ARTIST STATEMENT

My work defamiliarizes the familiar by blurring the boundaries of observation and imagination, documentary and fiction, outer and inner world. I explore the liminal terrain between what is recognizable and what remains mysterious both in the act of seeing and in the framework of narrative. My strategy is to lure viewers with seductive imagery while introducing counterpoints that undercut it. The goal is to reclaim the power of attention, a faculty so deeply threatened nowadays. Attention -- the ability to dwell in the fullness of our sensory experience -- allows us to question accepted categories of what is beautiful, repulsive, or even a worthy subject of art. Attention is the beginning of attentiveness — relating to each other and to the natural world in a way that acknowledges the dignity of every being.

The language of science fascinates me. I strive to bring out the poetic dimensions of the scientific imaginary. To do that, I reframe scientific tropes through the art historical tradition, especially romanticism. I examine the categories of “human” and “natural” by revealing their complex interpenetration: nature is present in our urban spaces and ultimately, inside us, while technological manipulation has reached the very heart of what we call natural.

I am a liminal dweller myself, both insider and outsider to American culture. Growing up in communist Romania, an isolated world with very little media, I used to spend hours in reveries, studying ordinary things around me and imagining fantastical settings for them. It is the same intertwining of invention and "perceptual innocence" (Aldous Huxley's phrase) that I now invoke in my practice. Inspired by the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, I’m always chasing that sweet spot where subject and object become one. My aim is to reignite our capacity for wonder and to deepen the sense of awe that permeates every encounter -- with another person, with oneself, and with the natural world.

Interview by James Ciano in NYFA Current, June 2013