PROJECTION_03 by Matei Bejenaru, at Switch Studio in Bucharest

May 23, 2024 | Cosmina Marcela OLTEAN ArtPage

The exhibition PROJECTION_03 by visual artist Matei Bejenaru was on display between 16-19 May, at Switch Studio in Bucharest.

The artist states that the project is "a continuation of the artistic research regarding the materiality of the photographic medium through the archaeological investigation of its history. Since the projection itself is immaterial, an accumulation of shadows and lights visible on the screen, I turned my research to the material devices that make the image possible, the slide projector and the screen. Analyzing the photographic device, I creatively introduced a new element called a photographic instrument that has the function of obturating a portion of the projection in order to be able to project a new image in that area.

By studying the geometry of image projections, I identified the possibility of building a 'mathematical tool' that would have the function of a shutter, according to the same principle as in cameras. The photographic projection device involves geometric calculations resulting in the shape and positioning of this tool in space. By superimposing two slide projections I found a spatial perception of the composite image due to the shadow cast by the shutter.

Another direction of research has focused on how we attribute complex meanings to images that are the basis for the creation of new imaginary or knowledge spaces".

" 'Projection' presents the results of the last stage of the long-term research project focused on the photographic environment, initiated by Matei Bejenaru in 2018 and previously materialized through the exhibitions Diapozitiv (Switchlab, Bucharest, 2020) and Print (Artep, Iași, 2021). As in previous exhibitions, the artist’s attention is mainly focused on the manner of representation and less on the subject of the representation. Likewise, he explores the photographic language, as well as the ways of looking at the photographic image determined by the photographic device. But, this time, the cultural history of projection as an optical device is evoked. This history is associated with the progress of physics in early European modernity, as well as with the Enlightenment as a cultural period dominated by the ideal of scientific rationality – features that the artist considers to be endangered today, under the spell of mysticism and the irrational.

For this exhibition, Matei Bejenaru built a multi-layered and bicephalic device of aesthetic reception, in which the photomontage is obtained by blocking and overlapping the rays of light generated by the slide-projector. The postmodern quotes are accompanied by a series of examples of photographic genres in which projection often becomes not only the vehicle of representation, but also its subject. The artist’s workshop – another important topos of the exhibition – metaphorically becomes the geometric place of experiment and introspection, the point of convergence of the photographed subjects and the document of a recent period in his own creation. In an indirect way, the series of slides dedicated to the photographic studio thus becomes a subtle and sober self-portrait of the artist" - curator Cristian Nae. 

Photo credits - Switch Studio & Matei Bejenaru

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