roles & places / AVRAM anamaria (painting, object, installation)
12 September - 17 October 2020
Anamaria Avram creates allegorical meditations, mirror images of the inner world. From different directions her paintings, objects and installations converge on their key subject: identity. The works reveal a mystic sense of self, paired with an astounding clarity in their symbolism and style. They are part of an elaborate self-reflection that begins with one’s own heritage, the search for an individual position and eventually the exploration of theses on the influence of cultural and personal behavioural patterns. Identity: a flexible, volatile and conditional response to the question for the self.
Avram’s still lifes follow the tradition of memento mori and establish connections across time. The symbols of transience are aphorisms of life. They mention death without fear, more with a sense of conclusion. What evidence is left behind by the soul? Folded paper planes, tarot cards, wine glasses and dead birds – leftover remnants of life; the death mask of identity. The traces of a vivid yet absent consciousness appear in the paintings of rooms, empty for the most part. Indiscrete glances through dislocated focal points and mirrors, obstructed paths and views from open doors and windows render the interiors ambivalent: whether they represent an actual enclosure or a potential expanse takes on a fateful dimension. The incorporated figurative symbols function like depth gauges to the meaning of an image: a black dog and a white cat, a picture within a picture, and a curtain, which reveals an empty stage; intended for a distanced role play – or a confessional monologue.
The blue hand thrusts into these still-life spaces as a leitmotif. While originally a plain tool – an indigo rubber glove – in the world of Avram’s paintings and objects it becomes a second skin, an empty shell or a fetish; ultimately an independent narrative motif. Regardless whether it is perceived realistically or surrealistically the signal blue hand obscures individuality as it enacts universal hand signs and common cultural tropes for hints of fate. The staging of the motif of the coffee cup is stylistically similar. Avram plays with the continuous outer form of a white cup and the contrast of its contents. Refreshing drink or dangerous poison? A symbol of communicative sociability or a self-reflective moment of being alone? The revelatory potential of the coffee – and the coffee ground in the cup – becomes a speculative game with prophecies.
In the self-portrait paintings the search for identity leads from self-assertion to self-obliteration. Anamaria Avram can adapt herself as a figure in these portraits, which are medieval in their composition and subject matter but also incorporate elements from classical modernism to contemporary art. This approach achieves a surprising variety of references. Icon painting, pre-renaissance styles and citations from Dutch painting of the Gouden Eeuw all leave their mark on her features. One can observe teasing and humorously ironic aspects appearing next to the reduction to a mask and finally the pure, almost abstract form of arranged surfaces.
Although in general Anamaria Avram’s paintings would have to be considered as figurative, they are still dominated by large scale textures. Here she achieves an extraordinary effect by adding several impasto layers of paint on top of each other, in combination with partial cut outs in the moulded surfaces.
In oil, acrylic and tempera on linen, as well as other media, including concrete, strongly defined textural suggestions emerge. Upon these layers Avram places minutely detailed elements in elaborate old-masterly style. Before the backdrop of the austere foundations they begin to vibrate and open the imagery to magic realism. At this point narrative aspects enter the works, often reminiscent of the hidden elements of the surrealists and remind the observer of works by Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte – allegorically transformed surveys of an inner life.
The trail of motifs in conjunction with the clear, almost architectonic formal language establishes the fundamental requirement for the conceptual expansion of the subject matter beyond painting. Avram’s objects, installations and video works broaden the exploration of the possibilities to convey identity. And if one were to look for a trace of her Romanian heritage in the works of Anamaria Avram, one would find it in their proclivity for mysticism and spirituality, and for the magical, unfathomable intricacies of life, for which the artist shows an exceptional intuition and which she defends against any modern doubt.
© Dr. Tina Simon / Publicist / Leipzig (September 2020)
Introduction: Dr. Tina Simon / Publicist / Leipzig, Dancing Performance; Anne Dietrich / Dresden