Bogdan Iacob

February 2, 2010


Sabot Gallery opened its exhibition programme with a show of Alex Mirutiu, namely Manifest of Flaw. The exhibition confirmed Mirutiu’s ability of intelligently deploying a variety of artistic media in order to circumscribe a conceptual proposal: video, photography, drawing and sculpture were the means used to build up Manifest of Flaw. It also showed a sensitive and genuinely reflexive artist at work, one that can relevantly address issues such as queer status in contemporary social perception, the politics of the body or the abyss of sheer feeling and suffering.

The flaw is aptly the main concept to underline his works. Almost all of them retain an experimental quality which itself constitutes a manifest against the fixity of the standard, against society’s claim to define and impose legitimate behaviour and levelling normality. At the core of this experimentation lies the body. As in our social life precisely, in Mirutiu’s art the body, or, better said, his body as epitome of the body, is functioning at the same time as object of scrutiny, as tool of expressivity and as symbolic (with reference both to the social and the psychological realm) battlefield. What is recurrent in the works exhibited at Sabot is that this body is always under pressure, under siege, it is squeezed and somewhat victimized.

Thus, in the photograph titled Heaven knows I feel miserable right now, this (beautiful) victim is placed in a spatial surrounding equally defined by the so bourgeois look of the props and the slightly perverse baroque quality of lighting and chromatic. The piece of sculpture in the show presents a distorted, yet pristine white body lying on the floor as if it were a precious, yet paradoxically disposable item. The drawings reveal it in all its frailty, taking the form of trembling, somehow feverish lines. In regard to these, one is to acknowledge that the added lines of the textual insertions in the works do not add anything significant to the meaning of the work, but rather tend to flatten their peculiar and charming pathos by artificially overcharging it. Finally, the short video called Tears are precious presents us with a sort of a flaubertian self-portrait, with tears slowly flowing on the artist’s face, without any other physiognomic indication of feeling being detectable. The work is visually arresting and savvily approaches dialectics of inside – outside, felt – shown or expressed – repressed.

In the case of the drawings, as well as in that of the mentioned video piece, references are almost inevitably generated in the mind of the viewer. This referential slip may carry the spectator towards rather broad cultural and aesthetics paradigms such as conceptual art, queer visual politics and so on, but equally towards much more clearly determined contributions to contemporary art (the graphic works of Tracey Emin or Bas Jan Ader’s masterpiece from the early seventies,I’m to sad to tell you, for example).