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Public Figure

Artist: Maria Sicoie

The role of mentors in society is recognized and evoked by means of sculptural representations in the capital and in the Romanian cities of the province. National culture and history are both marked by the presence of these individuals, for whom the community guarantees – as a given for posterity – the inert form of statues and a series of portraits conveyed in a style completely disconnected from the new generations.

Maria Sicoie discusses the idea of the symbolic form of statuary presences, a form that society to this day deposits in its collective memory. This memory undergoes transformations of a structural manner, in parallel with the cultural evolution of Romanian society, an entity which starts experiencing the effects of globalization in certain key domains and is – at the same time – openly oriented on a democratization of values that are of a material, as well as of a spiritual character. The figures of the idols are contemporary with the age of speed and the inflation of information, a moment in which the attention of the masses that are in full blown time crisis is captured – by means of the media channels – by heroes of day-to-day entertainment. Romanians live in a present that is not theirs: they feed off the tragedies of others, with the impulse of creating overnight stars. Moreover, they have the capacity to digest – in a very short period of time – shocking, sensational news, living out more or less marking moments of day-to-day life with the same intensity.

In this particular context, the “strata” of information processed by the rational thinking of the generations that have succeeded each other since the last decade of the past century up to the present become a hybrid, amorphous mass of images which compete against each other and annihilate each other, marking by means of memorable representations entire areas of urban spaces. The mark of the place becomes a sort of brand for each location, completing or dislocating the symbolism of the classicized monumental ensembles, as they have strived to be – in an exceptional manner – the expression of a solemn feeling dedicated to a particular historic moment. Belonging to a lyrical style, the statuary forms become shadows of the indefinite past, sterile of the significance it was given at an original moment. Thus, the form is emptied of its symbolic content, being camouflaged in the ambiguous scenery of contemporary colours.

The sculptural ensemble of Maria Sicoie is contrived of mixed techniques which combine fragile physiognomies made of tiles with versatile metal structures and polyurethane foam. The five busts that are enrooted in their white pedestals become part of a bizarre environment, an iconic context that is made out of the juxtaposition of three different graphic interventions, the plasticity of which is not assumed from an aesthetic perspective. The random character of the mural representations is in contrast with the five busts, suggesting the annihilation of the traditional fundaments and the memory of the remarkable individuals of the past; the archetypal figures get to losing themselves in the uniformity of the void, leaving room for historicizing a sum of random passages and images, that are part of the contemporary urban landscape.


Olimpia Bera, PhD

Visual Kontakt curator

Thanks to:

Liviu Bulea, Stoica Bogdan, Filip Zan