26 Apr 2011

Let Slip: Works of Mihaela Brumar

At a posting at his dADa dUffy, Clifford Duffy displays an incredible art poem at Mihaela Brumar's liniadefuga...................

[The one here]

It is really something to see. I don't know what, but there is something unique about the incorporation of text into the imagery. A painter, Theresa Mussato, once told me that the danger of incorporating text into a visual work is that the viewer might not be able to see it as a painting anymore, because our minds might shift modes from a visual receptive sort to a conceptual abstract one. It helps that I do not know Romanian, so I would not have this problem anyway in Brumar's pieces, if the text is written in that language. Although, the slant in the text makes me think it is written backwards. The style of the handwriting reminds me a little of the Voynich script, which so far is not decoded, and might never have been meant to be interpreted.

And the incorporation of the text, as well as some of the imagery, reminds me a little of William Blake's poetic engravings.

The image here, in particular, calls to my mind Blake's depictions of gates or door-ways:

(Thanks bible-art)

And also, I was impressed with this poem here, because even without knowing the meanings, I still somehow found myself enjoying it as I tried to read along, even though certainly the way I read it is not the way it should be read.

I will try to diminish my ignorance of the language to enjoy the works more properly. I am at least grateful to have a curiosity in learning more about Romanian, which I otherwise would not have.

What is it about Brumar's works that can speak to us without interpreted meaning? What is meaning without interpretation? Would it be a direct affective communication of some sort? But I don't think we are affected by these works in the way a photograph might affect us. There is still something textual about our experience of it, even without us knowing what the words mean. The words are not just lines like brush strokes, but they are much more than representations. For, even the pure text poems communicate, and it is not just the way the letters look to us on our computer screens. I am particularly impressed again with the image we began looking at from here.

The words here seemingly flow from the person's head and it looks like they take on the formations of other people in the background. It is as if our minds make a gradual transition from words as thoughts to words as things. And words as well slip through the woman's fingers, like how we use words to try to communicate things on our mind, but find that the words we use cannot completely capture our meaning, which slips through and must find another form of expression. Has Brumar found another sort of expression, a way to say something in a manner that is not reducible to either text or image?

Image Credits

Voynich image:
(Thanks John)

William Blake:
(Thanks gailgastfield.com)

(Thanks adelaide.edu)

(Thanks bible-art)


  1. I have a similar project, but the text is read (stitched) into the video, perhaps you would like it, see: Modern Mythology, http://www.modernmythology.net/2011/04/obscene-transformations-and-art-non.html

    As I would be very interested in your review, if you are so inclined.

  2. Thanks, I will take a look at this very soon.