Pursuing her interest in the convergence of art and multi-media technology in developing creative expression, a concept which she also researched in her doctoral thesis on Maximalism, young Romanian-British artist Ioana Pioaru presents her latest project on urban identity – a meditation on the effects of time flow and human intervention on Bucharest cityscape.
The selection of works in the current exhibition brings together these two territories, ink and hogels, extracting meaning and truth from their uncanny intersection.
There are four chapters of the ink drawings on paper are Fragments - 12 miniature drawings of old, traditional architecture buildings on such iconic streets as Speranței, Culmea Veche, Sfinților sau Mântuleasa; A Disappearance - a triptic which documents the body of a house in its progressive disappearance from its locationa at Povernei /Vasile Alecsandri street. People and Houses – four portraits of buildings accompanied by their previous famous owners / occupants, all women: Iulia Hașdeu, Tatiana Brătianu, Ștefana Velisar and Pia Pillat, Henrieta and Cella Delavrancea; Berzei – a cut-out collage outlining a vanished segments of a street surviving today only in screenshots of older ‘editions’ of google maps.
Featuring print, hologram and original drawing, the Marna installation introduces an eerie and disquieting record of the contemporary vanishing of a well-known cinema and a chunk of Calea Grivitei street. Often mistaken for the incorrectly-termed hologram which is largely used in the entertainment business, digital art holography is the result of the photographic capture on glass or film of a traditional artistic intervention which can then be seen in 3D with the help of a special light beam. This technology is quite complex and at present still insufficiently supported by a conceptual critical language; as such, it still belongs to today’s experimental avant-garde artistic practice - Ioana Pioaru being the first Romanian artist who engages in this form of artistic exploration.
The works on show piece together a delicate and also a subtly-militant contour of the city, highlighting some of its most poignant and dramatic nodes where its cultural history has lost contact with contemporary reality and meaning. The project however, as a whole entity, led by the regenerative capacity of artistic intervention, creates a novel space of unlikely urban beauty – of the survival of a recognizable, idiosyncratic city identity.
One of her works includes a peculiar ‘foot-note’ – which has become part of Ioana’s visual brand: beneath the foundation of the houses, a small, rectangular graphic motif is revealed, where, in a mysteriously implausible way, and in complicity with the rhythm of history, we can see the smooth running of a bizarre sort of support engine: inter-connected mechanisms of cogwheels and rods, gears and ball-bearings which make up a whole universe, a technological and emotional matrix which, in extremis, reassures us that the world as we know it, and as we do not know it, is working. The disappearance can be undone, the crumbled fragment can be pieced back together, it can be drawn in ink and fugitive light, thus given the second life of the imagination.
Gabriela Massaci, curator