Images of le temps retrouvé

 Adrian Guţă

After she questioned the contemporary human condition from more than one point of view, from that of the search of identity to the consequences, upon the latter, of the transformations brought by the new technologies of information and by globalization, Florica Prevenda turns to herself on the occasion of this new stage of her creation. Now the subject of investigation is her own being, her self, within the present context of civilization.
“Finding Time Again”(“Le temps retrouvé”) represents the general title for several tens of works which are the result of almost four years of hard work; it is also an allusion to Proust, a writer quite close to the spirit and soul of the Romanian artist.
Prevenda takes the pulse of her memory starting from photographs, which play the role of witnesses and then treasurers, in time, of moments, situations, hypostases, connected, let’s say, both to the external and the internal biography. This archive of images is exploited subjectively, unsystematically – as a response to the unpredictability of the flow of memory. The images – they are often fragments of a human figure or of a townscape – are connected to each other not accordingly a narrative logic: this resembles the flux of our memories, made of disparate bits. There is an underground fertile conditioned relationship between the photographic sources and the segments of life evoked by them; forgotten details  come to the surface, the old-real relationships are modified, facts and faces get new proportions. The nostalgia that impregnates  the process of remembering determines a certain idealization, in different degrees… The photographic image (photography is by itself a special bridge between then and now), transferred on a transparent surface mounted on canvas, is covered by paint, is integrated into a subtle and multiple stratification, it becomes part of an ensemble meant to resist time, an ensemble meant to transform something ephemeral into something long-lasting.
Silhouettes with a synthetic “drawing”, and which are sometimes static, sometimes dynamic, singular or doubled, or interfered, include inside their perimeters (fragments of) faces, eyes, hands – self portrait elements - brought together in a clearer structure or more freely floating. Representation of  the self is complemented by suggestions of the couple. The refined volumetric speculations practiced by Prevenda in other stages of her work are now replaced by the stratification of transparencies – this is how the palimpsest effect is reached, which, in this case, is one of the most convincing visual translations of what one calls memory… Sometimes the silhouettes are totally or partially invaded by rhythmic relief-collages made of specially treated paper (they make a connection with previous work methods); there are other plastic situations too, powerful ones, when it is more suitable to speak of en creux relief – as if the écorché would now reveal a “system of memories”. A playful spirit  seems to determine, now and then, the position of the facial elements in a surrealist “order”, in smaller works defined by enlarged details. Black and white, grays, are prior, as we are referring to radiographies of memories. Red, blue, ochre, brown do not completely disappear, but their presence is discrete, episodic and determined by plastic impulses, not by a symbolical logic.
Large canvases are dedicated to the artist’s urban memories – we see cascades of photographic images whose composition revisits and interprets, like in other cases, the technique of the photomontage. In fact, these ample works concentrate within themselves all the three sub-directions of research of  this stage of Prevenda’s creation: herself, herself among others, the city ( with its civilization horizon and as a background for personal and collective being). The transferred photography, the complex paint strata, subtle collages, all these elements’ harmonious coordination, confer a special plastic personality to the works. Which is also accomplished by their atmosphere. On these generous surfaces, conquered by  vast and dense  networks of “signs” that attract the eye from the ensemble to the details, the artist “paints with (photo) images” – as she suggestively says. The vertical serialization of the image-sign alludes to watching a film.
On the one hand, this impressive flux of  visual signs, the overlaps and networks, echo the fact that our daily existence  is invaded by images. On the other hand, the palimpsest effect with which Florica Prevenda works, the beauty of the details which call our look to follow multiple secondary routes, reactivate in the spectator the pleasure of  contemplation. In other words, let us transgress the appearances in order to find profound reality. Let us remake, on our own, the experience of self analysis, let us rediscover some of our old sensory  and affective coordinates. Let us harmonize external with internal time.