The Poetics of the geometries of vacuousness

By Maria Orosan-Telea / catalog text for the "Structures in equilibrium" Solo Show / Palatele Brâncovenești Cultural Center


A career of almost twenty years, in which the immanent nature of her creation act and the attachment to the coherence of the discourse, places Liliana Mercioiu Popa among the artists self-confident of their explorations. Her art, contaminated by philosophic ideas, tends to transpose into the visual a series of personal interrogations upon the way the outer reality could be regarded and perceived or upon the subjective relationship between different points of view and the essence of things. This transposition is achieved in a plastic language derived from a geometric abstractionism of constructivist influence or from the minimalism active in the 60s.
A constant of her investigation, the visual-space ordering, the matter structuring, either in durable and rigorously organized or in fragile and apparently unstable shapes, is also present in the series of works joined together under the title "Structures in Equilibrium". In order to confirm or infirm the initial hypotheses she starts from when conceiving these structures, the artist suggests a binary vision. In the exhibition, the pictorial representations, dominating the display, are associated to three-dimensional objects, so that the remarks made on formally similar visual elements become much more complex.
In case of two-dimensional representations, be they well-rounded geometric structures or open spatial networks, the configuration follows the logic of repetition, sometimes even that of an algorithm. The artist tests rigorously the basic plastic principles related to the illusive effects produced by the chromatic and tonal juxtapositions or by those akin to geometric perspective. She renders the depth of the visual field, she persists in suggesting volumetries decomposed into linear elements qua perpetual challenges proper to a plastic language "purged" of excesses.
Often in dialogue with her parietal works, assuming and extending outside the pictorial space certain two-dimensional structures, the three-dimensional works complete the exhibition making plastic investigation more consistent. The artist starts their construction from simple geometric shapes whose deformations she controls by elongating and bending the sides, by adding connecting or supporting edges.
But the seduction of pictoriality, still valid, is mostly obvious in the way the artist renders the vibrant backgrounds by refined overlapping and transparencies. Painting could only be painting and nothing else, used to say Clement Greenberg, the most important latemodernism theorist. Liliana Mercioiu Popa's painting is most of all painting, but, in the same time, it considers a substrate able to get beyond American theorist's assertion.
The exhibition "Structures in Equilibrium" can finally "act" as a metaphor of the idea of stability and harmony. The visual elements populating the pictorial space or the real space seem subjected to imaginary force fields which do not disintegrate, but, on the contrary, conferthem a state of equilibrium and of permanence.