Irina and Silviu Szekely’s collages bring politics, sociology and philosophy into an aesthetic that transcends all three. Theirs is not work that comes out of art practice rather it emerges out of critical theory and the writings of Foucault, Deleuze, Benjamin Péret, Duchamp, Bataille and Klossowski.
The Szekely’s studied philosophy in Romania and collage became an extension of their work, an attempt to explore 20th Century critical theory and avant – garde art through cut and paste techniques that began with the Dadaists and their nihilistic approach to art making; funny, sarcastic, satirical and politically provocative. As they say themselves:
We chose collage because it gives us the possibility to remove an object from its original space allocated once and for all in a definitive reproduction (photography, printed images, etc.) and to place it in a whole different environment in order to produce alternative visual and conceptual behaviours with parallel functionalities.
Their work is atypical, there is no dependence on 1950’s magazines, sci-fi imagery or crass consumerist advertising rather they cut art history into pieces and re-appropriate it, force us to re-evaluate the meanings and histories of pictures that have become part of the public consciousness. This is political art without pinning itself to a political flag, it is art that provokes, wants to encourage us to look twice, to develop new ways of seeing. It is a visual experiment informed by their personal histories under a communist regime, it is a search for a way to tell a story free from the boundaries of space and power.
Both Irina and Silviu Szekely see themselves as spiritual surgeons, prepared to amputate our pre-conceptions in order to reveal the truth. Here’s what they have to say about their work:
Born in a communist country – by the nonsense of a grotesque power, we – to understand if there is a – to express and to live the – of freedom. After several – we decided to – and to experiment various – ideas in an attempt to define – as what we may call nomadic substances trespassing the limits of being. As if this wasn’t enough, we pushed our insatiable appetite for reasoning towards exploring parallel ways of narrating the dialectical relation between space, power and freedom: we arrived at that point in which collating pieces of space and mirroring interiors against an exterior that never happens could become the most effective visual attempt of disseminating the complete broken screen of a thought without object. This is why we were nominated by the Honourable Minister of Delicate Instruments as the chief surgeons responsible for all the incisions and decisions regarding the spiritual amputation of our beloved patients. However, the precision of our Reversible map remains to be confirmed only because sooner or later we might lose the simulated sense of freedom within a network of tunnels running beneath reality…or not.