Lucas Hees : The Aim of the Drawing

It has not been so long since Cezanne, admirer of Monet’s pictures, found Gaugin to be over-styled and flat, on the verge of trespassing the line of the tolerable. Meyer Shapiro, considering that view in an article, critique d’art dedicated to Fromantin, insists that Cezanne, far from being the founder of an exclusively « for the eye » – because of its forms and colours –, embodies the very expression of the French tradition according to which « you cannot but make the common reality to your subject ». Starting from this high levelled ambition, we are aware of the acute search for order and harmony, in spite of different styles and techniques.

The abstract, whose sole criteria of perfection is based on the coherence of the entity created, has established a system of limited elements, finally leading to an extrem scarcity of means. This highly self-sufficient system established by successive avantgardes of the 20th century has necessarily lead to an emphasizing of the phenomenon, reaching even levels of caricature. As she goes well out beyond simply putting up backgrounds or sketching contours, Irina Rotaru, young German artist of Romanian origin does nothing else than lining herself up into the very tradition of Cezanne – a living tradition turned universal since the end of different schools and trends caracterizing all societies where art represents a part of life.

What Irina Rotaru is searching for is not merely new forms – she is in search of significant forms. A new kind of perspective which enables us to see the world we are sensing it. Not according to a coherent, rational nature, where each object has its own well-defined place, but a world of waves and particles, of devices – just as she herself speaks about it in her drawings, where growth and movement take the form of endless dimensions. She wants to make concepts visible – that is why her drawings force one’s perception towards something « different » due to the unavoidable impact. It is like a challenge, twisting commentary’s hand so as to surpass imaginable contradictions ( figurative/abstract ) and long established paradoxes ( neutral/expressive ) – and to help keep to the mere visual evidence of a dialectically superior aim. « The impact » and « viscerals » of the forms combined and aimed by the artist ( to be seen both in the way the subject is being subtly treated as well as in the deep cut of the crayon into the paper – carefully chosen ) are being risen to the heights of a fully conscious, entirely lucid aim in works whose titles reveal the ambition.

When Irina Rotaru draws a Danae, it is less the mythological Danae that is dominating her lines but rather the different elements and their characteristics defining her as such : the golden rain into which Zeus changes in order to penetrate the Earth and the sex of the woman. In the same manner, the lines of the drawing become stronger and harder ( as when describing the falling rain ), crossing the cercle-shaped lines towards creating a figure of « jamais-vu ». And this is just the aim of the drawing – the « never seen before ». The drawing of Irina Rotaru helpes us perceive an invisible reality, the one of forms unknown or unseen before : the cell, the particle, the very heart of a thing or insect, of a plant or of a being, all of the extant forms, criss-crossed and elaborated by the artist’s imagination. And they exist serving the artistic vocabulary ( as gold the myth ), to fertilize ( as rain the earth ) or to fecundate it ( as the liquid element in the composition Homme-fontaine and Femme-fontaine ).

The role of he or she who enlightens is to excite the one envisioning, so the latter can enjoy a much large slice of reality. The truth is secret, meaning one can never grasp it. The great oriental minds and mystics, especially those in Japan ( a country whose music and art – first at all the Ukiyo-e has fascinated Irina Rotaru ) had understood that there are different levels of perception. Irina Rotaru’s drawings are the occidental manner of telling the same : you cannot live by appearances. And the drawings bring the message clearly over : they purify the world from the triviality of appearances so it can reach the secret, the heart, the womb, the mother cell.

« The automation » of the gesture, rightly revealing in the spot the form or at times anthropomorphic forms, is certainly the result of remarcable daily, « ascetical » worldly exercise, but ils is also a proof of an activity resembling rather that of an interrogator and diviner than that of a painter or drawing artist. It looks like Irina Rotaru is herself an instrument of her creation, powerfully using passages and crossovers to illustrate the feeling of a world escaping our senses but in no way less real than the one we are experiencing. So that the drawing entitled Sans chaise, sans maison, son de cloche created on an Mexicain paper traditionally used for certain rites, the most subtile in its frugality, can be perceived as a scarcely drawn map of the hidden world and itself like the winding path.

Thus, the drawing is first of all a means of catching the move, of establishing a form indeed inspiring. The drawing is as its best in its intensity as part of the search for the real fonction of the thought. Drawing resembles lines traced on water in keeping with the tide and ebb of the flow ( as suggested by the title of the work Sous l’eau ). After that, the drawing dissolves immediately, disappears. So that a new drawing must be created and then another one. It is like a race against time, between efemerity on the one side and the already known, the déjà-vu, the traditional ideas or established forms on the other side. On the one hand the artist tries to rely on established forms ( Napoli, Greece 1 and 2 ), on the other she ignores limits as she is searching for another form, necessarily new, suprising at times and yet full of expression ( Eos, Inventing beauty ).

Irina Rotaru seems to be playing with the lentgh of the line contained in her only tool, the crayon – as symbolically presented in her composition entitled Gérontocratie 2 – the one being placed under the sign of eternity. A new pen will probably be able to draw a line over an even longer distance. Speaking of distance, it can deform, inform or form. Who leads, who controls the form given by the artist ? It can be straight or can cross all levels of the drawing, starting by the time this art has developed beyon sketches and studies. Or showing the frenzy of life, the crazy interaction of realities over the verticality of the sheet – higher than large, integrating in itself the structure of the paper ( Japanese, Mexican, Thailandese… ), the man, the woman, the phoetus, the plant, the egg, the animal. The drawing is virtual, essentiel, because it carries the essence and embodies everything in it.

Translation of French in English by : Christina Rotaru