Victor Fota | Interview

We’ve talked to Romanian artist Victor Fota about his paintings, about what influences him and the projects he is currently involved in. Full story in an exclusive interview for The re:art.

It’s been about a year since your first solo exhibition, “Two planes”, held at the Imbold gallery (April-May 2013). Since then, we’ve seen your works at various collective exhibitions. How would you describe your evolution in the past year?

After the first exhibition, I became more motivated to work and my artistic direction was more clearly outlined, which I consider was most important. On the other hand, new collaboration opportunities in different projects came as a normal phase, due to exposure.

Victor Fota

Newton’s law of universal gravitation, 2013

You’ve constantly collaborated with Imbold gallery. How did your collaboration begin and what projects do you plan for 2014?

I was friends with Andrei Argaetic, he invited me to their first collective exhibition, at the Imbold gallery opening and we’ve been collaborating ever since, with each occasion… In the future, probably during summer, there will be a second personal exhibition and two other collective projects this spring.

Also related to collaborations, you are part of Cooperativa de Artă project. What made you decide to get involved?

It didn’t take much, all artists involved are my friends, I know most of them from high school, and Cezar Cherciu, the coordinator of the project, is very professional and that mattered a lot to me, it makes me believe in the success of the project. Of course, I also took into account the support of the causes and the fact that artists and NGOs help each other.

At the speed of light

At the speed of light, 2013

Your paintings are very complex – from a thematic perspective and also technically speaking. How did you become influenced by concepts of physics, ancient ideologies, traditional motifs and so on?

The last two topics are not essential for my artwork, they were just temporary approaches for particular projects. I am mostly focused on physical reality – illustration of theories and assumptions of quantum mechanics and other phenomena related to how our reality works. I am interested in this field as it is full of unknown. Although some natural phenomena from quantum mechanics, part of our reality, were mathematically and experimentally proven, they are still almost impossible to understand by the contemporary man because his power of observation is physically limited and he cannot be conscious about what happens at a sub-atomic level. For me and for the moment, this field is of maximum interest.

Besides the pedagogical character I attach to my works, with the references mentioned above, I try to illustrate the ideas I depict from different perspectives. Unlike the fantasy genre approached in general by contemporary artists, in my compositions, the theme I choose limits me when it comes to depicting some compositional elements. This limitation implies a rigorous way of organizing my composition, the elements have a certain logic and are not randomly placed in the space of the works.  That is why my style may seem rigid and I like to think it resembles late gothic painting. I chose oil painting because I consider it to be the most permissive painting technique, allowing me to render textures and transparencies, smooth or matte surfaces etc. Flemish technique, which I studied in particular, attracted me by how well you need to plan each methodological process before starting work; I consider it to be one of the most unspontaneous painting techniques. This technique is extremely well suited to my style, it is as rigorous as the themes I approach.

 Quantum entanglement 2013

Quantum entanglement, 2013

There is a series of characters in the center of your paintings. Who are these characters and what is their role in the composition? Is man in the center of your artistic universe?

There are two reasons why there is a character in each work. Firstly, the individual has the role of observer, without an observer everything can exist or not. In order to see what exists, you need an observer. The second reason is a natural one – a character involved in what takes place in the painting communicates the artist’s message more directly than an abstract composition. The identity of the characters is of no importance, I use suitable physiognomies for what I want to do.

 Virtual particles 2013

Virtual particles, 2013

You graduated from the University of Arts, Bucharest. To what extent did your academic experience helped you in the artistic evolution and especially in developing your personal style?

I graduated from the Faculty of Art History, the Conservation-Restoration Department, field which had an indirect influence on my personal style. The fact that I had the opportunity of knowing old techniques used in art made me document oil painting technique, which I did not study in faculty, but attracted me the most. The biggest influence was the study of science – physics, chemistry and biology, essential fields for conservation and restoration, so my interest grew, and I studied them more profoundly, especially physics theory. I always thought that if I had graduated from the painting department, perhaps I would have been too influenced in my style and my approach.

Higgs boson 2013

Higgs boson, 2013

Would you like to experience other fields, besides painting?

Regarding analogous techniques, I already experienced with collage and graphics. I think I’d be willing to try other techniques, if they meet the requirements of the work I wish to achieve. I will probably try digital as well, as it links with my current work, but I will try my best to stick to the traditional oil painting on canvas/ panel because materiality provides a unique quality of image and launches a more personal dialogue with the viewer.

What projects are you working on right now and what’s next?

I am currently busy with finishing my MA studies, and this already occupies most of my time. I also try to focus on the paintings that will be exhibited in my second solo exhibition, entitled “Cosmogony”. After graduation, I wish to strongly focus on developing my artistic concept and technique, and I will devote at least a year solely to painting.

Auger Effect 2013

Auger Effect, 2013

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle 2012

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, 2012

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Images © Victor Fota

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