The visual stories of Adriana


On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

(Antoine de Saint Exupéry)


Adriana Florea Băloiu studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest for five years, attending the two stages of current artistic training - the bachelor followed by the master of fine arts; although she has chosen what it’s (still) called the "queen of the visual arts" in the colloquial vocabulary of the Bucharest School of Arts, she has somehow separated from the traditional means of painting, by also practicing the digital image, as shown by the series of works exhibited at the Berlin gallery Fantom in December 2017, where digital prints and an impressive installation were on display. The natural question is: what is gone? and what is left?

While the artist preferred digital image, giving up the traditional craftsmanship of painting, in which the virtuosity of the drawing merges with the demands of the coloring, she kept the voluptuousness of color, which is the formal protagonist of the Rhinoceritis cycle, turning into an argument of persuasion that seduces the viewer. What viewer? to answer this second question, we need to think about the meaning and addressability of the works. Who is Adriana creating for? for adults, to become wiser, by revisiting childhood’s (lost) ghosts? 

Rhinoceritis is a challenge, starting with the title itself, an allusion to the absurd universe of the famous theatre play Rhinoceros by Eugen Ionesco, in which "rhinoceritis" is, not to forget, an invented illness, symbolizing dehumanization. However, in this case, the literary example becomes nothing more than a suggestion, as a necessary, but never overwhelming background music. Reduced in the background, the text inspires but does not lead, and the painter's library turns into a reality other than the overwhelming, borgesian one: confronted with the inexhaustible wealth of images, it is designed as a bundle of pre-texts handled with a disrespectful politeness by the artist's knowing eye. The poetic license becomes a pictorial license, and the illustrator's obedience gives room to the interpreter's freedom in and through the images. Exploring the visual universe set up by Adriana, you can not help thinking about the Little Prince of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, a philosophical story that reaffirms not only childhood innocence but also - above all - its right to a lasting existence; while less explicit, Adriana's images share the same ideological essence and the same humanistic values; carefully recounting the titles of the works, I found surprising correspondences with fragments of the Little Prince. Here is for instance: Dreaming of a flowery dream and Don’t grow up, keep it green! rhymes with Va revoir les roses. Tu comprendras que la tienne est unique au monde.  

Together, the words and images invented by Adriana propose, with the technical means of a visual environment that surpass the traditional constraints of painting, a unique journey, with an (im)predictable ludic dimension, that can begin with the title of the first work in Rhinoceritis cycle: What am I supposed to do?


Ruxandra Demetrescu

February 2018

translated from Romanian, text written on the occasion of 'Rhinoceritis' exhibtion at Galerie Fantom, Berlin, Dec 2017 - Jan 2018