Archeology of the Future
Archeology of the Future
Laura Covaci is quite a game-changer in Romanian contemporary art. She paints in pixels. She scares people. She delights the connoisseur. She is unfazed by risk. She never stands still.
She was raised in the richly vibrant intellectual circle of the Covaci family, where the troubled generation of (nowadays) iconic poets, painters and actors used to meet for talk and wine and noisy late-night parties and garden ping-pong.
Their stories about time spent in Communist prisons, the recklessness of their new subversive works and the frisson of freedom – all layered themselves in Laura’s formative structure. She studied mural art in the mid 80s and started to paint large-scale, eerie landscapes of solitude and chill. She got to be her generation’s top record holder in an international art auction sale.
The gallery of characters she developed over the years, at home or indeed during her re-located lives in the United States or France, include equivocal men and women, nude and lonely, sitting on a metal-bar bed or by the side of a swimming-pool, against a crisp hospital landscape; bruised dolls and other left-over toys from silent orphanages; family portraits blitzed by the robot-cousin or the steel-eyed princess, next to the placid Dad and the bald twins.
Baroque worlds coming from a high-strung past and an unrelenting future, like there is no escape. In 2011, a new little creature took shape, this time from the impalpable depths of an iPad exercise: Luna. She is a little girl with spikes instead of hair and a sudden resource for smile and play. This moment opened up a whole new territory for the artist, who was already a master-mixer of fine drawing and brush painting, with collage and photo manipulation – listed in the Top 100 Romanian Artists.
She now dived deeper into the digital, modeling and painting on-screen in minute generation of infinite detail, like a fractal on a mission to capture Time. The new exhibition, Desprinderea/Take-Off, on view this spring at AnnArt Gallery in Bucharest, is a breath-taking series of works of impeccable visual style and concept.
The artist is on a spree of opening and closing door after door, back and forth: an emotionally-moving march into our own transient lives -and of art history. Her achievement in the 3D medium is extraordinary not only per se but because it reveals the creative fountain of technology and its intrinsic resource to produce emotion – in Covaci’s unique compositions which take shape on her digital screen easel through drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and architecture.
One can think of the digital artist as a re-incarnation of the Renaissance multi-tasker! Laura Covaci’s luxuriant landscapes – where nymphs frolic with tigers, slender-white women wear pearls, metal nails and a golden crab tiara or indeed little girls from sepia photography times peer at us through their outer-space head-gear and play with a shiny high-tech drone – all this whizzes across multiple art history references which lead us from today’s Ray Caesar to the Romantics and the Flemish masters, to Mucha and the Rococo in hybrid surreal and pop-art sweeps. If we scratch the surface of the past, we find future. This is where Laura Covaci’s series of new work belongs. But let’s be brave and enjoy it today.
Gabriela Massaci, director AnnArt.