Felix Deac | Interview
You create the “illusion of living”. You take different details and textures from the human body – especially the skin highlighting the moles, veins and hair – and transform them to give life to non-anthropomorphical objects and shapes. What made you decide to approach hyperrealism in a non-figurative manner and why did you choose the skin as the main element that reminds of the human form?
The hyperrealism is the best tool for me to express a visceral message and in the same time is the perfect communication channel between my thoughts and my hands. In hyperrealism there is no room for mistakes or accidents, even the accidents are controlled, the process is based on scientific facts involving anatomy and a basic chemistry knowledge.
Along the years, also while I have been working on my PhD thesis, the concept of my works has particularly been my eidetic memory*, which constantly tells me that what I believe is real. So I experiment unexplainable shapes and textures, for example my works Eidetic 1 and Eidetic 2, (Artificial Life) AL 1 and AL 2.
*eidetic memory is an ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory after only a few instances of exposure, with high precision for some time after exposure, without using mnemonics. The word eidetic comes from the Greek word eidos, “seen”. (source: Wikipedia)
‘Artificial Life 01’, 2011, Sculpture Mixed Media, 150×170×70 cm (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
‘Eidetic 2’, 2010, Sculpture Mixed Media 32×22×18 cm (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
You have a piece titled “What are you”. Do people usually find it hard to decipher the meaning of your work? How would you describe the relationship between the viewer and the creation from what you have experienced so far?
Analyzing this art work, it is basically a symbol of a brick wall turning to and fro into an organic mass, reflecting a contemporary reality.
First of all, I think the way to depict a work is based on emotion and I believe my works are constantly trying to provoke visceral reactions from the viewers. All the time there are two types of reactions to my works, attraction and willingness to touch or repulsion and looking away, never really something between them.
‘What are you’, Sculpture Mixed Media, 39.4 x 33.5 x 5.9 in, courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
In the recent “Plastic Existence” sculptures you depict human faces, some deformed by wearing gas masks. Can you share some insights regarding these works and what are your current interests and concerns that you might express through art in the following period?
The Plastic Existence series begins with a 3-work installation counting moments of a physical existence, all pieces being in contradiction with nature. The figure, the expression is essential. A whole year of formation, experiment and convictions is behind this project.
‘Plastic existence 3’, 2015, Sculpture, Mixed Media, 32×20×30 cm (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
It’s a bit too early to confirm the statement, because they belong to a bigger project what I prepare for this year called “Tribute to prostrated nature” – it is a solo sculpture show produced by Nasui collection & gallery Bucharest, Romania. This project will be previewed and revealed on May 25, 2016 with a curatorial talk and presentation within Romanian Design Week under the name “Rearranging the molecular structure of substances”.
‘Plastic existence 2’, 2015, Sculpture, Mixed Media, 32×20×30 cm (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
‘Plastic existence’, 2015, Sculpture, Mixed Media, 32×20×30 cm (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
You also have a “Dead Pillow” and the “Organiture” chair. You changed the context and functionality of these ordinary objects. What would be a third object to inspire you for a new such work?
Everywhere we go we actually travel, we bring with us essential everyday objects which are basically worthless. The only thing that matters is our adaptability, our knowledge and mainly our humanity, so one of my travel cases would be the next object what I would transform in a self standing living thing.
‘Dead Pillow’, detail, 2011, Sculpture Mixed Media 7.1 x 15 x 15 inch (HxWxD), courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
You once mentioned that you have dedicated much of your time to the study of shapes, as well as the relationships between shape and material, but “with limited success”. Can you take us through the creation/experiment process and the materials you best work with at the moment?
While I have been working with conventional materials like metal stone and bronze, even in modern techniques, the resonance between me and materials was low and often dodgy. The feeling that I want to create something more sympathetic was constantly challenging me, so first I manipulated textures to create something different in appearance and texture. So I started to identify myself with them, then I made hundreds of experiments and recipes to create the closest illusion to life.
The pieces which came out then were the perfect parts of me, of my subconscious. My living creations were literally a part of me. I used the same tones of my skin, same texture and often I put my own hair to create a deeper presence and more realistic existence. I started to know myself better and to be one with my works, in the same time realizing that there are no limits.
Are there any rules you follow when creating art?
I’m constantly looking for new materials to be capable to enlarge my vision, so the rules are synchronized with technique. The perfection is also a rule what I’m subordinated to, because everything must look like pieces of the surrounding reality.
‘Soul portrait’, 2013, 17.7 x 19.7 x 13.8 in, courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
What do you consider challenging in being an artist today?
My opinion is that art and technique compensate each other. My present doubts and ideas on the present are justified by the complex relation between matter, colour, detail and ensemble, which absolutely interrelate. All those facts should guide an artist and not the stylistic tendencies or market demand. At least for me that’s the challenge.
Any upcoming shows or projects you’d like to share with us?
As mentioned above, the project on the roll, “Tribute to prostrated nature”, is coming to life slowly and is to be produced by Nasui collection & gallery. Not many pieces, but powerful, will show a spectrum of ancestral forms, riding us from natural primordial shapes to a manipulated artificial transgression, all involved in the illusion of the natural living structures.
Installation view, courtesy of Nasui Collection & Gallery
Felix Deac is represented by Nasui collection & gallery. Images courtesy of the gallery.