Felix Aftene

 

 

(Romania-Roumanie)

 

 

 

Taxidermia, Taxidermy, Taxidermie

 

Images – Musée d’art, Iassy, Romania/Roumanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory and the power of the image

 

Felix Aftene is a complex artist, who often trespasses over the border between the language of the visual and another – of the paths between the performance/video and painting, between painting and sculpture… -, “translating” motifs reasons, elements of the artistic deed from one to another. In the exhibition

Memory of the Image, at the Brancovian Palaces, Mogoşoaia (2015), one of the methodological particularities was constituted by the transfer of iconography from the performance and video towards painting, a type of looking into the abyss of the postmodern image, which is reintroduced by the author into the process of creation at the time he was working on Taxidermia (Taxidermy), the exhibition which had a great success and delighted the public in 2014, at the Museum of Art in Iaşi. Thus, the phrase “post-performance painting” appeared and was used by the artist regarding the works on canvases from 2011-2014 time period, inspired by actions held during the Periferic Festival in Iaşi, the editions from the late ‘90s, or newer ones – “Water, Air, Fire, Earth” (video performance, 2010), “Taxidermy” (video performance 2014).
 

 

 

 

 

 

       The Taxidermist (Le taxidermiste), 150 X 200 cm, 2016
 

 

 

       Poaching – Le braconnage, 100 X 120 cm, 2015

 

 

 

       Intimacy, Intimité, 100 x 100 cm, 2014
 

 

 

       The Trophy of Evolution, Le trophée de l’évolution, 130 x 100 cm, 2014
 

 

 

The performance entitled “ Hieroglyphics ” (1998), showing a series of poses of the body, reiterated principles from the history of art – of sculpture – from Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity. In some way, we are presented with postmodern quotes “spoken” visually, at the first person. Felix Aftene has transformed into self-portraits these incursions into his imaginary museum, adding from the history of contemporary art: he painted, for example, a self-referencing version of a portrait starting from a well known photograph which illustrates an action of Joseph Beuys. And yet, the assuming of postures to which we make reference does not diminish the “covering power” of the program of ideas pertaining to this stage of creation of Felix Aftene, and what we are offered is an analysis of the current human conditi on, c orroborated with a sometimes deep view on the postindustrial urbanism. The redistribution of accents, from old history, myth, surrealism, magical realism, towards our time is not categorical – the fantastic insinuates itself in a series of scenes, maybe it would be appropriate for us to talk about a new style of metaphysical painting. Reality is visited through the means of the metaphor. On the other hand, the pattering of this image is made and interpreted with the help of photo-realism’s visual tools, filtered and interpreted. The texture of the painted surface, enriched or “eroded” seems, sometimes, to sympathize with the “Genie effects”, and other times the main cold chromatics turn this new version of the new figurative into the abstract. Going back to the painting entitled “Underneath the Emptiness”, 2014, which sends us to Beuys’ action from 1965 “ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare ”, it could bring a touch to the semantics of the whole “Taxidermia” cycle. If we associate this work with Felix Aftene’s video-performance from 2014, which I already mentioned, with the paintings that echo it, we end up on a certain path (introducing us under the sign of a symbolic thinking) with the idea that under the crust of the taxidermy there is not only the emptiness, lifelessness, but also the virtual chance to recover life.
 

 

 

       Big Bang, Bing Bang, 40 x 40 cm, 2014
 

 

 

       The Uncanny, Etrange, 120 X 80 cm, 2014
 

 

 

The Romanian artist states: “Taxidermy, the access to eternity through the conservation of corpses, becomes the analogue to the veritable victory over time: genetic survival”. In the action of the German artist, the hare was a symbol of life, of fertility. On the other hand, maternity, just as the paternal affection, appears explicitly in the embedded paintings of “Taxidermia” series of our visual artist. I should add, in the end, another term of convergence: Beuys, in his action, had his face covered in honey and gold leaf, materials which suggest the regeneration of life and the spiritual light.
 

 

 

       Meditation, Méditation, 40 x 40 cm, 2014
 

 

 

       Unter the Skin, Sous la peau, Résine et fibre de verre, 2013
 

 

 

Felix Aftene in the Natural Science Museum had his  body and face painted in white, the colour of light and purity: he walked from  one glass case to another, researching with his gaze the stuffed animals, as if seeking for the hidden meanings of existence and the key to their activation…

 
Adrian Guță
 

 

 

A major visual artist and thinker of the post-literary age

 

One of the few thought-challenging new Romanian artists, Felix Aftene had the inner power and the tools to become a landmark of the Romanian art in the last 15 years. In my opinion, if his works will be discovered by major global art dealers and art collectors, he could become as famous as his generation fellow, Adrian Ghenie.
 
An amazing visual Scribe of the post-industrial era, Aftene (a very complex artist, creator of paintings, sculptures, installations, video-art and performances) tries to link myths to the actual condition of the human being, the ‘’trophy-man’’of our stuffed-society, wandering in the center of the emptiness, a non-space deprived by the electricity of feelings and moral issues. A world in a decomposition state, a hyperreality which becomes step by step a kind of cybernetic game, but with the germs of rebirth and hope inside it, imbued with invisible angels, old archetypes, sacred hieroglyphs and Icaruses.  The young artist is very cultivated, capable to re-write the art history through an autobiographical approach, with vivid and actual socio-political allusions, probably inspired by thinkers like Jean Baudrillard.
 
Aftene’s hieratic compositions, with pale, even spectral colours fitted to the apocalyptic atmosphere of our times, are situated between the figurative and the archetypal paradigms.
 
Felix Aftene (winner of the National Prize of the Romanian Fine Artists Union, in 2016) is both a major visual artist and a cutting-edge thinker of the postmodern/post-literary age.
 
 
Constantin Severin

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

 

Felix Aftene

 

Born in Vaslui in 1972, but living and working in Iaşi, Felix Aftene graduated in 1996 the

Academy of Visual Arts “George Enescu” Iaşi, Mural Painting Department, professor Dimitrie Gavrilean, as head of the class.

Since 2016, he had a Ph.D. at the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design, Iaşi, coordinator professor Jeno Bartos Ph.D.

He is working as a designer since 1998, at the Romanian Television in Iaşi.

Between 1997-1998, the artist was granted the Scholarship of the Artists Union of Romania. In 1998, he won the contest for the execution of a mural painting for the General Directorate of Public Finances in Iaşi for the artwork entitled “Babylon” (on a surface of 74 sqm).

In 2008, Felix Aftene returned to public attention with an authentic work of art, “Time Capsule”, a monument made of bronze, placed in front of Iaşi City Hall, on the anniversary of 600 years since the documentary attestation of the city.

Starting with 1997, he is a member of the Artists Union of Romania and, beginning with 2005, he is a member of the Managerial staff. In 2013 he was elected president of the Artist Union, Iaşi branch.

He is also curator and coordinator of numerous artistic projects representing, in the country and abroad, the visual artists from Iaşi.

He was awarded and received over twenty-five prizes for his national and international artistic activity.

Felix Aftene is one of the most representative contemporary artists in Romania. His works are found in museums and private collections in Romania and abroad: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Canada, Hungary, Israel, Moldavian Republic etc.

 

Personal exhibitions (selection)

Architectures of memory, Gelbe Blau Gallery, Barockschloss Mistelbach, Austria, 2016

World of blue -Tiny Griffon Gallery, Nuremberg, Germany, 2015

Iconic Memory – Brancovan Palaces, Cultural Center, Mogoşoaia, 2015

Iconic Memory – National Art Museum of Moldova, Chisinau, 2015

Blue world -Paul Amarica Gallery, Paris, France, 2014

Taxidermy – Art Museum Iasi, 2014

Taxidermy -Oxholm Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013

Taxidermy – Art Yourself Gallery, Bucharest, Romania, 2013

Falling in Time – Art Gallery of the County Museum Vaslui, Romania, 2013

Timeless – Paul Amarica Gallery, Paris, France, 2012

Falling in Time – Berliner Liste, Berlin, Germany (Group 3), 2011

Nato Come Home – Brukenthal Art Museum, Sibiu, Romania, 2011

Iasi, city of creativity – Art Gallery of the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, 2011

Êtres imaginaire, – Espace Culture, Université Lille, Villeneuve D’Ascq, France, 2010

Anthropomorphisms – Calina Gallery Timisoara, Romania, 2008

What is Man, Lord ? – Dana Gallery, Iasi, Romania, 2008

Masks, – Paul Amarica Gallery, Paris, France, 2007

Erotica – Anixis Gallery, Baden, Switzerland (Group 3), 2007

Studio – Visual Arts Museum Galati 2006

Characters – Anixis Gallery, Baden, Switzerland (Group 3) 2005

Identities – Exhibition (Group 3) itinerated to the Romanian Cultural Institutes

from Venice/ Italy, Vienna/ Austria, Budapest/ Hungary 2004

Angel and Demon – Romanian Cultural Institute Paris, France (Group 3), 2002

Hall-marks in time – Romanian Cultural Institute Venice, Italy (Group 3) 2001

 

Contact:

Email: felixaftene@yahoo.com

 

Web: 

http://arts.iasi.roedu.net/felixaftene/

www.felixaftene.ro

 

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