Metods of Building
by Sandra Demetrescu/catalogue text for Solo Exhibition Metods of Building, MNAC, Bucharest, 2020
Liliana Mercioiu Popa (b. 1975) is a Romanian visual artist based in Timişoara, where she teaches pointing at the Faculty of Art and Design and activates in artist groups like IN_FORMAT and Avantpost. Her work consists of various forms of expression, from painting and drawing to installations and photography.
Liliana Mercioiu Popa's interests are nuanced trough her personal view of the macro- and micro- historical contexts: her own becoming in relation to the development of the world, the historical evolution of the social and cultural climate in which the artist lives her life, the balance of forces and determinations that create the identity of a community, of a social group or of an individual, all this are recurrent aspects in her art.
In the exhibition at MNAC, the focus lies on creating an arch through her practice, spanning from earlier projects and up to a recent body of works, some of which were developed or adapted for this occasion; the goal is to bring together a series of concerns and themes as constituent parts of what in fact becomes a coherent site-specific installation project, featuring a vast array of media seamlessly employed by the artist, such as readymade, video, photography or installation. Conceived as a striking combination of powerful images, Methods of Building is primarily an account on how Liliana Mercioiu Popa relates to her "surroundings" - be they the objective ones, or the several conceptual layers through which she (re)composes, time and again, her image of the world.
Starting from a 2007 series of photographs which document some ambiguous derelict constructive elements on the riverbanks of the Timiş, now transposed into a spatial rendering that functions as the core of the display, Liliana Mercioiu Popa exerted a scrutinizing and at time even transformative look, on both her own practice and on the challenges, on a larger scale, arising from the current social context and the ways we relate to other species or nature in general. The entire show is thus guided by an underlying drive to observe instances of "constructing", seen as an essential part of human acrivity, and their sometime menacing interplay with the (naturalor cultural) environment. Yet, what we are faced with are not only representations of the homo faber, or illustrations of the destructive potential of human domination over nature; nor in the outlook, in all its precautions, an unforgiving one. On the contrary, the minimalist formal exercises of putting objects-down to the type of materials - in a generative tension or of achieving unexpected situations of equilibrium reveal a relentless and structuring attempt to better understand the driving forces behind the exciting conditions and to convey a possible image of the access point that might eventually lead to a reconciliation.