soros center forcontemporary arts chisinau, republic of moldova.

WRECK OR RECOVERY?
 
In the inert, conservative and aesthetically unproductive environment of Chisinau the exhibition of alternative art has been perceived not only as a cultural event but also as a pretext to escape from the isolation of the indigenous artistic body. One must say that the leap from academic, populist and agreeable exhibitions - as all of them from this area have been so far - to the 14 November event is huge and overwhelming. The originality of this leap consists in burning the stages of development, in eluding the temporal probing and in neglecting the intermediate stops. The exhibition intended to accumulate and outline a panorama 
 
(even though schematic) of post-war art: video art, performance, happenings, installation, photography (as object), landscape intervention and land-art (in miniature, it's true). These are means of expression familiar to the West, and they are "subjects" in high schools of art. Here, in Moldova, the alternative forms of art have been prohibited and persecuted, but they did not have a thorough motivation to base their existence and specific characters on. There is a close and tense relation between Western art and post-industrial societies, between the social context and the cultural-spiritual one, while in the East these relations have been virtually unknown. Consequently, this artistic and, (why not) mental recovery has not been brought about by the capitalist world's "refusal," but by the lack of premises that would produce this refusal. The SCCA network (with branches in Central and Eastern Europe) comes to make up for this lack: it facilitates, though intuitively, the access to contemporary art issues without the necessity for these issues to be an ebb of traumatisms and commonplaces. 
The 6th Kilometer, beyond imperfections and banalities (inherent to any beginning), constitutes the act of birth and of "officializing" local alternative arts. It also means presenting some creative reserves among young artists, first of all, of which we were not aware in a different context. Fortunately, the ice has been broken. 
THE ROUTE 

As a metaphor, IGOR SCERBINA's installation Door is almost null, it represents a parallelepipedic tomb with a door that invites us to mimic the perverse gesture of a spy - to look through the peephole. We see there the image of our own curiosity, projected onto a monitor by a tiny video camera, installed behind the spectator's back. It is a work that acquires sense only at the moment when it "contains" the spectator, who is the "beneficiary" of contemplating his own image, but he sees only his "verso," only his back. 

Depreciation and ridiculousness of communication has been investigated (very convincingly) by VEACESLAV DRUTA, through his machinery's "contribution" called Foucault's pick-up, a title inspired, as it seems, by Foucault's pendulum. The work represents a complicated and funny mechanism that produces a truly Babylonic uproar, monotony and confusion. The needle that should read the sounds from the disc's surface actually runs in a chaotic, angular and fluctuating rhythm, attacking the disc's matter. It is an almost perfect device through the sterility of its actions, but no less interesting from the point of view of the artist's forced intervention (somehow symptomatic) into the complicated meshes of trivialization (trivialization - a facet of any relations of the contemporary world). 

The installation Prayer by the couple SANDION sets us face to face with a possible retort provided by the sensitivity and the specifically local way of artistic means that lead to internationalizing the creative act. This project could be regarded as an environment, which orderly and dynamically shapes the space. In order to function this mechanism requires a human presence. It is man who unleashes the relationship of sounds: bells tinkling (three times, probably an allusion to the Holy Trinity) with the intestinal, muffled sound of the "bull" (an ancient ritual and apotropaic instrument). These elements lead us to think about the intricate gearing of human loneliness and to the tense, ambiguous relations of man and transcendence. 

A false ecological and zoophilic pleading was conceived by MARK VERLAN, who created a large work in which he combined artificial and technological elements (TV monitors) with organic and natural elements (sheep skins and a pile of straw). There is a strange but picturesque confusion in this installation that does not allow a direct and clear discernment of the message. The monitors assail the public with sinister and bloody images, sequences filmed in a slaughter-house. . . 

Into the same parameters of confusion and lack of ideatic strategy fits PAVEL BRAILA's project entitled Communication. The work pursues not an evolutionary division into periods of the phone but rather a configuration with a mechanistic theme that would set the material used in a relation of interconnection. To stress this rhetorism - cheap and sterile - the author introduced into the exhibition hall, besides those several "cameral" devices, a phone booth from the street. 

MIRCEA PUSCAS made interesting attempts to capitalize on sound, light and diverse materials, but these attempts did not go beyond the limits of good intentions, and unfortunately referenced the commonplace. 

The couple LUCIA MACARI and LILIA DRAGNEV presented during the opening an exciting and courageous performance called Aphros. The framework of this action had been prepared in advance: several objects (chairs, pails, etc.) had been covered with a thick layer of silicon foam to be used as "decor" (somehow theatrically) for three female, nude characters, whose bodies had been covered with shaving cream. After this embalming process, the authors of the action proceeded to wrap the characters with a thin sheet of transparent polyethylene, transforming the living beings into a languid, moving "sarcophagus." Eventually I realized that a happening had occurred as the public carried on the action long after the actual cessation of the scenario; the public spread the remaining foam throughout the entire hall - onto clothes, hands, faces and neighbouring works. 

The scenography Madana Mohana by ALEXANDRU TINEI, assisted by VLAD SALATKI and NIKITA KALASNICOV, seemed childish to me, without any recognisable significance, structural coherence or stylistic clarity. The precariousness and fictive character of the action that this installation tried to suggest are simple enunciations without a formal covering. 

The other projects by GABRIEL SCOARTA and IGOR SCERBINA ( photography project with chromatic interventions) and VALENTIN TARNA and VICTOR DOROSENKO, could be easily coupled to form a single work that investigated the relation between imagination and nature, between reality and abstraction, between color and its lack. In the formulations presented by these artists, the works appear as tautological and irrelevant as artistic aspect. The formal tricks and handicraft deftness of the pictures (photographs) do not seem to save the situation in which the scope (implicit idea) is completely annihilated by its technical means. 

ALEXANDRU SCHIOPU attempted to examine the movement of the image from reality to those of abstraction by bombing the surface of three mirrors with color slides, photographed in diverse geographical places and different temporal periods. 

A real revelation of this exhibition, without any doubt, remains IURIE CIUBOTARU's project Guillotine. The work is especially interesting by the new way the spectator is placed in relation to the image. Not situated in the usual position, the viewer can only see the image when they are seized or captivated, when they are lying down, i.e. when they can not oppose its attack. The artist created this installation based on the premise that television is not simply a way to entertain yourself, to harmlessly pass the time, but that electronic media irrevocably ravished the notion of time, replacing the essence itself. 

The 6th Kilometer is the signal of a beginning, of the start of a horse-race whose length and duration may as much depend on the subsequent pulse of society as upon the artist's creative potential, upon their possibilities not to stay put, to avoid, as much as possible the commonplace. 

Vladimir Bulat