SACER ESTO – Special exhibition of the canvas “Reeducation”, by Mircea Ciutu @ the Atelier Montez (Rome, Italy)
Vernissage: April the 6th, 2018, 18.30 h (@Atelier Montez, via di Pietralata 147/A, Roma)
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They are “sacred” men, the lost and estranged young people represented by Mircea Ciutu in its giant canvas Reeducation: an artist who carries within himself, profoundly, the echo of his own land history. Born in 1989, at the end of the cruel dictatorship of Ceausescu, Ciutu preserves a vivid collective memory, which represents, as a constant, in his work.
The figures of Reeducation are sacer hominies, bearers of bare life, no right and no duty, creatures wandering waiting for someone, anyone, to take away even the only nude life they still possess. There is no penalty for those who kill the homo sacer: the sacrality, or curse in archaic Rome, becomes the sacredness of the victims of every conflict or tyranny.
In the former Roman outskirts of Pietralata, now attracted by the centripetal motion of a capital that grows day by day, diversifing itself and becomes globalized, the artwork will be presented at the Atélier Montez: a regenerated industrial architecture that has become a space for artistic aggregation.
Reeducation, a mighty canvas, will be exhibited in this context: the blade of a secular altar that contains and fuses the contradiction of the sacred and the accursed, incorporating a poly-focal perspective on the Romanian dictatorship into gesture painting and its high pastas.
With the solemn formula “Sacer esto”, contained in the XII Tablets -first written source for the Roman law- the serious sanction of the sacertas was imposed in the Archaic Rome, towards the one who was responsible for disturbing the pax deorum (the harmony between men and gods). The actions that led to the application of the law, were, in general, those perceived as more offensive towards the established order.
However, since the same era, there was in fact also a second significant of the sacertas sanction, connoting the stranger, or, otherwise, the different: the homo sacer, considered impure, was not entitled to any right and, at the same time, he was unworthy of any duty. He could be killed, but he was not expendable (anyone killing him remained unpunished and the homo sacer could not be judged by tribunals nor sacrificed in sacrifices, given the impurity that accompanied this status).
The condition of sacertas, for its peculiarities, for long time has involved the philosophical thought, intrinsically interested in the fragile bind that link the right to life. On the basis of the essays by M. Foucault and W. Benjamin, the contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben entitled his recent work “Homo Sacer” (Bompiani, 2005). The homo sacer, owner of only bare life and excluded from political life -a contrast from Aristotle between zoè and bios– configures, according to Agamben, the original biopolitical paradigm through which human life has been captured by law as an exception, and the law -or, better to say, who rule the law- shows all its extraordinary power in the possibility of decreeing the exception on human life. Precisely for this reason, says the philosopher, this condition belongs not only to the Archaic Rome, but to all ages, and the cruelest examples in contemporary history would be the Nazi extermination camps.
Mircea Ciutu‘s artwork, Reeducation, a very large canvas, demonstrating the expressiveness of an intense gestual painting, evokes these thoughts with immediacy: the artist shows the re-education camps where, during the sovietisation of Romania and the Ceausescu regime, young romanian dissidents were locked up. In the artwork, the high pastas concur to give thickness and authenticity to the feelings of the lost and estranged young people who are represented. The artist, born in 1989 close to the end of the dictatorship, brings within himself a very close perspective of the tragic events and pains suffered by his own land and people. It is a vision not yet elaborated by time, and for this reason it is particularly vivid and immediate in the viewer’s perception.
The condition of the occupants of the re-education camps (such as the one of the prisoners in extermination camps during every war and every tyranny), is completely fitting to that of the homo sacer: Men, not people, in a limbo that precedes death, but is no longer life; subject to the arbitrariness of those in power, which establishes that their existence is not worthy of any protection.
Mircea Ciutu’s artwork will be exhibited solo, like an altarpiece in a secular temple that welcomes and collects equally those who have faith in any god, those who have no faith, and those who has faith only in man. Furthermore, to crown the visitor’s experience will be set-up an intimate and secluded space for the artist’s sketches series that will be positioned as in an apse behind the large canvas. The secret access will allow the visitor to understand the preliminary work that led Ciutu to the realization of the monumental masterpiece, in a spiritual context.
The ambivalence of the term sacer, between consecrated and accursed, between pure and impure, is also visually represented and strengthened through the installation in a cult interior of the regenerated industrial architecture (the Atelier Montez), located in a former periphery, distant but still contained in the Rome of faith.
(Event in collaboration with Atelier Montez)