Transfăgărășan, also known as DN7C, is one of the most outstanding roads in Romania. People might consider it a symbol of a recent historical key period in the Country’s identity and configuration, yet I focus my attention towards it not only as a symbolic element in the recent Romanian history but also on a more formal level.
Beyond the imposition of a two-dimensional rectangular shape that is implicit on the photographic medium, I turn to this curvy site as if I was trying to solve a complex sculptural equation while traveling through it. I let myself be carried away by the suggestive forms and materials that form this peculiar landscape to then compile all these elements on a group of photographs where I mixed my personal thoughts and experiences in contrast with the formal limitation of the photographic medium. The result of this process is a number of prints on anodyne paper that while respecting the physical volume of space, it moves it also into new mental ground.
Centrul de Interes, Cluj-Napoca – exhibition views-
Project supported by Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia / Diputación Foral de Bizkaia and Etxepare Basque Institute.
Instituto Cervantes, Bucharest, project and exhibition in collaboration with Eriz Moreno.
With its 151 kilometers of curves, the Drumul Național 7C road is perhaps the most emblematic of Romania. It was built between 1970 and 1974 during the mandate of Nicolae Ceauşescu, in response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Thus, it was conceived as a strategic military route, connecting the historic regions of Transylvania (in the north) and Wallachia (in the south) as it passed through the higher sections of the southern Carpathians. The road was built mainly by armed forces, with a high financial and human cost, assuming an aggressive intervention in the natural landscape. It could be said that this road is considered a symbol that refers to a recent historical period that has been key in the current identity configuration of the country.
In the exhibition, the Transfăgărășan is used as a means/way of approaching a place and a territory. The photographs shown are vectors where the different aspects involved in the act of displacement converge: our personal experience, the road as an object and its relationship with the landscape through which it passes.
We are interested in exploring the limits within the rectangular two-dimensionality implicit in the photographic medium. And if we understand that sculpture has to do with space, the experience of going through and traversing a place by mapping it, then it would also have to do with sculpture. In this way, we have redirected our gaze to this curvy site as if we were trying to solve a complex sculptural equation by travelling through it. We let ourselves be carried away by the suggestive forms that constitute this singular landscape and then gather all these elements in a group of photographs with which we can combine our contained spatial perception through the formal reductionism that is implicit on the photographic medium.
The images that result from the recording of our experience of traveling (space exploration) present opportunities for accidental encounter or coincidence, confirming the importance of this combination of vision and movement as essential to make occur these fortuitous events that we record in photographs. In them, the predominance of the presence of the road is, of course, inevitable. However, in addition to this presence, and underpinning its importance for the genre of driving performances, the road is also the narrative thread of our project.
We are not only interested in the route, but also in the experience, and transfer it immersively to the exhibition format from the possibility of connection with the environment that the photographic medium offers us. Being inside a car, looking outside and observing, parking, getting off and photographing, are acts limited to the environment and are themselves means of relating to the surroundings, presenting similarities to the ways in which being behind the camera as photographers can distance ourselves from what is in front of the camera.
The result of this work process is a selection of photographic prints, which, while representing the physical volume of space, also guide us towards a new mental and emotional terrain.
Therefore, we understand that the road is established as a device that intervenes, through its own rules, in the relationship between the driver / artist and her surroundings; both fix or limit immediate interaction or engagement with the surroundings. In a sense, we are “strangers” who move away from our environment through the action of speed and the photographic device through which we see the landscape pass.