In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), Jean-François Lyotard is of the opinion that contemporary society rejects grand, universal structures such as religion, genius, etc. in favor of local narratives and personal myths. This is a world that looks upon itself as an anti-system while voraciously appropriating and borrowing from various cultures and ideologies, which it then decants in a plural process of fragmentation.
The exhibition project Eyes Wide Shut has as background the movie with the same title directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1999. Kubrick’s movie is an adaptation of the novel by the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler, “Traumnovelle” (“Dream Story”) from 1926.
Eyes Wide Shut is about what is hidden in the human minds, about what can only be perceived mentally. The mental play, the sensations developed following a psychological interrogation, the refuted and repressed desires create a state of mystery, uncertainty, which forces the limits of the real. Alexandru Rădvan (RO), Aurel Vlad (RO) and Vera Kochubey (RU/DE) represent three artistic directions in which the human psyche is deeply interrogated.
Alexandru Rădvan’s art is not easy to look at or to comprehend; nor is it a comfortable form of art, one that eye and soul rejoice at. On the contrary, it forces the onlooker to think, to wonder and to try to figure out answers to her or his own. Cancer is a work in point, perhaps the most important piece of Romanian post-1989 art. Painted in 2007, it brings into discussion both the manner of representation and the onlookers’ capacity to understand, his level of engagement and endurance. The artist wanted to comprise in one single piece of work trauma, vanity, grotesque, bestiality and sufferance, thereby inviting a thorough renewal of sensitive knowledge.
Baruch Spinoza defined the body as an expression of the divine essence itself, yet in the creation of Aurel Vlad, the body is invested on one hand with the mystery of the divine and on the other hand with the human experience. His characters are often subjects to physical and psychological pressure, revealing struggle and inner turmoil. Icarus series revealed feelings such as fear, terror, anxiety, desire for freedom and ascension, followed by an imminent fall, nostalgia and compassion. Georges Bataille considered that in sacrifice, the victim is chosen in such a way that his/her perfection makes brutal death perceptible. Icarus is domed because he dared to fly.
Vera Kochubey’s work wants to impose a new kind of spirituality. Spirituality outside religious and cultural perceptions is a spirituality of one's own self. A self that becomes an element of connection through art with the Universe, through self-knowledge. Her black and white canvases are invaded by interrogative texts or statements about the concepts of transgender, feminism, gay and lesbian orientation or asexual or sexually ambiguous stylized characters. One of the most representative artwork is Icon from 2017, where the spirituality of one’s self is represented after the old byzantine icons construction field with texts and symbols from the Tarots cards. Also, the figurative representation is ambiguous half human, half animal, that leads to the idea of the light and dark side that resides in us.
Eyes Wide Shut is an exhibition about mystery, ambiguity, desire, fear, self-determination. It is about our desires to transcend the limits withthe power of our minds.