Friday, 5 September 2008

Crouching Nude

Dan Voinea’s recent painting is, at first sight, somehow disturbing. A naked, crouching male body – covered in blood, dirt and sweat – is about to be swallowed by the bucket of an excavator. It lies there, with its hands trying to protect head and vital organs, as if in the Kafkian absurd ending of The Trial. It also suggests deep grief and reminds us of the similarly disturbing endings of two movies: Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream and Andrey Wajda's Ashes and Diamond. What strikes the viewer is the honey-like light of the sky – a friendly sea of hope and wellness, whose redeeming powers seem to warmly transcend any worldly grief, if we let them do so. As such, the excavator’s bucket can be either a shelter, or a grave – depending on the godly/worldly nature of our own attitude to grief. Thus, the excavator can be one of the deceiving messengers from the “underworld”, on whom some of us (most of us) hopelessly rely in despair. On the other hand, seen from a totally different perspective, this tool-messenger may well be The One who is always there to catch us when we fall, therefore the crisis – however profound - is a potential way to salvation; it is more like a protecting womb, preparing us for a new life. As always, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

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