Arta

About Up-to-dateness and Permanences in Florica Prevenda’s Studio
Adrian Guţă | Decembrie, 2001

Adrian Guţă: Florica Prevenda, your exhibitional policy seems to focus especially upon solo exhibitions. Your participations in group exhibitions, at Salons are rare. Which is the explanation?
Florica Prevenda: I haven’t been frequently invited to group exhibitions. Or if I didn’t like the context, I refused to participate.
A.G.: In Romania, the most recent solo exhibition was organized in 1999 at the National Art Museum – the Contemporary Art Department and it enjoyed a real success. I noticed then a new approach to the figurative – reductive, allusive – while in the facial perimeters you built, the plastic sign remained in fact abstract. This approach seemed to be an oscillation between a typological portrait and self-referentiality, as well as an appeal in favor of the real communication among people. Now  which would be your domains of interest? I see that your studio is again full of new works.
F.P.: At that time I was concerned with the refuge of spirit in ourselves as refusal of social externalizing. Now all is about the human individual, about the portrait of the human being in the context of globalization conditioned by new technologies of communication; the general free access to information gives a new dimension to our world.
A.G.: So you appreciate the positive aspects of Change. But it seems that you also launch an alarm signal.
F.P.: Yes, against the new type of alienation. Today value means performance, performance means productivity that is money, so value no longer means culture if it does not produce, if it isn’t efficient and does not bring money. In these conditions man becomes the victim of his own performance.
A.G.: Do you feel trapped in this “net”?
F.P.: For the time being in Romania one cannot speak in a large measure in such terms…I travel a lot in order to discover the world and the problems of the period of time in which we live. Globally we direct ourselves towards uniformization and a manipulation that seriously affects what is individual.
A.G.: If I refer to what I see in the studio, I notice that you tried to include in the collages that you integrate in the works on canvas images-fragments which come from the mass-media universe.
F.P.: Yes, this is what I pick from the reality I previously described. I want to suggest the speed, the daily rhythm of life. These are perishable materials. All gets quickly consumed, perishability grows; that’s why I integrate the respective materials in the so-called “portraits”.
A.G.: You are interested in what you call “the painting with different means” (from the traditional ones). You resort a lot to collage. At the same time this is the starting point in order to gradually conquer a third dimension. From the pictorial archaeology of the pigments you get to an “archaeology of unconventional materials”.
F.P.: The matter I’m using now supports the idea of acceleration of rhythm. I introduce the almost obsessive repetition of a plastic sign on the entire surface; I used pieces of newspapers that I laminated in order to create an effect of plasticity– “plastic” has here a negative, consumist meaning. I remain a painter in a profound sense, in a sense of the stake on the visual, speculating to the full the relationship between unconventional materials. What I do now would be better called objects. Sometimes I work like a sculptor, but the surface continues to interest me –this defines myself. I achieve volume on the surface and from this point I will probably get to effective volume.
A.G.: This process has already started – this is shown by some pieces you’re still working on…
F.P.: The wish to assimilate never left me; I worked a lot, I still do, I search new ways of expression, I do not want to get stuck in a cliché. That’s why I periodically exhibit new series of works which reflect the concerns of the respective moment.
A.G.: I think pictorialness still has a certain importance. It results from the chromatic reports of the materials you use (of course that the role of tactility increased). I find quite interesting the prevalence of white as background.
F.P.: White prevails because in these “portraits” the self is no longer the subject. The self is always colored, it suggests the soul and its hues. This time I referred more to a man who detaches himself from all that is connected to the soul, who lives in the virtual, in the artificial.
A.G.: People really like your works. Your canvases cause a certain visual and tactile delight. I think the main finality continues to be the plastic sign, beyond all affective filters and beyond the involvement of -let’s say- a social conscience in a wakeful state.
F.P.: Yes, people like my works but this is not the aim I set for myself. They are appreciated because they are the fruit of my own feelings, they are elaborated by my inner life.
A.G.: I know that your canvases are the result of a difficult and long labor. However in the end the effort is invisible.
F.P.: I don’t like emphasizing the rhetoric of labor. Even if each surface demands a long time of elaboration; sometimes I resort to twenty-thirty interventions on each surface, using difficult techniques and different instruments including the lancet. The most important thing is to transmit what I intended.
A.G.: You’ve been exhibiting on abroad for several years. You presented your works in well-known Western galleries. Do you adapt to the “demand”?
F.P.: No. The problem isn’t posed this way. I do strive to be up-to-date with all that happens in the world, to discern the important reference points. This seems to me essential especially because until the 90s I was quasi-totally out of touch with what happened “outside”. During my travels I notice, I accumulate, but in my studio I return to my own problems. The competition with other systems of value is stimulating.
A.G.: Do you think that your works have a local specificity being at the same time perceived without any difficulty in the international context?
F.P.: Of course. I am profoundly Romanian through the way I feel, through the attachment to my country. I want to assert myself as Romanian. There’s no shame in this as others feel well and create in other places. International circulation is nowadays quite natural.
A.G.: From your point of view is there a contradiction between on the one hand the dignity and the valoric credibility of a work and, on the other hand the commercial success?
F.P.: You don’t have to practice a certain type of art in order to sell. On the other hand, if you succeed in getting into professional trade, you start creating a quotation for yourself. You must be original, you must turn to good account your personality and only then you will arouse interest.
A.G.: Which are your exhibitional projects in the near future?
F.P.: I will have a solo exhibition at Arthus Gallery in Bruxelles and at the beginning of next year I will probably have another at a gallery in the Netherlands.

English version by: Marilena Dracea-Chelsoi