Like a light beam forgotten on a porch
Curated by Horatiu Lipot
IOMO Gallery is pleased to invite you to the duo exhibition ‘Like a light beam forgotten on a porch’ by artists Andrei Sclifos (b. 1993) and Leonardo Silaghi (b. 1987). The exhibition is designed to function as a precise sensory space developed at the intersection of two different artistic practices in terms of environment and materiality, but with the same intention of building experiential possibilities. A space dedicated to light as a central element of the Eastern tradition, archivable both from sensory procrastination without history caused by the slowing down of the metabolism in contact with the southern air, arid and dry, and from the practices of the hesychastic dogma of a hallucinatory uncreated light.
Let us imagine, then, that we would witness the thoughts of the path of a Porphyrogenitus, say Constantine, to the assembly where he was to proclaim the sanctity of the color purple – purpura – which from now on can only be worn by the right of royal blood. With his mind deeply focused on dogma, his body struggling past the bazaars of Constantinople, crowded with public fountains and people sweating with peace and exile.
The experiential path is justified from the current perspective of contemporary society, where as we see, the aesthetic dimension infiltrates all spheres of existence and activity. We have before us, rather, a system of producing and distributing pleasures, which is not so much related to the production of material goods as to the stimulation of the senses and the imaginary. We therefore propose that the exhibition builds through works that, both individually and collectively, subscribe to an appetite outlined by an identity geography defined as apophantic at its base, a specific participatory territory, solar and light materiality and observable memories in a space of descriptive geometry, in cyclic form. At its base, the central element is the beam of light in both its physical and speculative interpretive property. The canvases in which gray acquires the nuances of iridescence of the spectrum depending on the angle at which light falls, by Leonardo Silaghi, or the archaic and uncertain opacity of honey and specifically orthodox candles in Andrei Sclifos’s installations, are precise elements of the experience caused by the action of photons on one surface or another in a particular system; both defined by the cosmic free photons that define our experience, and by the biophotons generated inside the body, measurable by the radial emanation of the skin.
Artists from successive generations and exponents of the same school of artistic education, the University of Art and Design from Cluj Napoca, the two had different incipient paths. Leonardo Silaghi was one of the youngest representatives of the media attention, both public and specialized, as a reaction to the imposition of Cluj’s artistic production internationally in the period 2005-2010. His journey was guided by the constant and specific demand of the works made then, which for an artist still in training can easily lead to capping and routine. It took a sabbatical year between 2016-2017, crystallized in a body of works that also manages to completely transcend from a compositional point of view the works of the mentioned period, as well as to continue them through certain elements such as the chromatic preference of uniform gray. Andrei Sclifos, on the other hand, is one of the young artists established in the last few years, coming from the same context created by the aforementioned school, intensively promoted as an emphasis on the painting medium still seen as the major genre in the local artistic system. With a series of works precisely outlined stylistically and thematically around a specific type of contemporary portraiture, with figures as amputated, but not from a manifestation of a typology of sadism or marginality, but strictly as artifacts of a compositional or social object of study. But what is interesting in this context is the doubling of the previous works by a sustained interest in the installation area or even by a practice of performativity, seen as an annex to the information transmitted by the chosen artistic artifact. In fact, the works with which he participates in the exhibition ‘Like a Light Beam Forgotten on a Porch’, are part of this practice, being either in situ installations or part of the body of works “Dogma” made in 2020.
For Silaghi, painting is first and foremost a performative act of ordering subjective experiences. Starting from the sketch, he looks for the natural rhythm of the shape, which only after it has been finalized as a continuous movement is approached directly on the large canvas. In his practice he prefers the frontality of the subject, instead of a classical approach that involves perspective. The spatial illusion is created, instead, by the successive overlapping of the layers of the chosen form, creating a halo or halo-like effect, in which the final form floats triumphantly over increasingly blurred attempts. Gray works in this context by applying it with the intention of simulating a uniformly polished surface, which acquires a chromatic or other radiation depending on the location space. For Andrei Sclifos, Dogma belongs to the home as a typical image for all the basic instruments of human practices – functional or decorative water, secular space infused by the personification of the primordial elements or long-term food preservation solutions. It is a dogma of both the gynoecium and the agora, representing symbiotic binomials between the function of the represented objects and the needs they fulfill, between their exact engineering form and its aesthetic meaning in relation. Sclifos’s installations manage to transcend the established paradigm of culture, which has become a defense system meant to protect man from technology, as a result of the false assumption that technical objects do not contain a human reality.
‘Like a Light Beam Forgotten on a Porch’ is, therefore, an instrument of gradual rendering of created experiences; what defines Silaghi’s and Sclifos’s body of works, is the difference between works of art that produce experience and works of art that shape experiences.