Alexandru Racu, New Pop Artist

“Self Three Self Portrait with hands”, oil on canvas 100×120 cm
Alexandru Racu’s works, disturbingly realist, are mainly portraits of pop icons in a quasi-photographic and more or less stylized manner. These canvases catch the eye and raise interesting issues of identity. The subtle mastery of color, which alternates between ultra-realistic and ultra-psychedelic tones, is utterly fascinating and leaves the viewer hypnotized.

“Fame Effect” 2012, oil on canvas 120x120cm
Born May 29, 1989 in Romania, Alexandru Racu currently studies painting at University George Enescu of Visual Arts and Design in Iasi. His work to renew pop art through the use of ultra-realism forms the core of his 2012 master’s thesis entitled Pop Icons. Through remarkable examples of the pop icon phenomenon, he crystallizes and accentuates the effect of pop culture on contemporary human consciousness and the status of the superstar in the 21st century.

“MDNA”, oil on canvas 100x120cm
Especially inspired by this “new pop art,” he chose to pursue his visual research in this direction through a project entitled “Pop Culture Condensed.” His interest in pop culture resides in it’s audience. Pop culture is of course destined for the masses; however, it came naturally to Alexandru to parody a modern popular cultural which look so caught up with kitsch, sexuality, and celebrity excess.

“M.M. look”, Oil on canvas 70×70 cm
It is tempting to liken Alexandru Racu’s work to Andy Warhol’s concepts. Racu has however parodied Warhol by creating a hyper realist can of soup inscribed with the words “pop icons” and “condensed” as well as innumerable names of celebrities, both real and fictional. The inclusion of these terms is a symbolic critique of the negative influence of pop culture that has uniformized modern art.

“PopIcons Condensed”, oil on canvas 100x120cm
His paintings are directly linked to both the influence of pop culture from superstars and the “normal” people that follow them; in short, they are a critique of the manipulation of tastes and consciences.

“The Fame” (2013), oil and acrylic on canvas 100×70 cm
The artist asserts that the current world, in which we follow or support cultural mechanisms such as the idolatry of celebrities, is essentially pop. However, he does not claim to escape this very idolatry and recognizes being fascinated, for instance, with the work of Gottfried Helnwein, artist of Austrian origin, best known for photographing rock stars in the 1970s and 1980s and for his digital photographs and installations since the 1990s. Alexandru Racu has notably reproduced one of his photographs, Modern Sleep III:

Oil on canvas 43×55 cm , d’après Modern Sleep 3 de Gottfried Helnwein

“Modern sleep III”, Gottfried Helnwein, 2004, photographie
Alexandru Racu maintains that he finds his inspiration in artificial matters and has abandoned using nature, a subject he finds overdone. His work nevertheless raises very concrete questions on human nature through questioning the need to stage bodies artificially to attain a higher value. That appears to me to surpass mere pop culture and it seems that positioning a modified body in an artificial way (through clothing, makeup, haircut, jewelry, waxing, tattooing, piercing, plastic surgery or even ritual scarification, etc.) to set oneself apart from the rest of one’s contemporaries by being more noticeable is an anthropological element recurrent in all human societies. However, society and beauty are abstract human creations and both could thus perhaps be deemed artificial.

“Beautiful End”, Oil on canvas, 80×80 cm
Regardless, this work merits consideration in terms of its impeccable, expressive, and subtle artistic realization as well as the brilliant explications of the artist and his societal critiques. 
(translated by Anna Provitola)
 Website of Alexandru Racu

Aucun commentaire :

Enregistrer un commentaire