Adrian Preda – WEYD-/ Future Dead Languages
On February 3rd, 2017, Adrian Preda launched his book WEYD- at Cărturești Carusel, where it is currently available for purchase. The launch took place during the opening of his personal exhibition Future Dead Languages, featuring the Bucharest-based artist’s early and recent works.
In the catalogue, Adrian Preda takes us through each major series, some discussed in our 2013 interview with him. In Fashion Prey (2008-2009), he examines the condition of animals in relation to consumerism and the fashion industry, highlighting “the way in which nature is severely afflicted by many aspects of human activity.” The option for the title, replacing the term “fashion victim” with the word “prey”, is given “by the presence of two characters in each image, both identifying themselves with either the victim status (the woman seen as the main fashion consumer throughout gender stereotypes), or the prey status (with reference to the uncertain status of some animal species, not to their position in the food chain; the animal presented as the prey of man’s continuous actions of transforming the planet). (…) Through her urban/ trendy /trashy /sporty /chic/ glam/ cool aura, the woman abuses the space reserved to the animal, which belongs to a rough, wild beauty. The logos or the trademarks of a company are inserted on the mammal’s body organically, as if the fur could recolor by default in order to reflect the image of a certain brand.”
The 2010 series Drift shows the impact of global warming and the dangers faced by the species living in the arctic environment. To illustrate the gravity of the situation the artist focuses on the case of the polar bear: “The more the ice melts, the larger the distances the polar bear needs to swim, thus consuming more energy and having lesser chances of catching prey. I devised two instances to reflect this situation: A – in which the bear is divided in two in its journey among the drift ice, suggesting the fracture that appears in its existence and the additional effort it is forced to make; B – in which it is already noticed the absence of the bear, in a bleak future in which it would have disappeared, due to the accelerated pressure to which it is exposed, leaving behind only a ghostly presence on the water reflection.”
Rise (2012) is another unsettling projection of shifting landscapes, this time due to a rise in the level of the planetary ocean that benefits animal life rather than human survival, proving catastrophic for the latter. The images included in the exhibition envision the Romanian Bucegi Mountains (approximately 2200 m high) conquered by seas and fascinate through the lack of human presence, as well as the suspension of time – Nature seems to have finally won after centuries of man-caused destruction and ensure survival only for the once oppressed creatures. In the same year, Adrian Preda creates the series of paintings titled Stint, in which, due to overpopulation – and man’s growing needs (more food, more space), animals loose their natural habitat. Public transport vehicles are devised as suffocating aquariums: “The normal life of many animal species is deviated from its natural course through the damaging effect brought about by human activities (i.e. the large fishing nets laid throughout the seas in order to catch fish in which the dolphins, as collateral victims, get hitched and die smothered).”
In 2015 however, a series we wrote about as part of NAG’s 9th edition, On Heavenly Bodies, Adrian Preda concentrates his attention on the outer space. Despite the change of color and fresh visual approach, similar issues continue to trouble the artist: “The extraterrestrial space becomes the background for a host of problems we confront with here on Earth. The aim is that of taking distance from what surrounds us, so that we can observe better.” In a time when state and corporate interest in creating commercial spacelines and space-mining projects is a reality, the series makes the viewer aware of the potential outcome of man’s harmful intrusion in the universe, staging a familiar scenario, already happening on our own planet.
WEYD- is a compelling collection of awe-inspiring works, from the artist’s first sketches to the transition to “synthetic realism”, according to the artist’s own classification of his work, and his new imaginary realm emerging from a curiosity towards the cosmos. Encompassing the crucial issues of today and foreseeing the possible consequences of the irresponsible behavior that has led to such problems, Adrian Preda invites to reflection, not as a distant and sententious observer but as an empathetic explorer of a world which he feels is deeply suffering due to the negligent choices some of us make.
weyd- is the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root of the words to see, to know; since there is no direct attestation of PIE, all sounds and words have been reconstructed using historical linguistics and the comparative method. A lot of words in modern Indo-European languages are derived from these root words through sound changes.
Catalogue Authors: Valentina Iancu, Adrian Preda
Project coordinator: Mihaela Cîrjan
Editing: Ioana Pearsică
Translations: Ioana Șerban
Layout concept: Luca Averam, Valentina Iancu, Adrian Preda
Vellant Publishing House, 2016
Curator: Cristian Cojanu
Assistant curator: Smaranda Ciubotaru
Future Dead Languages, installation view
Drift B2, 2010, oil on canvas, 50 x 100 cm
Drift B5, 2010, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
Fashion Prey #02, 2008, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm
Fashion Prey #05, 2008, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm
Golf Club U.S.A., 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 100 cm
Untitled, 2013, colored pencils on paper, 32 x 32 cm
Future Dead Languages, installation view
The Hags, 2012, oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm, Rise series
The Sphinx, 2012, oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm, Rise series
Commerson’s dolphins in a Tram, 2011, oil and acrylic on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, Stint series
Soare cu dinți, 2015, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 cm, On Heavenly Bodies series
Photos: The re:art