Conceptual Decantation and Visual Purification

by Maria Orosan Telea

Horizont Magazine, N.4. April 2018,


Liliana Mercioiu Popa made her debut as an artist in Timișoara in the late ’90s. Her formation as a painter took place under the guidance of Constantin Flondor, developing in the direction of a type of art that provokes reflection, that goes far beyond the simple orientation towards improving one’s technical skills. The themes that Constantin Flondor proposed to his students triggered the mechanisms of analytical and critical thinking, and Liliana Mercioiu Popa has kept his legacy to this day. Her work problematizes multiple aspects of the surrounding reality, based on a deep conceptual construct. Her questions also have a philosophical connotation regarding the way in which the various layers of the outer reality can be regarded and perceived. In addition, she is preoccupied by the subjectivity of points of view in relation to the essence of things. In order to transpose them into visual language, the artist has in recent years been using more and more mixed media, object- installations, site-specific installations - besides the classical forms of expression (painting, sculpture, drawing).

Although a graduate of the Painting specialization, in the first years the most important stages in her creation were marked by experimentalism. From the very beginning, she has worked with interventions in the public space (Reanimare pentru o zi [Reanimation for one day] and Pasaj [Passage], both in 2000), with photography (Dedesubturi [Undersides] in 2001) and has used the text in a purely conceptual manner. In 1998 she was already creating works (Eu-ritmie [I-rhythmia]) in which words or phrases were transposed in various visual forms, many times using the materiality of the support as an element meant to highlight the meanings of each piece of work. Starting with the early 2000s, such creations have been included in collective exhibitions such as Dedesubturi [Undersides] (2001, TentART Gallery Timișoara), The International Young Artists’ Festival (2002, Vršac, curator Svetlana Mladenov), Transfigurări: Punct și de la capăt. Prospecțiuni asupra artei tinere din România  (2004, The Art Museum from Timișoara, curator Ileana Pintilie) or 7 trasee deschise spre lume [7 routes open to the world] (2010, Sanas Building, Essen, curator Doina Tellman). Her orientation towards conceptualism was confirmed once more by her participation in the 2005 Utopia Festival, an artistic event initiated by Alexandra Titu, where art works were presented in the project stage.  

The correlation of the meanings of words with their placement in space or with the material the artwork is made of has become a constant in the artist’s creation. In the installation called Acțiuni [Actions] (2009), a series of verbs that include spatial directions in their semantics (vertical/horizontal, up/down) are depicted on canvases the disposition of which (on the wall or on the ground) corresponds to the type of action described by each particular word. The same principle can be found in Elipsa [Ellipsis] (2001) and Thin (2011). What About You? (2011) is a text-installation dedicated to the public space, in which certain parts of the letters placed on the pavement are bent upwards as an answer that the author gives to the question asked in the title. The construction of visual discourses starting from the dictionary definitions of some words appears in works such as Cultură recentă [Recent culture] (2015), where the focus is on the meanings that can be derived from splitting the Romanian word “cultură” in two other words (cult and ură). In Exist/Coexist (2016), the light indicators placed above the exit and inside the exhibition space respectively, change the initial roles of this type of signs, inviting the viewers to meditate on their own existence in relation to the others.

Liliana Mercioiu Popa’s pursuits cover a much wider range of themes, most of which are nuanced by the way in which the self relates to the macro- and micro-historical context.  The evolution of the self in relation to the world’s evolution, the historical development of the social and cultural climate in which the artist lives her everyday life, the relations between  the different forces that shape the identity of a community, a social group or an individual, all these are recurrent aspects in her body of work. However, they are approached through conceptual decantation and visual purification that lead to forms of expression which correspond to the need for moderation and for balance. In painting, the evolution from the In-formare [In-formation] series presented in a personal exhibition at Calina Gallery in 2007 – to the last series from the period 2014-2015 – on which the exhibition Structuri în echilibru was based in 2016, at the “Palatele Brâncovenești” Cultural Centre in Mogoșoaia – meant the journey from free, informal abstraction to the rigor of compositions dominated by rhythms and geometrization. Before these, but also among them, other series or singular works proved just as significant for defining a coherent endeavour which establishes a gradual dialog with various aspects of nature that undergo transformations:  Mineral-Vegetal-Organic (2003-2007), Despre fluiditate [About fluidity] (2008-2013), Structură internă [Internal structure] (2011), Structură incipientă [Incipient structure] (2011), Spațiu dinamic [Dynamic space] (2013), Alter structures (2013), etc. In addition, there are drawings and works created with mixed techniques (acrylic, collage) which revisit visual elements of large-scale paintings in a freer manner, looking like sketches or notations during the work process.

In correlation with the bi-dimensional artwork, Liliana Mercioiu Popa has always had an interest in the three-dimensional object, which she assumed either as a spatial extension of the structures with flat representations, or as a free-standing presence. The project Geometrii variabile [Variable geometries] is the most relevant in this respect; it was exhibited at the Jecza Gallery in Timișoara in 2014. The groups of objects displayed, Complex dynamic [Dynamic complex] (2013) and ReCONfigurare [ReCONfiguration] (2014-2015), although conceived in a geometrizing and reductionist visual language, went beyond the spirit of minimalist art due to the load of meanings the artist attached to them.   

This type of endeavour was taken much farther in the exhibition Nu sunt acolo unde exist și nici acolo unde gândesc [I am neither where I exist, nor where I think] which took place at Galateca Gallery in Bucharest, in 2016. Here, the site-specific installation created by Liliana Mercioiu Popa of aluminium pipes covered the entire central space of the gallery. The refined structure consisted of a network of rectangles suspended from the ceiling in an arrangement that made reference to the theory of the multidimensional universe. 

In 2015, Liliana Mercioiu Popa joined the Avantpost group, with which she exhibited within vast exhibition projects in Timișoara (Dincolo de liniște [Beyond Silence] in 2015, curator Maria Orosan-Telea; Conexiunea cu prezentul [Connection with the present] – at the 2015 edition of the Art Encounters Biennale, curators Nathalie Hoyos and Rainald Schumacher; Hidden Agenda II in 2016, curator Cosmin Haiaș; Universallowed in 2017, curator Maria Orosan-Telea) and in Bucharest (Hidden Agenda I – at the 2016 edition of The Nights of the  Galleries). In a few of these events, the artist did more than just exhibit: she was part of the organizing team or even the initiator. In all these exhibitions, Liliana Mercioiu Popa’s works were installations, providing the artist with the occasion of discovering new forms of expression. Thus, Doar zgomot? [Noise only?] (2015) is an interactive installation with sound, in which the public can manipulate domino boxes to trigger the fall of the pieces to the ground.

Another characteristic of the artist’s endeavour, which has become ever more significant in the works exhibited together with Avantpost, is the creation of site-specific installations – works conceived in close relation to what is found at the site, integrating elements found there. No Mirage? (2017) used a debris ramp found in the Tower of the Battery Factory in Timișoara, which hosted the Universallowed exhibition – and a window outlooking the Fabric neighbourhood. To these two elements, the artist added a transparent platform that supported a network of small spheres which were also transparent. Suspended at window level, the platform was only accessible to the public via the ramp. The intervention on the ramp consisted only in a slightly elongated image of the map of the world, in white paint. The entire installation transmitted a message about the process of migration, about the micro- and macro- courses that we as individuals have to follow if we are to find our own place and purpose in the world.

Over the course of her 20-year artistic career, Liliana Mercioiu Popa has alternated periods of exhibition activity with periods of intense studio work. Besides the artistic activity, she has been involved in her teaching career at the Faculty of Arts and Design from Timișoara. Initially, starting with 1999, she was Professor Constantin Flondor’s assistant at the painting department. Later, she became a lecturer. Trying to offer her students what she herself felt she had missed at certain times, Liliana Mercioiu Popa has always involved them in the organization of exhibitions that could make them more visible. In recent years, some of the most daring of Timișoara students’ exhibitions have been exactly those organized by Liliana Mercioiu Popa. In 2014, exhibition took place in a room from the former Elba Factory: entitled Ce pieritor e omul, gândea albatrosul! [How transient the man is, thought the albatross!], it included video, photography and installations. Then, in 2015, other two exhibitions, one in Timișoara, and the other in Bucharest, displayed paintings and objects by the new graduates. In addition to this, the students participated in the Art Festival Timișoara 2015, 2016, 2017, and in two more exhibitions with works by graduates of the painting specialization. Some of the students who worked with Liliana Mercioiu Popa in these projects are Andreea Medar, Andrei Părăușanu, Silvia Moldovan, Bogdan Tomșa, Nicolae Velciov, Cătălin Bătrânu, Raluca Rișco etc.


Conceptualist Tendencies in Liliana Mercioiu Popa’s Art

by Maria Orosan-Telea

Revista Arta #18/2016 Anul VI


Liliana Merciou Popa is one of the few Romanian artists who have a constant preoccupation with the use of text in the creative endeavour, in a purely conceptualist manner.  This has been visible since the beginning of her career in the late 90s, and over the course of time has completed the other forms of expression employed by the artist: painting, drawing, installation and photography.

In Liliana Mercioiu Popa’s work, words and phrases appear transposed in various visual forms; the materiality of the support and the arrangement of the installation are never random elements, but features meant to enhance the meanings of each artwork. Thus, in Elipsa* (2001), which is among the first works in a series based on text, the artist correlates the title with the arrangement of boxes that contain words (the installation made of these boxes has an ellipsoidal layout). On the other hand, the complexity of the artwork comes from another type of correlation employed. The secondary meaning of the term elipsa (a figure of speech which aims at shortening a discourse by relying on the audience’s memory to fill in what is not said) – encourages free associations - that will supply what is left unsaid – between the isolated words found inside the boxes. The relation between the support and the text is even more obvious in Thin (2011)which consists of words derived from or containing the word thin. In this case, the words are cut out and placed on a very thin, semi-transparent fabric. The work is a meditation on the precariousness of some forms of expression born out of uncertainties and perpetual testing.

Going beyond the limited space of the gallery, Liliana Mercioiu Popa succeeds in adapting this type of conceptualist discourse to the public space. The large artwork What about you? (2011-2015), installed close to Theresia Bastion in Timişoara during the 2015 Art Encounters biennale, makes for a very good example. As defined by the author herself, the work is an ars poetica, an attempt to reveal her personal artistic creed, and at the same time, through the questions asked, it raises awareness on the necessity of keeping in touch with what is outside the self. The plasticity obtained by folding parts of the letters upwards represents the personal pursuit of high ideals.    

Starting from the text as well, but also employing sound, the artwork Doar zgomot? discusses globalization: every member of the audience is offered the possibility to contribute to clarifying the meaning of this concept, by moving the dominoes, which are each inscribed with one letter of the word globalizare (globalization). Triggering the avalanche of dominoes that become reunited in the pile under the boxes remains a personal option, just as each of us can choose to become players or to remain spectators of the globalization game. The construction of this work makes the answer to the question in the title go in two directions. On the one hand, globalization is just noise, because the boxes remain empty; in other words, after becoming coherent eventually, the word loses its weight. On the other hand, when they fall, the dominoes do not produce only noise, but mechanical interaction as well; they collide, determining each other’s trajectory and the place they occupy in this aggregate called globalization.    

* the Romanian term “elipsa” has two meanings: ellipse and ellipsis.


Variable GeometriesSolo Exhibition, Jecza Galery, Timisoara, 2014

catalogue text by Ileana Pintilie


The searches for form and structure conducted by Liliana Mercioiu Popa in her recent exhibition hosted by Jecza Gallery are more focused on the study of the relationship between materiality and dematerialization, on the relationship between various compositional elements.

In the attempt to achieve a dynamic ordering of space, the artist employs the media of drawing, painting, as well as objects. In this way, she settles in an open area of research rather than that of a “producer” of objects displayed for the usual, beauty-loving public.

This is probably the reason why her recent artworks express the problematics of painting, facing the hypostasis of open, dematerialized forms, expressed with the help of other artistic media. Attached to visual materiality and controlled gestualism, her painting remains somehow in the area of chromatic exploration, of refined, well studied grey shades, but also in the area of the sensuous paste, whose charm attracts her permanently.

The sketches, close to visual research, are also the expression of the tensions between touches of colour and various material structures, some of them reminding of collage or even relief (by adding metal grids or other available materials, incorporated in the field of vision). In contrast with them, the drawings explore the interferences of pure geometrical structures, resulting from parallel lines or the dynamic interplay of these lines, on a flat, evenly coloured surface. The geometrical constructions resulting from such formal explorations seem to be some sort of practice of accepting objectivity, in contrast with free, individual expression.

If the two-dimensional research is oriented in various directions, in a way subject to one another, spatial research is the first achievement in a series of virtual projects and express the desire to continue the study of connections beyond the traditional surface of painting or drawing.

Resulting from joint contrasting symmetrical elements, the large-size objects are meant to shape and build the space, but they are placed in connection with painting, which anticipates them.

But, apart from these large objects, the artist also presents a series of variable geometrical structures, which seem to descend from drawings: made of thin white bars, open geometric shapes, in random combinations, these objects apparently get organized on their own, in a process of self-definition and selfobjectivization.

Even though their experimental character is obvious, one cannot ignore the fact that this spatial interplay reconfigures the whole lot, articulating it more vigorously.

“Variable Geometries” is a new stage in the creation of Liliana Mercioiu Popa, offering a temporary, fragile equilibrium between the tension of the free gesture and the rational objectivization of mathematical relations, between planes and spaces. The artist manages to keep a dynamic, productive balance between older artistic concepts, already experimented with in a number of artworks, and newer ideas, which lead to artistic evolutions that can come to fruition in the future.


DANUBE DIALOGUES 2013 / Contemporary Art Festival of Danube Region /

Solo Exhibition  On Fluidity, Bel Art Gallery

catalogue text by Svetlana Mladenov


Because of her explorations in the extended field of art, painter by vocation Liliana Mercioiu Popa would perhaps be mor appropriately styled a contemporary artist. Always open to experiment and the freedom to transpose her ideas through diverse disciplines and techniques, she does not perceive even the classic discipline of painting as anything restrictive, but rather uses the surface of the picture for experiment and new investigations.

Her painting carries on a dialogue with various trends and is set on the border between figurative and non-figurative, but always founded on a concept. With great sensitivity and in a higly personal way, she has built uo her own relationship with nature and the world of phenomena. The artist is in constant dialogue with the micro and macro universe, seeking out the hidden structure of things, so that to her, exclusively abstract or figurative painting is neither crucial nor necessary.  It all depends on the discourse she chooses to use in order best to express her original idea.

Liliana Mercioiu Popa searches for the sensitive border between the real and the visual perception of reality, seeking out the very discreet and hidden that cannot easily be spotted, but only perceived with the help of imagination. Her pictures are made in layers, usually by placing non-transparent surfaces one on top of the other, in thick matter, covering the colour surface with a layer of wax.

Her plastic language of gesture is the unifying element of the diversely signaled styles, leading her to “pure painting”. The organic and mineral structure that appear in her paintings criss-cross trough a core reflecting a special energy, resulting in staing of colour laid on with s strong movement in what at first sight seems to be articulated chaos.

Popa is geared towards experiment, not limiting herself to the given format of the picture, nor even exclusively to that discipline, but moving freely through the field of art, she also directs her exploration to seeking out the hidden meaning of words.

Some of her exhibitions are given over to his, particularly to verbs and the interpretation pf their meaning. She emerges in a space where she uses her picture-objects to build a specific installation or create an atmosphere.

Developing as an artist and working in a country with a stormy recent history, still in process of transition, her thinking frequently turns towards the idea of freedom. Asking whether freedom is a personal feeling or reality, and how and to what extent the recent past affects present feelings of individual and collective freedom. Her attention is on the material traces of the recent past of society, traces forgotten and abandoned at the city’s edge, such as the ruins of architectural edifices, the skeletons of former industrial and water-management structures whose remains conceal a part of history and captive memory. She records them with a still camera, documenting them against oblivion.

One series of her works deals with basement windows and openings such as we pass every day without noticing them. Here we see cellar windows of various kinds, from the outlying suburbs and in the city centre. Photographing them and placing them in parallel rows, she makes a new picture out of them, new territory from which they radiate a different affect and exercise a different power.

This brief glance at Popa’s artistic work is an attempt to point to the richness of her artistic language, its versatility and fullness and the subtlety, acuity and complexity of her interests.

Group  Exhibition 7 Terraces Opened to the World, Sanaa – Zollverein Kubus, Essen (Germany), 2010 

catalogue text by Ileana Pintilie Teleaga


Liliana Mercioiu Popa made her debut and has become known to the public through a conceptual art that uses the hidden meanings of words, investigating both the relationship between these meanings and a certain plastic sensoriality feeling always connected to it. The objects, paintings or photographs taken during that period are related to one another betraying a ludic spirit, open to explore certain artistic areas less researched by others, looking for the hidden meanings of words.   

This spirit is found also in the works displayed in her first larger scale personal exhibit called Vieţuiri (Instances of Life), in which, after some evolutions toward the informal art, returns to the figurative painting. A vague theme that of commons facts, from daily life, is felted in the series of connected works due to a smooth narrative spirit. The main meaning is the one of authenticity, and the characters are selected from the persons close to her or discovered by chance and taken by surprise performing some daily life activities. These characters have nothing ostentatious and they still awake her interest through their unusual authenticity.

In fact, together with close or common characters, Liliana Mercioiu Popa follows a pathway inside her being, of searching and recapturing personal “states” – fragmented, repetitive – that transpose a certain “excess”, discovered as an escaping gate away from the tensions created around concepts as if she is the one that has to choose between their truths and the “simple joys” in life. Choosing the later, the artist pleads for “sinking” into sensoriality for a get away from the life’s overwhelming realm in front of the severe philosophical problems. Even if the novelty of these figurative representations is astonishing, the pictorial means bear a personal label, being already known; in this new series of works we are recapturing the energic line, almost gestural, from her subsequent paintings. The pallete is reduced to fine colors of gray, amplified by short chromatic vivid bursts of color.    

Therefore, the plastic gestural language is the unifying element of her different stylistic quests, the one that leads her toward a “pure painting”, represented by both chromatic exploitations and textures, surfaces full of color covered by a wax layer. These works, sprung out of different art plastic experiments, are transformed into a dense substance or a more transparent one with an object structure. Her last exhibit project, Despre fluiditate (About Fluidity) proposes eventually an elegant speech about the interchange between opaque surfaces, of a dense substance, in a slow flow, and the transparent ones, easy, stating a happy reunion of the two worlds, created with the whole honesty as a result of some complex research processes.

In the end, no matter what the subject chosen is, in the eyes of the artist the painting continues to represent a field of pure visual research. In this field she makes a selection clearing up a possible path, opened as a temporary escapade into the “human depths” of the world, an invitation into an existential and plastic quest at the same time.   

Ileana Pintilie, 2013

Timisoara of the Young Artists (album), Interart Triade Foundation, 2012

by Coriolan Babeti


Judging by the number of followers, but, more conspicuously, judging by the number of disciples who overinterpreted their teacher’s lesson, we can talk about post-Flondorism in Timişoara. The result of the master’s work is tangible today, after the consecration of many young artists who are not necessarily like their teacher, but who were trained to work in the spirit of his ideas and suggestions.

Flondor’s divergent experimentalism has been adhered to by Liliana Mercioiu in her studio. The echoes of the Sigma group, canvases painted in an abstract-geometrical manner, conceptualist tendencies meet the graphic lyricism of the painting, the random line, a blurred effect, looking for an intuition, without necessarily finding it. The artist treads on the same path of “opening” her studio, its entire perimeter, making sure that, among many (derived) complications, there is a personal storage of freedom of choice in the nearer or more remote future. Small ages, short stages, most of them well accomplished, grouped in cycles of artworks with a rich potential, often achieved, make the highly prolific artist worthy of attention, a case I would place at the very heart of the youth movement.

For her, painting is, more often than not, a cumulus, whose vapors often shape a figure, an idea, or an intention on the canvas. On other occasions, her work is an accumulation of glacis which, technically speaking, circumscribe the very notion of quest. Most frequently, she focuses on experimentation, transcribed, in painting, by means of random gestualism, which tests the limits of imagery. In painting, as well as in many of her drawings, the signs seem to levitate on the ineffable page… Here, like in other studios, we are confronted with the theme of Isis’ veil, the coat of a hymen dissolving the contours of shapes and brings the vagueness of suggestion onto the canvas, accompanied by the breath of poetry, the game and the expressive function of evanescence.

The artist’s feminine sensitivity is often combined with a certain virility of the image. The dominating chromatic elements are the shades of coloured grey. Many of her artworks seem to be skylights – cut into the roof of the imaginary studio, windows opening onto the light of the sky, where pure colour never appears, not even by accident...

There is an array of passages from wakefulness to dream, from tangible reality evaporating and allowing itself to be converted into reverie. The terrestrial dimension of some landscapes grows more aerial with the gesture that moves the paintbrush… For example, the surface of a canvas – which I picked randomly – is inhabited by a cardiogram-seismogram: “It is the spiral of the DNA profile”, the artist explains. What remains from this difference of perception is the very ambiguity which the artist always relies on, as the main instrument of poeticity. ...

The huge imaginary museum of the iconography of the invisible in natural sciences, extended from microbiology to macrocosm, radically changed the position occupied by the aniconism of abstract art in a period dominated by someone like Greenberg (the 1950s-the 1970s). Although the abstract informal vision proposed, for instance, by the New York School has (in theory) made a point of excluding the representation of the object, it has become, paradoxically, a representation of the “elementary structure” of the matter, “more real than the reality” of the object which vanishes from the artist’s priorities.

Perhaps this is why the abstract forms grow, as it happens in Liliana Mercioiu’s studio, into what seems, in the abstract-oriented gestualism, more like a confession of Psyche, a description of herself, the autograph of the creative Self. 

Group Exhibition In- FormareCalina Gallery, Timisoara, 2007

catalogue text by Ileana Pintilie

The  new exhibit, called In-formare, exploits the same artistic area of the painting placed at the border of figurative and nonfigurative, starting from a concept. In her perspective, the polysemantic word in-format “is trying to reformulate the possibility of shaping new directions bringing them together into the varied space of public opinion”. Beyond the practical meaning, beyond the format – the person ending a process of searching, of assimilating some knowledge, in-format is equivalent to the person involved in a knowledge process directed toward a certain subject, a current one.                 

In her recent exhibit, she was inspired by the comments of Constantin Noica about the Human being from the text Romanian Feeling of Human Being. In this text, the philosopher identifies a manifold of the Human Being like the isotopes of a substance (the atoms of a chemical element, identical to one another regarding the chemical properties, but different regarding the weight and physical properties); on the other hand, she stated that, from an ontological point of view, three hypotheses of the Human Being would rather be possible: the first hypothesis represents the individual, the second - its determinations, and the third - the general state.

Starting from Noica’s text, the artist identifies the ambient space as being composed of isotopes, manifolds of basic forms, biological cells on which any living forms are built. This isotropy reveals a micro-universe, mineral or organic which offers it a distinguished artistic pattern. This way, by the help of photographs, she studies the nature’s forms, composed of these micro-universes that on a closer look suggest the absence of life in a cold season, just like in winter when the earth is frozen. The organic forms and the vegetal structures suggest a latent state, of preparing the birth of a new life around spring.

These transitory states, like the years glide past by – continuous unperceivable flow, like the sand grains from a clepsydra – talk about becoming and multiple determinations of things or beings contributing to the multiplication of forms in nature. And just like the isotopes these states are identical but always and gently different.     

The artist uses the photographic images of these vegetal forms shaped like some kind of patterns, than transformed in objects by covering the photographs with a thick layer of wax that give them volume. Within the frame of painting, Liliana Mercioiu Popa takes over this conceptual pattern offered by the nature itself and modeled in a macro-universe. The organic or mineral structures populating her paintings are layered after certain energy nuclei resulting from stains of color and vigorous lines representing on their own turn real color nuclei. Irregular, chaotic forms seem to contain a certain type of fractality.

The same ambiguous subjects are found in painting: organic, mineral or even vegetal are grouping suggesting a preparation for a metamorphosis. The colors are dense, saturated, combinations of gray colored with dominating blue or dark red, while the forms are underlined by colored, gestural lines, diffused on the surface of the canvas. This restless painting lives through these vivid pulsations, emphasized by the black, gray or white contours giving forth to an additional graphical vibration. 

In the dialogue opened by the artist between the micro- and macro-universe, the plans start to intermingle. Step-by-step the careful gaze directed toward the hidden layers of things is starting to intermingle with the one of the macro-structures. In this way her painting is not necessary abstract (non-figurative), because it does not refuse the surrounding reality, but represents a gaze that over-dimensions the vision of an universe composed of small structures, invisible in an unusual way. This way, at the very end, her entire plastic speech is focused on the questions directed toward the form, category defining the how the substance is organized. From this perspective, in-format seems to be equivalent to an intrusion in the depths of this substance which marks eventually the form.  

Duo Exhibition Paula Ribariu and Her GuestsSimeza Gallery, Bucuresti, 2001  

România Liberă (Timpul liber), no. 22(89)/May 31- June 6, 2001/MUSIC- EXIBITS, 
Chronicle by Maria Oprea

Paula Ribariu, the well known painter, has invited two young female artists, Mihaela Cherciu and Liliana Popa Mercioiu, who belong to two different schools, Bucharest and Timisoara, to participate in her exhibit at the Simeza Gallery (May 29th – June 11th). On this occasion, they suggest two interesting plastic attitudes: one that gets closer to the idea, taking original and spectacular forms, and the other that “flashes” it reaching spirituality. Each one of them disposes of one of the two “Simeza” hall rooms,  in the middle being placed only the idea of Paula Ribariu, as an “equilibrium and meditation state, existing between the hall rooms”, as the painter tells us.

The personal small exhibit of Liliana Mercioiu could be called “Elipsa –Dedesubturi” (The Ellipse – Underground Images). First of all, the reason for it being the fact that the canvas placed on the floor is surrounded by 80 rectangular wooden boxes shaping an ellipse around which verbs are written. Secondly, due to the fact that on the wall a work containing approximately 200 photos of underground windows (“Dedesubturi”) (Underground Images) shall be exhibit and placed next to each other. Each one of these windows, of all shapes, placed downtown or uptown, deserted or dusted, suggest a certain state. “This sprang from the desire to valorize, shape and attribute power of suggestion to mere verbs, taking into consideration that they contain the exact meaning of the stated action”, says Liliana Mercioiu. 


This artistic orientation of Paula Ribariu is translated through a recommendation gesture of two artists at their starting point representing the reflection of two new, modern attitudes in the plastic arts as their methods prove. She gambles on them, and all we have to do is to hope that the direction toward which the young plastic artists are headed is the best one.

Group Exibit at Timisoara

Group Exhibition (IN-FORMAT) Substrates (Underground Images) , Tent Art Gallery, Timişoara (Romania), 2001;

by Ileana Pintilie


„Determined to confront the debut’s difficulties together, the In-format Group was founded through the association of a couple of graduates of the Arts Faculty from Timisoara (Florin Avram, Liliana Mercioiu, Viorica Stănculescu, Valentina Ştefănescu), whose purpose was among others to animate the local artistic movement, to zest the quasi-inert atmosphere of the city. This group which included two painters and three decorative artists studies the issues of plastic arts language, seeking for common elements in diversity.

Carrying further the research related to painting begun a few years ago, Liliana Mercioiu proceeds by defining the term elipsă (ellipse), written on a canvas. This definition in which it is selected only the figurative meaning of the word is given in order to make reference to the listener’s / viewer’s memory who has to imagine what is not said or what it cannot be seen, and what is not reflected as a direct result of the term.

Surrounding the canvas, placed directly on the floor, approximately 80 rectangular wooden boxes containing inside-written verbs are being ellipse-shaped. These words-verbs, randomly chosen, are referring to the ones close nearby unifying facts that require the viewer’s memory in order to “supplement what it is not said” (or is not revealed), within a semantic reference trial.

Less conceptual, taken away by the pure plastic poetry of architecture, the underground images assembly gathers a number of photographs of a couple of underground windows. This collection of facts gathers the images of all-shape windows both from downtown and uptown, each one of them being usually deserted, latched or dusted suggesting a personalized state.

Generalized trivial condition indicates a deficiency at a social level, a projection of much more severe vices. The action undertaken by Liliana Mercioiu is oriented toward new meanings and sensibilities by starting to assimilate and overpass the traditional plastic arts representation in favor of a conceptualized one [...]”