Laurenţiu Ruţă: The Performance, Sibiu, 1986

 

Preliminary Notes

 

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In a photograph from artist Laurenţiu Ruţă’s personal archive we can see a drawing board with several photograms placed on a wicker chair. According to the artist, the board in question had stood in the Cluj building of Uniunea Artiștilor Plastici [Fine Artists’ Union], more specifically of Atelier 35 [Studio 35], which at the time served as an ad-hoc space where the young artists promoted by Atelier 35, including him, could exhibit their work. It was on that board that the artist would exhibit his photograms between 1984 and 1985.

The photograms were exercises (term used by the artist) in rendering the movement of water on photosensitive paper: the spurt of water, the water set in motion by sound, the various configurations drawn by water on folded paper. The artist had arrived in Cluj to pursue his university education after having participated in the pedagogical experiment organised by the Timișoara Arts Lyceum under the direct guidance of the members of SIGMA group, teachers in that school. In his photographic experiments, he fused the study of nature with the study of forms and bionics.

Study has remained to this day a defining, primordial concern for the artist, who places the process of knowledge above artistic expression. His experiments are guided not so much by rigid, scientific assumptions, as by intuition; should he feel at some point that his research of the studied phenomenon tends to “divert” towards aesthetic intentions and auctorial decisions, he simply stops. Still, his studies undeniably evince an inherent, charming aesthetic quality: the beauty of the natural phenomena he captures. Thus, if we consider the aesthetic component and the visual expression manner, it is clear that they informed Ruţă’s art ever since he selected the themes of his study: water, light and movement.

The results of the photographic experiments, laid out on the drawing board, were noticed by artist Ana Lupaș, the coordinator of Atelier 35, who selected a photogram by the artist to be included in the 1984 Alba Iulia Young Artists Biennial. The photogram was conceived like a small-scale installation. On a sheet of photographic paper, the artist had placed a cube covered in photosensitive paper and had released a spurt of water over it, capturing the flowing movement with a flash camera, while the light thereof helped to impress on paper the flowing of water over the increasingly flattened cube.