“Man’s history is the story of his wanderings”
Eugene M. Kulischer, Europe on the Move:
War and Population Changes, 1917-1947, (1948)
The definition of home varies greatly from person to person. What someone might call their home, could instead be the epitome of persecution and hostility for someone else; and, at the same time, the birthplace of an individual is not necessarily deemed a safe space either.
In the exhibition, both artists are presenting their own definition and interpretation of this concept and the different shapes it can take: concrete, wood, soil, plastic, natural fibres and construction materials are all blended together to tell a tale of two different countries and different experiences.
The entry point of Ferdows Faghir’s project is a medium format camera that he built himself: the Afghan Box Camera (Kamra-e-Faoree) it’s an ingenious tool combining a camera and a dark room that has been used for decades in Afghanistan as a tool to quickly produce passport-sized portraits. This equipment, though, is interesting not only because of its technical capabilities but also because of its history: the heritage of those that have used it and perfected it; the countless people that have stood in front of it and have been immortalized; and especially the journey that it went through to land in the Netherlands -so far from its birthplace- all stand behind it and speak volumes about the past of a country.
This displaced camera is the physical element that visually ties together the journey that Faghir took in East Asia to trace back his origins and discover the country where he was born.
With a completely antithetical visual language, Liviu Bulea gives an impression of the city where he grew up in: Turda, located in the heart of Transilvania, is a city with a complex dichotomy at its centre, which brings together very brutalist ambience made of grey concrete buildings and wild, lush and verdant nature that dwells at the border of the town. The industrial quality and general environment of the city weighs heavily on the physical health and visual stimulation of its inhabitants, who are directly afflicted by the pollution it causes. Nature becomes therefore a refuge, but is nevertheless altered and overwhelmed by the artificial materials that build the rest of the town: it was once common to find cement dust on the vegetables in the back garden, which would get wet with the rain and set and become a rock-hard layer that would kill the plants.
Concrete is then a familiar element, all-encompassing and travels and wanders through the mind and body of those that grew up enveloped in it.