PsychoPoetic Hymns
& Radical Ruins

Simion Cernica
Curated by Horatiu Lipot
Simion Cernica is known for the multiple nature of his practice, which includes painting, sculpture and installations, video and photography, performance or actions. This is the first personal exhibition in the last 5 years in Romania for the artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. “PsychoPoetic Hymns & Radical Ruins” is in his lyrical side an auto-da-fé, confessed at the end of a society anchored in exhausting concepts, as the obsolescence and tear inherent in mass objects or remnants of social and political change, recovered from the public industrial ruins left behind.
Operating in a wide range of media, from traditional to spatial interventions, Cernica creates a corpus of works that, although remarkably diverse, is firmly rooted in a coherent and complex artistic strategy. Often based on autobiographical, historical, or sociological sources, the seemingly punk-anarchic, subversive, and reactionary visual range of his practice generates a schizophrenic and hallucinatory state. This creates a “post-post-everything” of perpetual fragmentation and synthesis, in which ruin is the artifact recovered from the late, current anthropocene, from the uniforming permafrost of the critical area, which goes abysmally towards an inevitable mannerism, glimpsed as a source from the foreshadowing in Debord’s “The Society of the Spectacle” (1967). Cernica’s practice is at the intersection of philosophical and material investigation, involving an apparent endless redistribution, combination and recombination in different techniques and mediums. It thus reflects a changing condition of constant deconstruction and reconfiguration, in the idea of a non-hierarchical universe, without limits, which shares and redistributes intersubjective ideas and truths, dialogues between the ecology of the personal and that of the community.
With the missionary condition of producing artistic artifacts in the period preceding an expected ecological cataclysm, it seems that some of Cernica’s installations and sculptures could have survived fires, disasters or vandalism; others suggest arid and forgotten places, the dusty and ubiquitous urban, or symbolic elements crystallized in bronze of today’s cult objects. These are works that penetrate the procedural history of industrial or mass objects, often delivered in an Arte Povera aesthetic. These seem to include loss, violence, obsolescence and the passage of time, the rise and fall of civilizations, the manic fullness of daily rituals, protest as a form of collective atonement, and yet they are both relational and reactionary, benevolent and aesthetically autonomous. Artifacts with a poetic energy and a punk attitude, as Cernica calls them.
Growing up in Bucharest under the socialist regime, for the artist the ruin represented something palpable, the order of the day, which always glimpsed at the construction of something else over its open foundation like a wound, something of course, always planned and standardized. Unlike the fetishization of ruin as in the case of Speer, for Cernica this is a way to glimpse at the immediate future through the remains, often silent and timid witnesses to the changing political regimes specific to recent Eastern Europe. The artist seems to have always needed to signal, present and overturn the monuments dedicated to the old order.
In this context, it is interesting to note how in the paintings presented, a compositional pattern emerges, the shelter – a kind of “gimme shelter” – which often appears in its triangular basal shape, as a palpable ruin of a tower, an agglutination of green rubble or as a rudimentary negative space in its most elementary form. If in the case of the objects we mention the social condition of the artist, who lived part of his childhood in the era of socialism and adolescence in the 90s transition, in the process of creating his paintings, it is interesting to note the artist’s background in mathematics and physics. The colors of the industrial-consumerist debris are also evident here, the artist’s clear preference of the CMYK spectrum and of the primary colors juxtaposed and positioned in reverse to the flag, which constitutes a trademark of Cernica. Many times, Cernica seems to work like an automaton, pre-establishing a pattern that he then follows throughout the compositional scheme. In this context, errors and blemishes often function as the element that infuses electricity, information and movement in the whole of the material field, bordering with the abstract world of AI. At the subject level, in addition to the abstract pattern, we see how he systematically moves away from the figurative, present only in the substrate or suggested by precisely limited representations. Furthermore, Cernica moves beyond the coded language of abstraction, to explore in certain works, functionality and efficient coded communication, specific to language systems, by taking over and distorting textual messages or their indicative content, towards the new visual logic.
The installations include an autobiographical mark, being either made with materials from the gallery area and produces “in situ” or recovered from his residential L.A. Cernica often explores ways in which aesthetic pleasure or splendor can be extracted from acts of vandalism, such as graffiti or minimal interventions, always at the limit of ready-made, on objects with recent affectivity and often in the communal use. The simulated actions are either absurd-ironic, dada-institutionalized, or reactionary, the resulting objects appearing to be in fact the freezing of the interventionist act. They seem to be artifacts of movement and attitude from the action of a performance, after the protagonist was suddenly extracted from the scene, urging to be exposed in the absence of a measurement system, the determinism of high entropy, the passage of time, the inherent wear. Like the ephemeral, monumental, and strange sculptures that the artist erects in the California desert, with vague references to the national cult, as an irony of the supposed condition of the emigrant. They last, like a sent postcard, only in a yellowed (by landscape) photograph.
Simion Cernica is an artist of the social “glitch”: the discursive instruments recovered and operated, tend to be readable in a particular format — in the super-body of the state and corporations, in the super-body of the network. It looks for the crack, the breaking point, the probabilistic boundary between order and disorder. The glitch of the intervention in the common usage of these instrumental objects offers by contrast a meditation on their real role. They may appear nonsensical, but they talk about the intrinsic logic of the environment itself and the network it structures. The omnipotence of the environment is revealed precisely in the reactionary fissure of the structure. The artist seems to convey to us that any system has an organizing principle and any such principle can be obsolete.
Simion Cernica is born in Bucharest, Romania. Currently works and lives in Los Angeles. Simion uses any medium or discourse necessary to express his conceptual
position and formal exploration. By researching recent history and the current socio-political and cultural energies, he develops his practice from an anthropological and cultural frame of mind, still in a personal manner. While questioning our approved cultural perspectives, he aims to challenge the way we perceive our reality, cultural history, and how we advance our precarious humanity. His works keep an Arte Povera aesthetics, disseminating a poetic but subversive impulse.
His works and projects have been exhibited internationally at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles; Europe House, The Hague; ICR, Budapest; Art Encounters Foundation, Timișoara; Jaus Gallery, Los Angeles; Expanded Space, Bucharest; ODD, Bucharest; Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome; Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara/ Romania; National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest; MAGMA, Sf. Gheorghe; Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest; Photo LA, Los Angeles; HAU, Berlin; Matadero, Madrid; Atelier 35, Bucharest; UQBAR, Berlin; National Dance Center, Bucharest; The Knot (Public Art Project), Berlin/ Bucharest; Romanian Cultural Institute, Venice/Italy, among others.