specific sculptures, Mirutziu's aesthetic stratagem favours the evocative property of the object. He weaves a visual score of protective signs connected with experience, creating a somewhat hermetic resonance in which the object’s real existence counts less that the evidence of its existence; the phenomenon or its essence manifested through the conscience of its creator who undertakes actions in creating the work. This is the approach the artist has adopted to go beyond the epidermis of the physical object: a stratagem to reiterate his poetics and his stylistic bent in which the subversive capacity of art to reveal and present new alternatives, or new attitudes and new ways of thinking is innate, thus conferring voice and dignity to the unsaid or the unexpressed.
Suspended between abstraction and representation, the sculptures in the series This, Like… tell an anguishing tale in which the existential-artistic experience of Iris Murdoch becomes an occasion or pretext for the Romanian artist to construct a story that deals with the recurrent and somewhat disturbing themes of his creative research: otherness, marginalisation, and exclusion. Thus, we have a trajectory which pays homage to the artist in the very instant in which affection and the fleeting form restore the macerated traces of the intellect. His is a continual struggle beyond the concrete reality of the material, blurring the frontiers between objectivity and subjectivity, between realistic and sentimental representation until they become labile; a tiring process of subtraction leading to the progressive "in-definition" of the features of a woman destined to progressive dementia. Thus, Mirutziu's work is agonizingly impacting, animated by a system of unstable equilibria of diverse elements which create disturbing connections and short circuits between the familiar and the unknown, the logical and the absurd, eternity and intransience, illusion and reality.
Eugenio Viola, PhD is an Italian Curator and Art Critic. Since 2009 he has held curatorial positions at Madre, the Contemporary Art Museum of Naples. From 2013, as Curator at Large, he has been responsible for the research and development of the museum’s collection and co-curated the first Italian large-scale exhibitions of Boris Mikhailov and Francis Alys; a complex Daniel Buren project, conceived in two parts and across two years; and the largest exhibitions ever devoted to the Italian artists Vettor Pisani and Giulia Piscitelli.
From 2009 to 2012, he was the Curator of the museum’s Project Room. During this time he was responsible for presenting “Transit” Project (2009 – 2011), a series of exhibitions and residencies in partnership with institutions from the Middle East as well as an annual performance festival named Corpus. Art in Action (2009-2012).
Eugenio has also worked as a guest curator for several Italian and International institutions, curating amongst others solo exhibitions devoted to: Regina José Galindo (Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany, 2016); Karol Radziszewski (CoCA – Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu, Torun, Poland, 2014); Mark Raidpere (EKKM – The Contemporary Art Museum of Tallinn, Estonia, 2013); Marina Abramović (PAC – Contemporary Art Pavilion, Milan, Italy, 2012); Francesco Jodice (MSU – The Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, 2011); and ORLAN (MAMC – Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint Etienne, France, 2007). In 2015 he curated the Estonian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.
He is a scholar in theories and practices related to performance and Body Art and has published and lectured extensively on these subjects. Apollo art magazine has described Eugenio as “one of the most talented and inspirational young people who are driving forward the art world today”.