A glimpse, approximately
We can only live multiple realities these days, and time is becoming an overly elastic chewing gum that
can simultaneously stretch and split at any moment. A millennial time that can withdraw and stutter all
that is solid melts into air.
Matei Dumitriu’s first solo exhibition at Suprainfinit investigates notions of time—a time that includes a
beginning and an end, a flowing time that can only be experienced through repetition, simultaneity and
contingency. A time from the past that is just approximately sealed off from the perceivable present, or
a time like a creature, that is just as much personal as it is temporal.
The two-channel video work, A glimpse, approximately, is a cartography of situations, minimal human
encounters and landscapes. Nine sequences, nine different interiors - exteriors, nine glimpses that revert
and slow down the millennial glimpse catch, are juggling with real and fictional anchors. Inspired by mostly
peripheric scenes from art films, such as Eugene Green’s Le pont des Arts or Angela Schanelec’
filmography, throughout his video work Matei highlights a plural time in terms of conjunctures and
affective responses. The acts of crying and laughing form a common wordless language that enables the
open cavity to shout without sound, the crying eyes to reject any textual expressions, the cringe loud
laughter to turn everything into a speechless absurd moment. Matei cries in his own film, his friends play
roles that are inspired from the immediate reality, seen and unseen gestures are framed on the camera,
the meme of Wojak and Chad is enacted in the stream of conflict and powerlessness. Carrying a universal
language themselves, the memes are exempt from a sense of belonging and can thus embody any identity
whatsoever. It is similar to the Lovesongs video where pop music is a shared culture by us all, a common
language that we all grew up with and through which we empathised with the feeling of (unfulfilled) love.
Nature has become an artifice, we simulate it at home, in “the meat of the artwork”, in the capital-object
logic that is unbeatable despite the alarming narratives about the current ecological and political crisis.
The film shows a simulacrum of nature, birds, and trees right in the artist’s living room, on an uneven
floor in a peripheric neighborhood in Bucharest. You build your own nature church, “trees as plants”,
“plantlets”, and thus construct the reflection of a reflection, as it can often be found in cinema.
The ending scene of A glimpse, approximately draws an arc from the millennial time to the socialist reality,
visible through a foreman’s robe, a simple cut and navy blue robe that a relative of Matei from the Cotnari
region wore during her job at a vineyard. The robe was later passed on to Matei’s mother that used to
wear it while doing domestic tasks, being kept with all the marks and stains from everyday usage. Its
insertion on that clothes rail reminds me of the industrial visual language by highlighting the more or less
arbitrary choices one makes nowadays. “Not stealthy not berserk either” is borrowed from the
videogame language that mirrors the uncertainties and contingencies of our present tense time.
From the center 1, 2, 3 is a series of three photographs, each composed as a triptych, and surfaces out
distinct temporal indexes that attempt to capture time, be it personal or collective. The sun and the
moon are grasped as parallel and contaminating forces, standing as sentinels for the fragile landscapes in
the middle. Unless the light of the two celestial bodies would shine over, the flickering public lighting
would become obsolete and isolated in the serene natural environment. The photographs, as well as the
metal sun and ray installations, become events that pass across our eyes like fireflies marking not only
the ephemera of history but also contributing to light up some dark corners of history.
Curatorial text by Cristina Vasilescu
A glimpse, approximately was made possible with the help of:
Andrei Andronachi, Konstantyn Ungureanu Box, Eduard Macovei, Paul Simula, Lorena Lala, Mircea
Florea, Sebastian Oară, Irina Bobei, Andra Coman, Răzvan Avădănei, Custrin Daniela, Paul Nedelcu, Mihai
Amariei, Antonia Georgescu, Alexandru Ranga.