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Whimsical Adornments – Maria Balea

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09/10/2015 - 31/10/2015

Date Time

12:00 am


Fabrica de Pensule, cluj

Recreate the look, mix & match, be inspired by, be glamorous! Less expensive replicas of fashionable high-end pieces, glimmering accessories, hairdos with a twist, fancy shoes and alluring looks – they are all tossed together promising to perfect our persona. Maria Balea appropriates the images found in fashion magazines in synthetic collages inspired by popular culture and references to Dadaist forms of photomontage. However, she extends her practice by transferring the irregular surface of handcrafted collages into palpable, volumetric constructions. Following her personal cut-outs from fashion magazines, she makes and re-makes objects of distorted proportions glued together in an eccentric and sculptural ‘recreate the look’ way. The assemblages tackle the culture of excess and the compulsive buyer behavior driven by the effects the purchased items have on us. The sculptures introduce adornments that confront us with forms in which objects are up on the pedestal, take central stage, suffocating the body and constraining it to an unbodied presence. More than any other objects, clothing items identify with the body through recollection of habitudes and create visual analogies of the self-dressing act. They blend personal narratives and experiences with meaning constructions often guided by cultural normativity and, as such, continuously evoke an absent body. What remains is an idea of a body that, one way or another, seems to be what it wears.


Keeping that in mind, we see the artist cut/pasting objects from their previous role and placing them in unorderly and unexpected arrangements. Imperfect alloys, these whimsical adornments are opened to signification and imagination, ready to invent and initiate bonds. Form upon form, they explore the dynamic tensions between optical and tactile experience that defy design or utility. The sculptural rigid surface and the softness inherent in associations of textile materials with the body echo, not without a sense of irony, the playful and literal: “sculptural fashion is back in fashion.”