The Alley of the Universe

Element 6- found log (at the Nature Center and Observatory Passaic, New Jersey), covered with copper sheet, 72 x 27 x 45 cm

Element 5 - found brick (at the Rose Center For Earth and Space, NYC, USA), covered with copper sheet, 27 x 9 x 6 cm

Element 4 - found pitchfork (at the Rose Center For Earth and Space, NYC, USA), covered with copper sheet, 73 x 10 x 7 cm

Element 3 - found stone (at the Rose Center For Earth and Space, NYC, USA), covered with copper sheet, 36 x 18 x 27 cm

Element 2 - found wooden table leg (at Baia Mare Observatorium, Romania), covered with copper sheet, 73 x 10 x 7 cm

Element 1 - found piece of wood (at Baia Mare Observatorium, Romania), covered with copper sheet, 18 x 18 x 18 cm

I call this project “The Alley of the Universe"; somewhat open-ended as I wish to leave it –not wanting to commit to an extend that the natural progress of the project may be endangered– detailing the conceptual basis for it, as well as connecting it to both the themes, techniques, and aesthetic of extant pieces of work of mine. The house I grew up in, the house where my parents still live, is on Aleea Universului, in the Romanian municipality of Satu Mare; and it is this street’s name that my project takes on: “Alley of the Universe". But I am aiming for more than homonymy.

 

Allow me to start with a schematic outline of the practical side of the project, and, relatedly, the physical manifestation of the envisioned end result. I wish to visit distinct locations around the world that host cosmological institutions, in lack of better terms, institutions ranging from humble observatories to the headquarters of NASA, and sample, if not collect per se, elements from these topoi aiming to subsequently reassemble and reconstruct the Alley of the Universe. The elements would, foreseeable so, vary wildly: there would have to be straightforwardly architectural elements –imprints of walls, staircases, doors– elements that are functional in a wider sense –gutters, water hoses, fire-hydrants– elements defying categorisation –perhaps a tree, a log, or a football; this is a part I wish to leave open-ended; I wish to allow the places to impress me, the process to flow naturally. The materials and techniques I am considering would vary as well, they would depend on the physical nature of the object whose imprint or replica I would aim to create, just as much as on the symbolisms and/ or potential for synergies it inspires in me; although open-ended as well, the overall aesthetic of the final result can already be anticipated: I wish to continue working with copper, wood, perhaps clay. The conceptual bases of the project I can more extensively detail, and as I hinted earlier, the conceptual thread bears significantly on, and furthers the dialectic underlaying the most recent of my works most overtly.

 

The personal element is the most obvious one: Aleea Universului is where I grew up, itis riddled with memories for me, it is deeply imprinted in my (sub)conscious, it is, perhaps, still more of a home than I have ever lived seeing as the travelling, migrant artist reality is a rather nomadic one. But it is only apparently paradoxically so –I wish to suggest– that something so incredibly personal is most readily universally communicable and graspable: you too have a place you grew up in, you too have growing-up memories with strong associations, you too have your Alley of the Universe; who has not had a childhood? The element of locality is particularly prominent, too; the Alley of the Universe pays homage to the remnants of Romania’s communist history in Transylvania. But, fortunate as I am, the very name of the street lends itself to the homonymous project fitting it in a global picture, one in which the local and the universal relate in more synergistic and revealing a manner than that of a mere part-whole one: not only does the local host individual human experiences whose essence transcends the particular and, frankly, inaccessible, the localities composing the global and serving as ground for the human condition to be realised are, so to speak, united under a common sky. If you were not to wander past the street you grew up in, the variations of the human condition would indeed seem overwhelming, but travel past these confines, perhaps travel between the four points of a compass, or simply look up. And this is where the cosmological element–again, pronounced in the very title, and furthered through the very project that would have me hunt after Earthly places devoted to space– comes in. Wherever you would build an observatory –whatever your location in space-time, whatever your head-space and phenomenology– if you were to reflect upon the fact of, the mysteries of the vastness we are together all floating around in, it would make no difference to your findings. Inescapably so, any one street, any one life, is a universal one. At least that is what I wish to suggest. And such a realization I believe affords a most welcome, an imperative even, change in perspective; it breeds a global consciousness that is truest and readily available to all yet remains elusive, perhaps blinded as we are by our fixation on colonizing, commodifying, dividing. Space remains virgin; we have not yet been able to manifest these tendencies of ours beyond Earthly ground.