CRISTI POGACEAN - the cautionary "TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE"
Probably the most telling piece of the exhibition is a wall-carpet in the tradition of the The Abduction from the Harem. This very popular carpet, a textile version of the Mozart piece, is seen on many Romanian walls, from the countryside to the city apartment houses.
I have seen this decorative piece represented recently in a Romanian Language guide from Japan done in a manga form. There it was on the wall with the running horses and the unmistakable oriental architecture in the background. This carpet being one of the few instances of genuine urban folk art harkens back to the 18th century western representation of the Orient. In a reversal of the kidnapping situation – the carpet is now framing a contemporary representation of modern-day orientalism. This Orient was seen as a place to be raided, a sort of a storehouse for Western media curiosity, skoptophilia and intervention. The TV set is now a dutiful provider of such imagery.
The Romanian journalists captured in front of their Islamic captors follow in the same tradition of harem enclosures, forbidden gardens, and sexual prisoners. The terror act itself is justified by the immediate access to such an enclosure – the paradisiacal respite reserved to the chosen few.
The arabesque of the whole media coverage made it actually impossible to know for sure when the Romanian Journalists got released. Their convoluted tale became the new decorative wall-piece of the living room millennium.
Another work speaks of another kind of sweet trap this time. Cristian Pogacean allows the bird to fly away from the modernist trap – the whitewashed cubicle of modern life. Building a modernist birdcage model house and endowing it with bird holes allows for another tale to be told. Architects, in a gesture of ornithological kindness have permitted themselves to build nests for their favorite pets – sedentary humans rehearsing the new living conditions.
The human size negative replica of a toy soldier makes this tale shed light on possible connections between early play and later monumental tendencies. Toy soldiers made of led grow into bronze replicas. Tiny imperfections of surface details get amplified later on as the individual gets enrolled into the hero production machine. As such, many heroic army monuments have shed their skin showing off their infantile core.
Two videos show other quirks of cautionary tales. The one showing doubting Thomas as a computer generated image isolating a continuous squirm amidst a classical image of incredulity.
The whole image is static apart from the wriggling, nausea inducing finger that worms itself into the open gash. Visually nothing is tested. The long, painful finger test itself is the only moving, experiencing part of the whole work.