Hands and water – symbols of care and life – reoccur throughout Life, as we touch it…. These threads are all connected by Sabina Suru’s continual search for the instrumented identity, where the image is a vessel to hold whatever emotions or thoughts the public chooses to place there. Images, less than a memory but more than a feeling, linger throughout the exhibition space. The flow of water. Two hands intertwine. Gentle fingers caress or are caressed by an invisible force. These simple yet vivid vignettes reveal something akin to muscle memory, where intellect and biology falter, and intuition and magic take over.
Life, as we touch it… challenges the established way of interacting with art in a gallery setup. The first segment of the exhibition invites the audience to be part of an artistic game. Ten movable objects – emotional activators, as Sabina Suru calls them, visually bend and recompose slightly different connotations of a similar metonymy. The rule is simple – anything mobile can be moved. However, it becomes an incredibly difficult task when lacking a game board. The space is the culmination of the white cube concept – an almost sterile environment, with few anchor points. Thus the public has the freedom as well as the responsibility to make an emotionally-charged decision on how to interact with art, particularly in the absence of other stimuli. Also, three other different artworks occupy fixed positions, questioning the materiality of the artistic object and of the process. They seemingly offer a guide for spatial orientation but really raise more questions.
The way Sabina Suru opens the artistic process towards a participative act for the viewers is meant as a fuel for an internal dialogue each of us should have: how do we relate to reality, in general, and art, in particular. A second room is dedicated to this dialogue, an intimate, emotional space, almost like a decompressing guided meditation, that flows on the artist’s video accompanied by Cătălin Crețu’s soundscape.
Life, as we touch it… addresses topics that occupy a considerable share of public mindset: how identity is mediated by technology, how the art world captures tangible and intangible value, how an artist navigates these systems to survive and how an “empowered” public connects to art and galleries.
Sabina Suru playfully explores conventions of the exhibition space and how visitors could (and more importantly, should not) interact with the works of art. She creates a subtle and nuanced playground that examines the multitude of possibilities in our experience of culture. When everything is seen and touched, Life, as we touch it… is a ludic and tender opportunity to (self)investigate how we emotionally relate to ourselves in the context of art but outside the usual context of the art space.
Sabina Suru (b. 1986) lives and works in Bucharest. She is active in photography, holography and intermedia practices, actively investigating the identity of both the medium and the subject matter, throughout the concept, form and public experience in her projects. She held exhibitions locally and abroad – Iomo Gallery, Malmaison Studios, Strata Gallery, The National Center for Dance Bucharest, Linotip – Independent Choreographic Center, Anca Poteraşu Gallery [Bucharest], Simultan Festival and MultipleXity [Timișoara], the Paintbrush Factory and Matca Artspace [Cluj-Napoca], White Noise Gallery [IT], Steinbarg Gallery [UA]. She is currently undergoing a research on the implications of public interaction within an intermedia approach to art, while also following the development of media theory around holography and its presence within contemporary art practices.