Camil Mihăescu. Revelatio – the flowing of the spiral

   Curator: Maria Orosan-Telea

The theme of the spiral found its way into Camil Mihăescu’s art as a result of his spiritual interests. His reading of such authors as Marcus Aurelius, René Guénon, Ioan Petru Culianu and André Scrima contributed to his developing a personal system of thought that was later to become the foundation for his artistic endeavours. Consequently, despite the fact that the image of the spiral as found in a diversity of natural forms lends itself extremely well to being examined in close-up, what was happening here was not an instance of form-based beauty-for-beauty’s sake fascination.

The symbolic value of this  archetype and the history of the way it had been represented in different ages led Camil Mihăescu to appreciate the need for a detailed analysis, which he began in the 2011 series Revelatio – the anatomy of the spiral. In these works, the structure of snail shells was brought to light via dissection and macro scale photography in lighting conditions so precisely calculated that in some places the physical matter becomes transparent. The image provides a revelation of the anatomy of the entire natural form of the shell and also a revelation of the structure of matter, of the way in which it disposes itself.

Revelatio – the flowing lines of the spiral takes this approach further by starting out from photographic images that are similar to those in the first exhibition but now become the supporting framework for graphic interventions. On to the surfaces close to the spiral Mihăescu applies graphic elements in an almost suggestive way, ordering the composition in terms of the dominant presence of the spiral. For these graphic interventions he uses charcoal, white pastel and bronze pigment to produce the visual effect of emanations, of forces or energy vectors generated by the seemingly fragile body of the snail shell. He also works in gold leaf in different proportions, again confining the chromatic accents to a trio (black, white, golden) that references the alchemical principles of spiritual development (nigredo, albedo, rubedo). The technique, in absolutely no way a random one, becomes itself the bearer of the message.

In Revelatio Camil Mihăescu commits himself to a discourse concerned with penetrating to the essence of things. He does so from the position of an artist who is imbued with theories that go beyond the limits of rational knowledge. By so doing he exploits the visual potential of a formal typology that has been widely employed throughout the history of art yet has still not exhausted its potential. On to this symbol he projects his own methods for exploring the world around him. For the artist, the spiral is a dynamic, open form that illustrates the idea of development and transformation, of traveling a road that is cyclical but at the same time leads upwards.