Barbara Gartner

Monopol Magazine

4/2010 April

What is the body itself for you? Using your body as extensively as you do in your work, do you regard yourself being part of the long list of tradition of performance artists using (and to some point also torturing) their body?

First and foremost I treat my body as a vessel, as a medium, and then as a space of resistance. I used to name it revolution wise instrument embedded with political meaning and transversal power, transversal meaning any force physical or ideological, friendly or antagonistic that inspires emotional conceptual and or material deviations from the established norms.

In this respect I consider a dense and risky business to take my own body as the main place of confrontation and communication with my own memory and suffering and most of all to articulate this in a conceptual way and so forth; therefore any historical contextualization that deals with the use of the body worth’s all my attention. I was struck by works of Pierre Molinier, Romeo Castellucci, Neil Jordan, where I’ve immersed myself attracted by a dense use of loneliness especially in Molinier’s case that I have found very rich and inspirational.

How close is the “figure Alex Mirutziu” that one faces in your performances, photos, installations to the “real” Alex Mirutziu? Are those narratives in “There is no fit memorial for our love” or “Unforgotten if unpunished” true?

My work always indexed my figure as you call it, and its been corruptible in this sense, as my work is a lot about coming back, about introspection on one hand and about a return to something that had somehow broke me... so there is this discussion of fitting, positioning and a sort of carrying interiorities within me and within the work itself. It has to do with a sort of movement first experienced and consumed by me and then produced; in this respect my work touches on the notion of formulation: is my body ornamental (outside the work), or structural (inside the work) or decorative (inside the work), or symbolic (outside the work)?

Therefore the two works that you refer to have to do with these interrogations, so one shall search in the mentality of the work, and in its mental structure rather than in its representation or narrative potentiality. I am interesting in the notion of location of art where it may exist in the mind– but also in its epidemiological place, objects that perform and actively engage with the exterior.

The literalist sensibility with its own kind of agency can only add to the confronting presence of an orthopedic wholeness of the work and demands that the beholder take into account a nexus of relational functions. To a certain degree the work itself refuse the human body being either because the beholder is to close to the object either emotionally or physically - bringing fragility to the understanding these objects are physical of physical acts, therefore imply a need to be perceived in constant process of making, and never isolated from the context.

What is your approach to fashion?

The entity of fashion as a gerund status: fashion - a thing happening now, where the focus is on the emergent, potential ability to signal and set in motion moments during the

performance. I am captivated by the performative aspect of runway presentations rather than on fashion as a socio - cultural instrument.

The effect is a humanized approach to a specific artistic protocol...where the established focus is blasted and twisted making the performers mise-en-scène the motor of the whole process.

What is it that strikes you about pictures of models crashing on the runway?

What is striking in these pictures and implicitly in the series of video performances called “Runway spills”, is the diffusion of focus away from the garment and onto a situation that disrupts a specific convention (falling on the catwalk); the now of fashion live performance that sometimes corrupts, and contradicts itself, in its redeployment of functions from the existence of an abstract idea to the tangible production.

Can you elaborate a bit on “Unforgotten if unpunished”. What does the toy mean to you?

“Unforgotten if unpunished” is a metaphor that speaks for itself. The use of toy cars being smashed by different branded trainers is part of a whole trend on youtube and had even been contextualized in Christian Louboutine’s “Barney’s trash” double platform slingbacks. I use toy cars from my childhood, and not at all without their own memory. Ripping apart from the outside an object that is hundred times smaller than the real one, acts as a perpetual replacement for the lost object of desire – where the sorrow goes on and on, a perpetual return to a lifeless center.

And on “There is no fit memorial for our love”.

In “There is no fit memorial for our love” installation I was interested in the problem of representation ... the objects that make the work itself are generated by storage devices. Each object gathers in itself different assembly of relevant procedures and trigger occasions to differ and dispute. Moving away from my own imagination has brought me to research emergence and interaction as main

constructs irreducible to regular laws and novel. In so doing this work together with the one mentioned above (“Unforgotten if unpunished”) emerged from complex systems of production via telecommunication and its permanent or ephemeral means of recording, clandestine digital migration, safe – unsafe algorithms, calculated irrelevance, vari-frequencies per second, video scanning, luminance and color. What initially interested me was to use my laptop as another performer that mediates the void between possible collective work, implicating other possible web users.

The work is not staged, managed, or dramatized, liberated by anonymity being anchored in process rather than in the outcome, exploiting the existing given moment. I’ve been paying attention to the element of distortion, internal and external coming from the medium itself.

Is being Queer still as a matter of social political rebellion for you? Can you elaborate a bit on that?

As a Romanian artist I try not to conceptualize restrictions, but act upon them; I’ve wrote Romanian because I grew up in Romania where being gay was hard to be comprehended by the majority and as a consequence misjudged and still is. In this sociopolitical environment being outside the bounds of normal society has its price, but today this manifestation is much more a part of research as it was while at university.

Very often my readings led to queer literature and many times I would have liked to relate to an openly gay Romanian artist being either writer or of any other discipline. The symptoms of an uneducated Romanian society makes its mark now more than ever among decision making entourages and in these issues the general public discourse is always insulting and ludicrous.

Would you agree that the condition of being queer is an intrinsic part of your art making?

If yes has it always been like that?

I would say the same, if queer implies a sort of attitude or approach, resistant to monolithic definitions, resistant to a single appellation – and to representation. In my recent work, I try to operate within notions that emerge and coagulate in the mind and perform beyond the spectators’ understanding. Queer entails these sub notions that causes the possibility for art to explode outward and more than before my work furthers these into language.

Why did you chose Oscar Wilde's “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” to name your exhibition in Munich?

“Some kill their love when they are young”, the title of my newest exhibition, is one that is dear to me as it adheres to a specific period in my life. I have found it to be poignant and urgent, and the selection of works from the Munich exhibition needed a perfect fit. Oscar Wilde’s poems are very important to me and especially the “Ballad of Reading Gaol”, written to denounce the solitude and harsh life from prison. Two years ago, I’ve been part of a GayWise festival that had its opening evening at the House of Commons, London - in the company of esteemed British politicians like David Lammy and Trevor Philips - the place where Wilde was convicted of gross indecency. It wasn’t a simple coincidence that after more than one hundred years I was able to celebrate freedom of expression in the same place it was supposedly banned 1895, and to some extent I empathize with his suffering and come back to it often.

How important is growing up in Romania for your work?

Romania provides me with a lamentable and frigid tradition and not with argumentative ideologies. Many times I have felt alienated and ideological estranged, where issues that I thought were far gone like collective schizophrenia and uttered stupidity, lack of social participation and pragmatism were prime-time trophies.

Romania had lost me irremediably a while back with its stench of dead carcass and lack of reputation. In this geography of exclusion represented by my city and as a whole by Romania I can only engage with myself forever questioning “What I am doing here? And is there any hope?” It is the people who live here, who are lost and disillusioned. Romania is a country that cannot deliver me out of my sadness. Perhaps it is a pathological anger over Romania that can only be born out of running. And running has become modus vivendi. Running of being trapped; running of lack of instruments; and lack of air to breath.