26 April – 2 June 2018
Delfina Foundation and European ArtEast Foundation collaborate to present Between Too Soon and Too Late, the first solo exhibition in the UK by Alex Mirutziu (b. 1981, Sibiu, Romania).
Mirutziu’s practice interrogates the process of how we create meaning to interpret the world around us. Inspired by philosophy, literature and design, he explores the inadequate use of objects, language and the body as tools of communication.
For a few years, Mirutziu has been researching the work of novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and the different methodologies she employed to create meaning, both spoken and unspoken. During a short residency at Delfina Foundation, Mirutziu visited Murdoch’s archives at Kingston University. Instead of focusing on her most prolific writing period, he concentrated on unfinished writings from the latter stages of her career, which was marked by the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
In Between Too Soon and Too Late, Mirutziu uses Murdoch’s writings as a starting point to reflect on the notion of time and space in relation to meaning. The exhibition, which includes newly commissioned and existing works, explores the ‘tiny space’ – as identified by Murdoch – where meaning stays tacit, where being and not being are the same. According to Murdoch, this point is in between being ‘too soon’ and ‘too late’. The works in the exhibition attempt to occupy this space and prolong the process of establishing meaning; they refuse to yield a sense of resolution and closure, entangling the viewer in a space that is indefinite and inconclusive.
For Between Too Soon and Too Late, Mirutziu transforms corrections to writing and comments made in Murdoch’s hand writing into large sculptural forms that represent where meaning is simultaneously gained and lost. This is juxtaposed with an existing video work Where is the poem? (2013), which refers to the dynamics and politics of writing and reading, and to the dialectical understanding of their relationship, from production to reception. Working with Graham Foust’s poem Politics, the artist’s hand marks the distance created within and around the text, which Mirutziu claims is as integral as the sequence of words in terms of understanding the complexity and structure of a poem.
The space in between the hand and the writing surface is also fundamental in Gestalt me out (2018), a specially designed desk featuring impressions of the artist’s elbow and wrist positioned alongside an image of Murdoch’s tea-stained notebook. These two works attempt to give form to the construct of time as well as the conceptual space where meaning is created. Prepared Poem #3, written by the artist in response to Murdoch, is presented in a disjointed sculptural form.
The exhibition coincides with a new performance by Mirutziu for Block Universe Festival, co-commissioned with Delfina Foundation and European ArtEast Foundation, entitled Doing Sub Thinking. Referencing philosophical thought, national displays of power and collective agency, the work seeks to illustrate the performative forces at play in society. Exploring the de-personalisation of an individual within a crowd, Mirutziu will bring the audience on a journey to make manifest the intangible gaps between thought and action within group dynamics.
Alex Mirutziu’s practice extends over a wide range of media and activities, including sculpture, drawing, poetry and performances as well as lectures and curatorial projects. In his current work, he explores time and space in relation to ‘the arrival of meaning’. His works attempt to dislocate modes of arrival through text, words and the body by expanding the concepts of approximation and proximity, as well as challenging the notion of ‘thinking’ versus ‘doing’.
Mirutziu formed a collective – TAH 29 – which involves collaborations with the artist himself, when he was 29 years of age. The collective’s modus operandi is retroactive irony.
Mirutziu has collaborated with artists, writers, musicians, designers, and philosophers including Grit Hachmeister (DE), Elias Merino (ES), Graham Foust (US), and Graham Harman (US), to name a few. Mirutziu has participated in solo and group exhibitions at Power Plant, Toronto; The Glass Factory Lab, Boda; Mucsarnok Kusthalle, Budapest; Center for Contemporary Art and National Museum, Warsaw; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, amongst others.
In 2015, Alex Mirutziu was part of the group exhibition On Fiction and Reality, representing Romania at the 56th edition of Venice Biennale, Romanian Cultural Institute in Venice.
Founded in 2007, Delfina Foundation (DF) is an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating artistic exchange and developing creative practice through residencies, partnerships and public programming. DF has hosted over 300 artists, curators and writers in residence from around the world, partnering with institutions such as Tate Modern, V&A Museum, Chisenhale Gallery and Art Jameel, a major strategic partner of DF. DF’s board of trustees generously provide 40% of the Foundation’s annual funding, which is complemented by individual supporters, foundations, public funding and partnerships.
DF’s public programme of events and exhibitions fosters critical discourse on the contemporary arts in relation to everyday life. DF brings salient issues and common ideas together through recurring thematic programmes such as The Politics of Food, The Public Domain, Performance as Process, and Collecting as Practice, the first ever residency programme for collectors alongside artists. Mirutziu’s residency in 2016 and this exhibition are part of Performance as Practice (Stage 3), exploring the nature of performativity within artistic practice and the wider world.
European ArtEast Foundation
Providing a global perspective on Eastern European art and culture, the Foundation encourages the development of projects that expand the discourse around contemporary art from this region.
The Foundation has a particular interest in encouraging the rediscovery of seminal Eastern European artists from the 1950s and 1960s and maintaining their legacy. It also embodies the values of patronage as a context and framework to encourage creativity, innovation and cultural production among contemporary artists.
In addition to Mirutziu’s exhibition, the Foundation is collaborating with Delfina Foundation on an open call for research grants focused on Eastern European artists working in the region in 1950s and 1960s. The purpose of these grants is to give art historians and curators the opportunity to carry out ambitious academic research projects that will make a significant contribution to the field of art history in Eastern Europe.