Video installation with Andrei Mateescu, 2022

The work was commissioned for the project “Community in solitude. Socialization as post-analog practice” by WASP Studios (15.10.2021-15.11.2021) and it was also exhibited in 2022 at The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest, Galeria Aparte Iași and Art Encounters Foundation in Timișoara.

The installation takes its cues and expands on themes previously approached by Gabriela in her 2014 work “When I want to breathe fresh air, I open the window”. In it she explored methods of relating to nature inside our notorious concrete boxes, by starting from the simple gesture of opening the window. If that work’s main aim was that of understanding the relationship between apartment dwellers and their exterior, Around Back and Forth focuses instead on the subject’s relationship with their immediate interior surroundings (aka their home) and between themselves.

The restrictions imposed with the COVID pandemic (made official in Romania on March 1, 2020) left us with reduced options of leaving the apartment, al while technology evolved even more in the direction of allowing us to work from home, order food or pay for our utilities directly from our phones. All this translates into a life and immediate reality spent almost entirely inside.

The two artists, Gabriela and Andrei, approach not only the theme of living together in quarantine conditions and restriction of movement in the city, but also the processes by which isolation in a one room apartment in Bucharest has altered their work and artistic expressiveness. How has their relationship with the environment changed and what does it mean to live and explore anxieties (or develop others) in an extremely limited spatial setting?

The couple’s figures are cut on a transparent background projected on the floor, between the outlined map of their one-bedroom apartment, where they spent The Pandemy. The public can walk on their apartment and become part of the installation. Near the projection, a photograph of the building in front is printed on the wall, behind the curtain.

At the bottom of the curtain there is a lighted candle that tries to melt the wax walls of the apartment. The installation is a symbol of the outside, of the wait for the walls of our apartments to melt so that we can escape, as we walk, sleep, read, eat, in the confinement of our rooms, while looking at the outdoors through our window, which becomes a shrine to the Outside.