March - April, 2011
With the current trends, one can argue whether identity politics in art is now dead. But really all art is rooted in self-identity at its most sublime and political. Alex Mirutziu is queer, Romanian, lives in the UK and employs these personal facts to convey broadest human experiences.
In a half-hour performance that opened his recent Los Angeles exhibition, Mirutziu wovea tale of personal experiene with universal resonance. Through projection, music, sound effects and acting he conveyed the anguish of a lost relationship. With grief, time can be perceived as both eternal and specific; a time warp in which the individual suffers in isolation.
This sensibility was imaginatively conveyed through the lens of a specific event: last year's resignation speech by Gordon Brown. In an apartment at night, the protagonist lies and writhes while internalizing the event's telecast.
He even identifies with the politician's wife -- wearing a similar dress and high-heeled pumps - then rejects her supportive role.
Later, naked exept for the shoes, he lip-syncs to a song's heart wrenching lyrics. This humor, strong narrative devices and a minimalist touch took the performance to a provocative level.
For the remainder of the exhibition, the gallery was rearranged to include a video of the performance plus drawings, photographs, sculptures and performance objects. Of these, my favorite a pair of cage -like platform shoes welded together to force its wearer into a contorted position. Two self portraits with a sadomasochistic bent, the artist wearing face masks made of medical socks, straps and ball gags, while visually powerful left less to the imagination. But in the context of the artist's body of work, they support a theme: everyone - whether queer, straight, male or female - experiences the coexistence of pleasure and pain in relationships, if not life.
Through a kind of perverse logic, that Molotov cocktail of lust, longing and loneliness may itself be a norm within the human condition.