In the recent essay ''Eyes Without a Head'', critic and curator Mihnea Mircan suggests a new approach to Victor Man’s work: ''To a variety of interpretive instruments employed in texts that probe Victor Man’s nocturnal universe, I would like to add here another tool. Its benefit might lie, I believe, in the fact that it performs an operation of simultaneous encryption and decryption, placing what it renders transparent and what it makes impregnable within the logic of a transaction. As opposed to an effort to wrest Man’s figures from a quasi-invisibility where they seem enmeshed with their sombre grounds, or to cast more light unto his sinuous perspectives, anamorphosis incorporates a fissure, an interruption or delay in understanding – a seam that it neither tries to mend structurally or to cover up with metaphorical élan.
(...) Anamorphosis could be an entry point to a world divided squarely between illuminations and patches of obscurity, visual capture and an obdurate a-visuality, where planes of perception and ruses of darkness decouple the historical coincidence of the imaginary pictorial field and the material surface of a painting. Engaged anamorphically, the practice appears propelled by what it can and cannot apprehend, in elusive accord. Man’s incisions and spatial dissections perturb the constructedness of perspectival regularity: they disclose its artifice by another artifice. Following the argument of Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux, anamorphosis unites the ultimate strangeness of both the materiality of paint and the mathematics of perspective itself, indicating that mimetic images, no matter how naturalistic, require a cognitive leap in order to resolve the relationship between a mathematical system of rendering and embodied vision.
Perspective is an unnatural, mathematical method of simulating light rather than a practical model of sight. By explicitly denying the ‘correct’ viewing position in front of a canvas – and in Man’s case the elucidation of what is being depicted –, anamorphosis forecloses the possibility of ever fully aligning human gaze to the geometric parameters of an image. Estranged, perspective and other painterly devices articulate in Man’s pictures a territory where the painted objects are not exactly in their right place, but misplaced with methodical finesse, monstrations and obstructions, things that seem to belong to two distinct orders of signification. Fragments, perhaps, from assemblages where lines between self, other, and object dissolve into a continuum of wayward energies and intensities. At the seams where these different maneuvers do not really interlock, at their incomplete contact points, another presence makes itself dimly felt, foreshadowing an abyss: an unconscious teeming with desires that aren’t really human or ‘ours’, an impersonal id animating a space of contradictions that do not refute an anthropocentric logic, but something much ampler, and more alien.''