Radu Comşa / Things as they are, SABOT, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
20 January - 18 February 2012
When Giorgio Vasari wrote the “Life of Artists”, the notion of the authorship was finally acknowledged in the field of visual art. It was being used for quite some time previously, but never before had it been so clearly defined.
Since then, authorship has become more and more connected to branding and marketing, and the trend is going towards a point when they will have become indistinguishable. I don’t mean to demonize these concepts. Yet, we would be blind if we ignored the fact that nowadays artists are compelled to build their own brand, that above everything else they need to nest into a style, which is something familiar, repeated and recognizable. In other words, they have to brand themselves.
The whole notion of the “death of the author” didn’t really damage this status quo. On the contrary, it added strength to the idea of authorship. The artists have thus survived their own artistic death. Still, it is clear that they have simultaneously turned themselves into products of the capitalist society, much like Coca-Cola or the one dollar bill.
Everyday, Radu Comşa is fighting his way out of the aforementioned scenario. His work – or rather his modus operandi, his life style – is continuously contradicting the situation I just described. The fact that he has been working in the city of Cluj - with its cozy little coterie where everybody peeks at each other’s work - didn’t help much.