08.04 – 07.05.2023, INDECIS artist run space, Timișoara
Curator: Ada Muntean
Artists: Anca Bodea, Felix Deac, Taisia Corbuţ, Ana Maria Micu, Mathias Bar, Teodora Cosman, Răzvan Neagoe, Ada Muntean
The concept of the Threat to The Eye exhibition starts from artist’s Barbara Kruger’s statement in the video „Barbara Kruger: in her own words”, in which she argues that her words represent a “threat to the eye”, because they change the viewer’s perceptions and stereotypes regarding their connection to reality as relation between object and the meaning given to it by mass culture.
I think I have done a number of works which represent a threat to the eye. One of the reasons they’re powerful and effective is that they present a danger to our relationship to the seen world.
I think that in a culture based on imagery and the collision of looking and being, the collision of narcissism and voyeurism, the eye is the major player. So, a threat to that eye is a threat to what it means to live another day.
Extrapolating the meaning that Barbara Kruger infuses to her artistic approach, contemporary art as a phenomenon can be regarded as a “threat to the eye”, due to its unpredictability and unfriendliness towards the viewer: it is not just a painting, it is not necessarily beautiful or put up on a wall. However, it can be all of that together and still become a “threat” to perception by subversively sending an antithetical message to the image it shows.
Threat to The Eye is comprised of several artists with their own artistic approaches, operating on multiple visual media, both traditional and experimental, gravitating around antithetical notions that are not however, mutually exclusive: comfortable/ uncomfortable, beautiful/ appalling, open/ closed, inside/ outside, predictable/ unpredictable.
Threat to The Eye is also a nod to artist Victor Brauner’s premonitory work, Self-portrait with wounded eye, dating from 1931. Only a few years later, in 1938, he tragically loses an eye (the left to be precise) while trying to appease a dispute between painters Oscar Dominguez and
Esteban Frances. In Self-portrait with wounded eye, the artist introduced into his work the concept of “the dissimilar as creative principle”, representing the rejection of mimetic art and the transfiguration of the exterior image (the mirrored image) into “a revelation of the inner world” – in the case of the self-portrait, a premonitory image. Victor Brauner would see the loss of his physical eye symbolically as a necessary sacrifice toward the fulfillment of creation and consequently the path to a particular view on painting.*
The ultimate stake of the project Threat to The Eye is questioning the perception of an artistic intervention and an artistic object’s ability to hold multiple meanings in regard to the reality itrepresents.
Cover photo: PETROV, Mihaela, Victor Brauner – Ochiul pictorului. Accidentul din vara anului 1938, Dilema Veche no. 850 from 23rd – 29th of July 2020