All photography, is an interpretive act;
Anthropomorphic ontologies of archaic culture defined humans homologous to nature. This strict bond of action and reaction governed life and the balance was maintained. Then civilizations arose and we forgot. My series aims to revitalize such perceptions but within the contemporary setting of an ecology strained to the limits of catastrophic collapse. Venice is a symbol of the global cultural economy and it exists in a constant state of flux between human engineering and the tides of the lagoon unto which it was built. Yet the mirage of civilization is easily lifted. Devoid of any people the landscape of the city becomes sterile. The abstract shapes, edges and geometry of the canals are uninviting and threatening thus contrasting with the still calmness of the rising waters. The Phantom of the Lagoon is an anthropomorphic representation of our environment in the guise of an ancient "God" who is dying; it is poisoned and entangled in plastic pollution. Yet he is also a mirror onto ourselves. On the one hand vengeful and ruthless nature, on the other a vainglorious and unrepentant humanity that has abandoned its sanity in the pursuit of hubris.
© Felix Abrudan
Paradoxical Absurdities of the sheltered mind or the Laboratory of the Apocalypse
This project is the culmination of a 5 year long process of slowly growing disenchanted with the romanticized and quite naive vision I had of Vienna when as a young 19 year old I followed my inquisitive nature and desire to study cultural anthropology and leaving my Carpathian home, ventured to the "Pearl on the Danube". Vienna has a particularly duplicitous capacity of enthralling one with its beauty and cleverly marketed high standards. Behind the glittering facade and the happy smiling faces smothering out any possible spark of genuine human emotion, lies a world entrapped by isolation, anger, confusion and radicalized thinking. A world which hasn't really changed that much since the actually, not so golden days of the famous Ringstrasse era one willingly or not has to ingest while going about in Austria and particularly in Vienna.
People define the world by the stories they weave and the roles they ascribe each other in them. For the past few years, however, there is a stark and worrisome discrepancy between official media narratives and the experience of reality as lived by the vast majority. It seems like everyone has a problem with society but nobody has a concrete solution.
Warning of the dangers of unchallenged ideology is exactly the function and concept behind this photographic series, which aims to shed a different light unto a number of aspects of the nauseating Viennese mythos by means of ridicule, interpretation, critical reasoning and provocation. Meanwhile I am not shying away from poking at the Viennese themselves, their habits and implicit guilt towards their own condition. It is a series of carefully planned black and white images that deals with the failure of modernity in providing meaningful answers to a society where people are nothing more but a tool for someone else's needs.
For me everything humans create is the result of conceptual thinking. The idea leads to the style, the style generates the form, the form births the emotion. Art is nothing but the architecture of thought made manifest in form. I reject the aberrant notion that conceptual art is different or epistemologicaly separate and therefore morally and intellectually superior. All art is a reflection of/on reality, the crux of the matter is whether it is a sincere one or a blasphemy masquerading as enlightenment - my purpose is to tear down every effigy of fake moralist public pretense and show you the vapid cold calculating interests of a neurotic and deeply egotist society lurking just behind the silk veil.
Heresy or painful truth? Make up your own mind.
"The fact that people think at all, that they are cultural beings who do things and effect changes in their surroundings, is due to the pronounced uncertainty, the relentless unclarity of their lives." Lee Drummond
Born and raised in post-communist Romania during the 1990s I was exposed early on to the effects of crumbling narratives. Growing up in a country in search of an identity, is probably the reason why I have always found a keen interest in unraveling the significance of stories as frames of existence. This passion for stories led me to the discovery of photography. Later as a student of social and cultural anthropology in Vienna, I started devising artistic projects as frames into the various theoretical schools of thought analyzing human existence. This conceptual approach to photography allows me to break the barrier of categories and utilize techniques ranging from fashion to experimental and weave them together into complex, almost theatrical scenes. My future work will continue exploring the possibilities at the juncture between photography and socio-political theory/commentary.
On this page, I present, albeit in a redacted form my endeavor to stitch together solutions to the schismogenetic condition of human life through the power of the still and moving image.
"An Image is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time." - Ezra Pound
Images are more than the representation of a certain frame or perspective of reality, that is the picture, images are in fact the sensitive bundles of emotion that are bound through experience or the acquisition of knowledge to a certain conceptual category which they define. Therefore images suggest myths, stories they give meaning and sense to the environment we inhabit so that we may form analytical categories which help in classifying the world around us. Images are therefore our tools of making sense of the world, which is why they posses tremendous power. Each image encapsulates within itself a long list of knowledge about a particular aspect of the world stretching back generations and is therefore an accumulation of socially constructed meaning and its associated emotional reaction. Images define our social existence by reinforcing core definitions of the self in relation to society, culture and history.