Of The Earth

eu caut si arat, el vede si vibreaza

Of the Earth Artist: Ile Ștefi The earth gathers and shifts. From the smallest of piles one can gather in a fistful, to the churned soil from the foundations of a building, we are confronted with a temporal process. The soil will nurture another tree, another dream, another becoming. The earth decomposes itself it creates territories. It dictates borders and it falters into seas. It finds its way across myths and it appears in our mythologies and pasts. Earth, dust, soil. The return to prime matter is a plunge into the unknown of many details. Raw source for the very first colours, an element of alchemy and a shape shifter, the soil links and breaks apart conceptual meanings in multiple interpretations. Not yet paintings, but not yet sculptures either, Ile Ștefi’s series of bio-portraits alternate from decisive lines of female faces to anonymous features, of a face hidden in the shadows. Faces or masks, worn by the viewer of looked at from the exterior; the works of Ile Ștefi defy the gravity of the raw material, levitating between the uncertainties of the source of the gaze. The series is exceeding various archetypes with which it can be associated in favour of its absolute anonymity. Lost in the past, linking to the prehistoric cultures of raw materials and rituals, the soil becomes part of things that are ever present, ever past. The embodiment of the faces transforms the soil that they are made from, in a primary, nearly tactile experience. Watching them, they gaze back into the form that the Earth is re-shaping into a consistent state with itself. Thus, Ile Stefi commits a soulless ritual, a tracing in the dust of unnamed faces, as a willed act of mutual possession. by Cristina Stoenescu