Astral Bookmark 1 - copper, 234 x 27 x 63 cm
Astral Bookmark 2 (Space Selfie) - epoxy clay, copper, pigment, 162 x 36 x 27 cm
Astral Bookmark 3 (Space Salute) - epoxy clay, copper, wood, pigment, 189 x 36 x 27 cm
Astral Bookmark 4 (Coke Face in Space) - epoxy clay, copper, pigment, 144 x 36 x 27 cm
Astral Bookmark 5 (Cepheus) - epoxy clay, copper, wood, pigment, 207 x 36 x 72 cm
Astral Bookmark 6 (King of Other Realities) - epoxy clay, pigment, 63 x 27 x 45 cm
Astral Bookmark 7 (Ace of Space) - epoxy clay, 45 x 18 x 36 cm
Themes of displacement and relocation have been driving my work for many years. I contemplate them in terms of time, place and identity, and I express my thoughts about them most often through sculpture and photography, and occasionally in paintings as well. Working in one medium on a certain aspect of these themes frequently leads me to work on the same aspect in another. A project that begins in photography or maybe painting might then entail several related sculptures, for example, or vice-versa. This has led me to realize that the bodies of work were displacing themselves, in a way, by relocating themselves in different media. This realization has become very important in two of my current bodies of work, Saga of Unendingness and The Alley of the Universe. The former consists of sculptures, while the latter entails annotated photography. Both bodies of work are inspired by astronomy and ritual, as well as by notions of myth and narrative.
The Alley of the Universe consists of straightforward, unadorned photographs of objects I find at astronomical observatories located in various places. I visit the observatories not only because I am inspired by studies of the universe, but also for autobiographical reasons. I was born in a place situated on a street called Aleea Universului ('The Alley of the Universe'), located in Satu Mare, Romania, so my fascination with the stars developed in part from the folklore of my own place of origin, itself an important observatory of the past. When I visit astronomical observatories now, I look for strange objects somewhere in or around these buildings, seeking out things that seem odd or outside of their usual context. I photograph them right where I find them, then later add notes to situate them in time and place. My finds have included bricks, logs, tools and interesting refuse. One of my strangest discoveries was a pitchfork on the grounds of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, in New York.
As often as I can, I take these objects with me, and they are what gave way to what is now a completely autonomous body of work, Saga of Unendingness. This project entails sculptures that I make by wrapping with or recrafting out of metal, usually copper, the objects I find at observatories. While these pieces were initially related to the photographs, they began to depart when the sculptures became more complex as composites: a copper-sculpted brick merged with a stick covered in other media, for example, or a pitchfork wrapped in copper and part of a minor tower of strangely structured implements. These types of composite sculptures are now accompanied by busts, masks and other pieces that extend their visual context and story. They appear ritualistic, suggestive of a vanished kingdom or civilization. Some of the towers seem mysteriously ominous. Some of the wall sculptures are halved or doubled heads, at times wearing a kind of crown. Rematerialized tools may or may not be recognizable. With every new or reconfigured "Astral Bookmark," as I call each individual piece, the saga carries on.