Decebal Scriba n. 1944

Decebal Scriba’s activity in the 1970s, which was overlooked following his emigration to France in 1989, has been recently subjected to a vast process of revisiting (and implicitly, of being placed in a historical context) […].

“The extensive recapitulation of these projects and experiments highlights today a strong conceptual interest which is, I dare say, even singular in the Romanian art of that decade. The coordinates of those works open up many levels, including, on the one hand, that of the analysis of the systems of representation and production and reproduction of space, alongside that of the conceptualization of the (visual, mathematical and textual) signification systems and, on the other hand, at the level of a private, interiorized and nearly existential assumption of the artistic act. ” Excerpt from Cristian Nae /A Field of Possibilities – Decebal Scriba and The Semiotics of Appearance published inRevista Arta #21-22/ 2016, Bucharest, Romania

For Decebal Scriba, the representation processis wider, as it integrates a major imaginarydimension. Cristian Nae

“The performative dimension of Decebal Scriba’s works from this period – sometimes implicit resumed at a mere conceptual intervention,understood as an act of re-signification of an existing situation, of a ready-made, in the purest Duchampian tradition), other times, explicit –like in the case of the work The Gift (“Darul”) of 1974 – is not negligible. On the one hand, it nuances the possible comparisons and inclusions of these works in an “analytical” direction, specific of North American conceptual art, interested in the nature and functions of art, and, in the subsidiary, in the critical analysis of visuality and of the artistic object. For instance, the series of conceptual interventions achieved in 1973 and suggestively titled “Actions”, describe a matrix of the possible interventions on an imaginary object, starting from verbs all starting with the letter “a”: they expose a possible alphabet which maps the creative process and also describes art as a field of the transformations and operations occurring within a (signifying and power) system defined by permutations, combinations and positionings. Abbreviation, absorption, abrogation, abuse,acclamation, abolishment, abandon, absolutization, seizure, accuse, accreditation – all designate conceptual operations which can also materialize in the social space, where they can modify or introduce relationships of power in an existing (artistic) situation, accompanying the more neutral additions, accelerations or updates. The process of obliteration of the signifier, specific of the transition from an entropic stage to a disordered stage of transmission of information and its recovery at the level of the interpretative process is analysed in the works A-Z and Process A. In A-Z, each capital letter is composed of the opposed letter, multiplied and printed in a small size: “A” from a series of z-sand respectively, “Z”, from multiple a-s. A bag of earth is exposed between these graphic signs.Although it has the appearance of an enigmatic calligram, the work offers us both a meditation on language and its limitations and a possible meditation of the materiality and the finite character of any human action (with the beginning at the end and the end at the beginning).The concept condenses here the entire creative process, which can subsequently materialize,with the work being in its turn a representation of this process of conceptual condensation.

In Process A, the artist experiments the capacity of regeneration of a natural system taken as a model, exploring the shift from order to disorder and back to order through the progressive erosion of a sign – the English word “word”. Both inits complete physical form and in the situation of its imaginary, dematerialized existence, the artistic sign generates information. Whereas the work Water documents a similar (de)materialization process, which explores the relationship between the properties of the signifier and its conventional signification through the agency of the tautology insistently explored by Joseph Kosuth only a few years before, the intervention achieved in the more complex work The Word as Sign, becomes the pretext of expanding an enunciation made by decomposing each word into an alternative system of mathematical codes, which are later on recombined, using elementary principles from the theory of series The recomposing of this text, although possible, is secondary here to the process through which, with their passage into an adjacent signification system, the capacities of generating and sending information are modified, in turn.” – Cristian Nae, A Field of Possibilities – Decebal Scriba and The Semiotics of Appearance


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