Aurel Acasandrei

      Felix Aftene

      Constantin Baciu

      Calin Beloescu

      Ilie Boca

      Mihai Chiuaru

      Serbana Dragoescu

      Eugen Keri

      Liviu Nedelcu

      Romul Nutiu

      Simona Nutiu

      Sorin Oncu

      Ion Popescu

      Marilena Preda Sanc

      Ion Salisteanu

      Doru Tulcan

      Gheorghe Zarnescu

Metamorphosis as an Anomaly

In her “Anomalies” cycle, Simona Nuţiu Gradoux asserts starting from one of the major archetypes of the process of becoming – the archetype of metamorphosis. The mediating symbolic and mythic way of thinking encounters the prospective, reflexive and scientific one in this large yet so precisely defined area of this concentration of interrogations. In this point of rupture/generation, juxtaposition and conflict, the archetype gambles with the condition of developing beings, of the being in time, of the being in its developing process, adherent to a vector of transformation. The creation of Simona Nuţiu assumes the idea of conflict attracted by the challenging relationship between form, substance and time suggested by the predication of metamorphosis. The instruments and the ways of operation which define metamorphosis are very familiar to postmodernism, especially to this cultural sequence concentrated on hybridization, extravagance and playful critical spirit, associated to the fascination for the monstrous and the faith in the active and productive imaginary level. The way of approaching the sub-topics of the cycle, with its focus on the project continuities between the dendrologic vivid structure and the anthropological element, belongs to this way of creating in disputes or only in dialogues with cultural information or significations related to certain formal supports, signs which encode them (still remaining available in other sets of signification). The artist is dealing with symmetrical precautions between the poles of this way of reading the vivid reality placed in the imaginary of antiquity, with its bull sphinxes, leontomorphous, ornitomorphous, with its satyrs and centaurs and the female ofidian or ihtiomorphous deities, with the resorption of nymphas or heroes in vegetal forms, and the new evolutionism based on the conduction of the game at the cell level between hazard and necessity, between the ferocious functionalism of the cell, which creates supports that are promptly adapted to the process of survival, and the playful aestheticism.

Anaximandros, Darwin, Monod or Thome define the alternative of the unexplainable intuitions of the capacity of mutation and perfection, decay, mediation and functional agglutination of the primitive imaginary. A route, which bears the A-life exercises, like those of Stelark, the technologies or narrative games of the cinema, the video or digital games. Implanted in this very fertile semantic ground, Simona Nuţiu Gradoux suggests a mediation between the naturalness of the metamorphosis process, as emphasized by the primitive imaginary and that of the refined cult antiquity, and the analytical functionalism of modern thinking, and that of techno-cultural contemporary scene. The functions, which the old/original way of thinking is attributing to the process of metamorphosis, are symbolical and the perspective grandiose, cosmic and sacred.  For the artist or poet the solutions are formal, each searches for a beauty which guarantees the mutation beyond the paradox of the hybrid construction.

There is even the monstrous, which obeys this “calophilia,” integrating the monsters into the arranged and significant space of the cosmos, into the background logics, that organizes even the hazard or denounces it as something apparent. What the actual pragmatic way of thinking aims at is a compatibility of function system, indifferent to any kind of beauty, to the appearance addressed to the sensorial. Beauty is no longer a decisive element for the current sensibility and art assumes this verdict. The actual art, which had integrated the episodes regarding the figure’s refuge in surrealism, or in the invasive banality of the ready-made objects, the direct treatment depriving the new realism from its symbols, the anti-aesthetic bad-painting challenge, the existentialist or only social and polemical, playful exercises of the body art, no longer sees a unity of measure in the anthropomorphous sign, it searches for strategies to motivate its presence and portray its fascination. The beauty of the mythical classical values used to conduct its idealized form, even in the paradox of monstrosity and transformation, gravitating around the harmonious canon. The game of metamorphosis engaged the form and surface under the empire of the same ideal realism. The metamorphosis of the actual art, when it does not play the game of the collage which is shocked by morphologies, approaches the transformation as a sign of perfection while even coping, like in the case of Stelarck, with the functional program of the anthropoid corporality, the absence of elegance and the perishable character of the animals’ digestive system, compared to the elegance of the vegetal digestion. The re-designation of the body, assuming an epidermis endowed with chlorophyll, represents an A Life design program. Simona Nuţiu Gradoux does not engage this possible route of mutation, it stays declared in the territory of cultural games.

The indicated significations – with a high dose of ambiguity – the hybrid vegetal-human beings juxtapose the playful scientific and fictional experiment with the lyrical dimension of the reference to nature, with the irony of cultural reference (an inevitable precaution for the contemporary artist who certifies the myth as a possible actuality). Irony settles on more levels. Before opening herself to the hermeneutic attempt, which would focus on the selection of metamorphic situations, Simona Nuţiu Gradoux emphasizes the purely cultural territory where the game of transformations is consumed. The vegetal human figure is constructed according to principles, which explicitly send us to Archimboldo’s mannerist irony, to the decline of the symbol/myth in allegory. The irony approaching the perennial value of the monumental sculpture, lowered in the banality of the native or public monumental, unavoidably drives to the decorative grace and the origin of the whole complex of ironies, while the essential one is addressed to the human dream of moving towards upper functional forms and solutions. The irony practiced at the level of signification is supported by the formal regime which substitutes the beauty of proportions, the illusionist clarity, the morphological coherence of the anthropomorphous statuary construction with an ambiguous seduction, counting on the repulsive, a seduction of the surface. The value of the traditional materials regarding the monumental and the decorative, which emphasize the perennial even in the fragility of the burnt ground, is substituted, with the authority of the program, by the polyurethane which supports the volumetric plasticity and the painting epidermis imposing artificiality as a decisive sign of contemporary culture.

The vegetal invades the anthropomorphous, either from the external epidermis, where the chromatic regime indicates the bad point of the contribution, the carnal reds and the pinks, the floral yellows, excluding the preoccupation for the transformation of the reign regime. The human is disguised into the vegetal or it refers to symbolical schemes, which are already traditional such as that of arborescent ramification, generated by a root, a stalk, a creeping stem, a “genealogic tree,” a “life tree,” reduced to one element. Sometimes, the decorative vegetal condition combines the invasion of the surface fitomorphous structures with the localization of the hybrid forms in the space – the generator of the flower-pot supports – a substitute of the pedestal and the reduction of the Eden. In these cases, irony engages the gravity of references, which are never incidental.

There is a grave and major risk beyond these immediate surface ironies, referring to the traditional heritage, and it underlines the metabolism of contemporary culture itself and, because of this, of culture as a polemical contribution if compared to naturalness. In this surface detail of the semantic and formal game, of the substitution between the miniature heavenly pot and garden, there is a dispute between the regime of ephemeral and perennial values and eternity. One of the works of art portrays this delegation of meanings related to the categories of temporality assumed culturally. Two envelopes with different symbolic texts – a vegetal and a lithic one, contain the seeds of temporary sequences of time and the seeds of eternity. But the conventionality of the delegations had already been indicated. The actual culture is the result of a contribution, which integrated the ephemeral, and subordinated the traditional strategies transferring the forms in perennial materials, it abandoned the projects of dematerialization as an access to a trans-mundan eternity, orienting itself towards the exploration of resources dealing with the seduction of its own degradable materiality, which are splendidly ephemeral yet abundantly fragile.

There are also other sub-topics pointing up to sequences of the whole vital process such as the symmetry of energetic circuits in binary ensembles (couples, twins); they indicate the analytical way of approaching the primary semantic background, which combines with the registers of the referential game and the irony of cultural actuality. Yet what forbids any kind of definition regarding its sophisticated creative gesture in the plurality of referential levels involved in the process besides this process aiming at the disaffection of mythic functionality, is the placement of the whole cycle of metamorphosis under the species of anomalies. The cross breeding, the transformation of reigns, no longer respond to a symbolic imperative and the cultural mechanism does no longer belong to the mediation of a situation which had scandalously left the perimeter of mutual logics, but to anomaly. The process of transformation becomes an interesting process, which can be identified in the deviations or surprises of generative processes.         

Translation into English Rita Tasi