Interview: Laura Covaci / Trap Futurus
I wouldn’t want to bombard you with any difficult questions you couldn’t avoid if you wanted to. I only want to know why haven’t you chosen to exhibit your works in Romania before?
L.C: I’ve had two exhibitions in the early years following the revolution. The art market was virtually nonexistent back then, so I decided to take leap without a parachute, taking with me all my works and I landed in America.
What intrigues me most is the fact that you didn’t get to enter our local gallery circuit. Is this a controlled phenomenon or was it just the way things turned out?
L.C: The two, I guess. I sealed a 4 year exclusivity contract with “Trinity Gallery” in the USA, and now I’m also being represented by “Galerie Art Saint Germain 208″ in Paris.
From what I know, you commute between Paris and Bucharest. What’s your working relationship with these cities? Do you work in your studio in Bucharest and exhibit in Paris? Or do you work in both, or are you not particularly bound to either?
L.C: I work both in Paris and Bucharest – I’ve also worked in America and Ireland before. Landmarks distress me and their loss stimulates me.
I was keen on finding out more on your connection with this particular place, since your subjects cannot be displaced immediately. Your works seem to deal with notions linked with teratology – monstrosities, cases of congenital malformation. Are these your sources?
L.C: …These and others as well. There are various sources, but they converge towards the same theme of the “obsessive post-human future”, a future of hybridization and evolution heading towards new species.
These sources stem from anatomy and embryology…It’s a delicate matter at stake. How do you feel about the various malformations on the bodies that you paint?
L.C: Malformations are part of this experiment called genetic engineering, which have extraordinary and also monstrous perspectives. The way the virtual blends and “grafts” with everyday life, is something that both interests and fascinates me.
I remember seeing an open book at your place, which you wouldn’t let me look at. I somehow liked the idea of you preventing me from uncovering your iconographic sources. What was that, an embryo?
L.C: It was a genetic freak that I turned into a cosmic freak.
It looked hilarious; it resembled a Papuan statue from Melanesia. Many of these relics are still part of a curiosity cabinet, along with registered medical cases from back in the pioneering years of medicine. To what degree are these creatures relevant to your painting?
L.C: These creatures are hypnotic, both whimsical and domineering – they assert their point of view with an overbearing strength and that outweighs my own importance.
I also want to ask about the traps of bioethics. What are your opinions on experimenting with human cell structures, especially when it comes to regeneration, most people use fetus cells – cells with a high rate of division?
L.C: Art should be amoral and non-ethical. As an artist, I prefer being an objective witness to all these genetic experiments that belong to the new millennium.
What do usual people, your friends who are untrained in such matters, think about your work? Is there a common reaction?
L.C: Reactions are usually passionate, either total rejection or “coup de foudre”. Whenever they’re positive, it’s something like “It’s monstrous!”; “It’s marvelous” usually uttered by the same person.
Tell me about your new series of collages with insects and people. It is a starting point for some new works, isn’t it? Could you tell me the exact steps you take when you start working on something new?
L.C: Yes, it’s a starting point, but heads will be rolling right up to the last minute:). As for the exact steps I usually take when I’m working on something new, it’s nearly impossible for me to set the exact lines. I am constantly caught in this process, somehow lucidly entranced and often the results intrigue even me. It’s exactly like how David Lynch described his last movie: “I’ve made a three-hour film and I don’t make anything of it.”
How would you relate your works to this issue’s theme: “Traps”?
L.C: I think we’d better leave any “relationship” to materialize on its own.
What’s the trap that you often fall for?
L.C: That of being myself.
Interview taken by Stefan Tiron for Omagiu Magazine