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Pavel Brăila




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The Artist in Transition. The Case of Pavel Brăila
text by Anca Mihuleţ

With a lot of responsability and humor in the same time, Pavel Brăila has been examining the social and political European model for the past 15 years. While artists consider the discussion around the ever-changing European context to be too politic and not all inspiring, Pavel Brăila is constantly discovering situations that he infuses with the intensity of the lived experience.

The critical eye can discover three main directions in Pavel Brăila’s art. One orientation is represented by the wall-paper type of works, like the video Baron’s Hill (2004 - 2005) or the photographs from the TV series (2006). In both contexts, the artist departed from the daily realities in Moldavia, from that level where extremes crash and new possibilities are created. These two works involved a lot of field reasearch and surveys. The artist became a documentarian, leaving his emotions aside, in order to create a finite visual product, not at all vulnerable or ephemeral.

The second direction questions the mission / position of the artist and the process of creation, in videos like Plunge and White Promenade, both realized in 2008. In Plunge, the performer, seen as the artist, lays face down on a big white surface, composed of a pile of 105 white sheets of paper of 4 x 3 m each. The action begins as an exploration of the given surface by ripping, squeezing and streching the white paper. The artist fights with the medium, he is searching and while searching he is forced to destroy. In White Promenade, a fragile siluette walks on a field covered by snow and surrounded by tree shadows. While the steps of the walker are destroying the untouched white surface, a new environment is  being created, a moving canvas depicting traces – of humans, vegetation and feelings.

Because Pavel Brăila had been constantly extending the space where he feels free, he created a conceptual refuge. In this space, the artist gets in touch and interacts with his personal history. Eurolines Catering or Homesick (2006) combines the domestic and almost sacred component with the big European world. For a project in Berlin, the artist asked his mother to cook for him a genuine Moldavian meal and to send it by bus to Germany. Therefore, Pavel Brăila documented the entire process – from selecting the basic ingredients, to the intensity of the preparations and up to the arrival of the package to Berlin.

Unlike other artists from his generation, with a growing career, Pavel Brăila has always preferred to get his hands a bit dirty and to choose an open circuit, where new impulses are used to create unpredictable types of works.

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