Art essays and curatorial commentaries

La opt etaje depărtare de lume

Eugen Vuțescu – The Aggregation States of Memory

Eugen Vuțescu’s latest exhibition in Sibiu, titled “La opt etaje depărtare de lume” (English: Eight Floors Away From the World), presents a compelling perspective that originates from the simplicity of a singular focal point, evolving into a rich tapestry of significance for the mundane. 


Hosted within the interior halls of the prestigious Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, curated meticulously by university lecturer Ana Negoiță, the exhibition distinguishes itself not only through the individual artworks but also through the thoughtful curation that amplifies their inherent artistic qualities. Comprising a collection of photographs enhanced with digital graphics and video elements that contribute to a cohesive narrative, all the images were captured from the vantage point of the 8th floor of a building in Bucharest.

The photographs offer glimpses into everyday life, capturing ordinary moments at their zenith of expressiveness. Through the lyrical portrayal of these static scenes, a sense of intimacy emerges, drawing us into the narratives of these locales. It feels as though we are immersed in the unfolding memories, enveloped by their presence as they seamlessly merge with our perspective through the lens of the camera.

Through this synchronisation, we are prompted to revisit the ordinary moments of our lives, uncovering meaning not solely within the rapid pace that defines our time, but also within the seemingly insignificant sights and events that often evade our notice. The profound depth of these scenes cultivates an expansive realm for emotions, feelings, and contemplation. We engage in introspection, pondering both the visual narratives before us and the personal associations they evoke. Within this reflective space, we confront profound themes such as mortality, solitude, and human connection, enriching our understanding of the human experience.

Negative Spaces

Untitled 11
Untitled 11

The spatiality captured by the artist possesses a distinctive quality, inviting us to reconsider what is habitable and what is not. In Untitled 11, we discern the transformative effect of the negative photography on a sewer hole, revealing a staircase descending into a luminous white expanse. This imagery evokes a sense of transcendence, suggesting an escape into purity and goodness, despite the grim reality of the sewer surroundings. The filter imbues the scene with a radiant aura, obscuring the unsavoury nature of the setting and prompting contemplation on themes of purity and transcendence.

Untitled 8
Untitled 8

Furthermore, as we grasp the impact of this effect, the juxtapositions within the image evoke a lingering sense of unease. The revelation of the illusion, coupled with the presence of a human foot and shovel visible in the upper part, fosters a feeling of disquiet, heightened by the fractured pavement near the hole. This sinister undertone extends to Untitled 8, where the sewer is obscured by a cap adorned with a cross. The rusty hues, crimson rectangle, desiccated branches, and overall dilapidated pavement combine to create a hostile, otherworldly landscape, distinctly unwelcoming.

Echoes of Mortality

Two artworks that particularly captivated my attention are Untitled 7 and Untitled 10. Both pieces, featuring crosses and cemeteries, pierce through the deafening silence resonating from their visual and semantic implications. In Untitled 7, the powerful contrast between the newly dug grave and the rest of the cemetery is intensified by the vibrant colors, prompting us to squint our eyes for a closer examination. Upon doing so, we discern the deep hues of pink and red from the ribbons and flowers, intensifying the somber atmosphere and transforming the scene into a metaphorical wound in the earth.

Simultaneously, Untitled 10 delves into the looming specter of death and, perhaps less overtly, the resilience of life as it teeters on the brink, perpetually intertwined with mortality. This contrast emerges starkly against the backdrop of mundane occurrences in our daily existence, where individuals struggling with poverty likely dwell on the streets. In the visual context presented, this juxtaposition takes on profound significance, evoking a sense of unease akin to a contemporary vanitas—an allegorical reminder of life’s fleeting nature that we often overlook all too easily.

The Aggregation States of Memory

Eugen Vuțescu’s lens masterfully encapsulates the essence of daily existence, presenting not a distorted, but rather an amplified, subjective viewpoint. Echoing the sentiments proposed by Hopper, the semantic depth embedded within his work compels us to pause and reconsider the seemingly mundane aspects we often overlook in our relentless pursuit of novelty.

Untitled 2
Untitled 2

Reflecting on a previous exhibition by the artist in 2018 titled “Transfer de memorie” (English: Memory Transfer) it becomes evident how the theme of memory permeates various aspects of his work. Within the paintings and installations comprising this collection, there exists a profound sense of epidermal silence, delving into the depths of memory transfer through tangible abstractions. Unlike mere empty canvases, these pieces evoke traces of something once present—a historical narrative that functions like a mirror, revealing not merely our reflection, but a primal essence of our inner life.

Memory serves as a pivotal motif in Eugen Vuțescu’s artistic endeavors, each (re)presentation offering a fresh perspective. The aggregation states of memory may envelop us like a subtle vapour arising from everyday occurrences, or they may confront us with concrete-hard recollections carefully stored within. Regardless of form, memories persist and flow, often manifesting in unexpected ways—yet Eugen Vuțescu adeptly captures and condenses them into ever-evolving artistic forms.


  • Untitled 9
  • Untitled 12
  • Untitled 4
  • Untitled 6
  • Untitled 1
  • Untitled 5
  • Untitled 3

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