An island is a real place and, at the same time, an ideal site. Island is a widespread motif in almost every culture, most often described as a special, out-of-this-world land. For how else such a place can be as long as it is surrounded by waters, since it is born of waters, confronting the waters. The references to the theme of the island are multiple: from the Greek Mythology’s Isles of the Blessed (or The Fortunate Isles), to the Arthurian legend of Avalon, from Hinduism’s idea of island as a symbol of (inner) peace, to the island as a heterotopia of deviance, as Foucault has put it, this time in the digital sphere.
All these layers of meanings are somehow present in Adrian Grecu’s islands, even if these cultural references do not appear explicitly. They don’t even have to! What emanates from Grecu’s images instead is the spiritual and symbolic dimension of the island as a kind of isolated reality, a magical world that is not necessarily true and, at the same time, a space for the manifestation of one’s own identity, of self-searching, the terrain of free expression of the imagination.
Adrian Grecu’s artistic imagination dwells in the digital space. And this for almost 30 years, since he is a veteran of digital art, at least in his part of the world. The motif of the island appeared in the ’90s when he produced the first CGI images. The island was then rather the sign of a critical attitude towards an alienating (post)totalitarian society, a representation of the isolation felt in relationship with a distant Europe then still defined on the ruins of the Iron Curtain. This first interpretation of the island – with the skeleton suggesting life and death, a sort of updated Vanitas – set an important precedent for his work, and not only at the discursive level. Adrian Grecu remained firmly committed to the digital, to 3D modeling, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality interactions and applications.
The exhibition “Cyber Island”, constitutes an overview and a sort of fulfillment of this long-time preoccupations, both in terms of the symbolic and/or political references, and in terms of the visual approach and CGI techniques employed. This time, as the artist maintains, “the space has evolved towards organic, towards the vegetal, towards emphasizing details and fluid characters, similar to thinking processes, in a continuous, dynamic transformation.” Moreover, the element of time, present in the animations on the screens and in the Augmented Reality application which plausibly relates the physical object to the virtual world, gives the works not only the authenticity of the meeting with the viewer, but also the suggestion of a stream of consciousness.
Indeed, the subtle use of meanings beyond the appearance of things is one of the main preoccupations of the artist Adrian Grecu. This is how the central theme of the “Cyber Island” should be seen: a reference to the idea of journey, of search and experimentation, a reference to the creation of a (cyber)-place where the imaginary becomes possibility.
August 23, 2023