CALEA RATACITA
sau "A TE PIERDE PENTRU A TE REGASI"

Pliniu -"labirinturile sunt cele mai curioase opere cu care s-a obosit omenirea".

Omul nu poate trai fara sa-si construiasca un spatiu sacru, un CENTRU. Aceasta este de fapt dorinta nestinsa a omului de a fi transportat in "centrul lumii", in inima realitatii ultime, de a depasi intr-un mod natural conditia umana si de a recâstiga conditia divina (visul paradisului pierdut).

"Calea Ratacita"- denumirea profund romaneasca a ceea ce occidentalii numesc "labirint".
Expozitia este o încercare de reactualizare a actului initiatic, a demersului de descifrare a sinelui si a misterelor ce ne înconjoara; un exercitiu de dezlegare a unui nod.
Ca in orice act de cunoastere, singuri cu noi însine, avem de depasit obstacole, de pasit praguri, de ales drumul care ni se potriveste din cele câteva ce se deschid in fata noastra la un moment dat.

Facultatea cea mai înalta, cea mai plina de raspundere si cea mai apasatoare a omului modern, a sufletului care vrea sa fie liber, este facultatea alegerii.
Pentru calatorul care patrunde in labirint, scopul este de a ajunge la camera centrala, la cripta misterelor. Dar dupa ce a ajuns acolo el trebuie sa revina in lumea exterioara, adica sa parvina la o noua nastere.
In centru se desfasoara lupta dintre principiul Vietii si cel al Mortii, care sunt inseparabile; trebuie sa mori ca sa renasti, fie ca e vorba de moartea reala sau de cea simbolica. Exista o continuitate dinamica "viata -moarte -viata".
Instalatia este animata prin participarea fiecaruia dintre noi (cu bagajul sau interior de sentimente, cunostinte, amintiri; cu soarta, norocul si inspiratia sa), la actul de cautare, de metamorfozare.
Prezenta celor patru elemente (pamântul, apa, focul, aerul) imprima ansamblului un sens primordial, ancestral, totodata încadrând demersul artistic intr-un timp etern-mitic.
Fiecare dintre noi pendulam in a gasi un ECHILIBRU, similar cu cel al Creatiei Universale.
"Calea Ratacita" evoca deopotriva chinurile infernului, dar si locul in care se va savârsi iluminarea. Este o experienta pe care o traiesc câtiva alesi, dar care priveste (intereseaza) întreaga umanitate.
Calatoria obstaculata este una din temele fundamentale ale legendelor din toate timpurile si locurile.

Calatoria - Este un simbol al cautarii, descoperirii, initierii, perfectionarii, cunoasterii.
Calatoria reprezinta adesea desprinderea de un centru sau cautarea unui centru fiind astfel o devenire spirituala. Este expresia dorintei profunde de schimbare si de cautare a unui tezaur (material sau spiritual).Cea mai dificila calatorie e cautarea adevarului.

Drumul - îngemaneaza simbolul liniei, legaturii, accesului cu cel al miscarii în timp, cu toate întâmplarile previzibile sau imprevizibile ale calatoriei.
Este asociat cunoasterii, initierii, transformarii, destinului.

Pragul - marcheaza trecerea dintr-un spatiu în altul, într-o noua faza a existentei. Poate fi o trecere dintr-un spatiu profan în unul sacru.

Rascrucea - de simbolistica rascrucii (3 drumuri) este legat motivul alegerii sortii, a drumului "celui bun". Eroul are nevoie de un toiag, o desaga câteva obiecte apotropaice -sare, pâine, cutit, usturoi, ceapa, etc- pentru a putea parcurge calea.

Pamântul - este asociat cu pântecul matern, este stihie a fecunditatii si regenerarii.
Substanta htoniana e adesea sinonima cu materia prima, separata de apele oceanului primordial, din acest motiv i se atribuie puteri regenerative. Însusirea de a da si de a primi totul înapoi o înscrie într-un vesnic circuit al naturii si vietii, nastere, crestere, decrepitudine si moarte.

Apa - substanta primordiala din care iau nastere toate formele si în care ele revin prin regresiune. E un simbol al inconstantei si perisabilitatii formelor si al scurgerii neîncetate a timpului. Apele primordiale contineau în ele germenii vietii.

Aerul - în mentalitatea daco-românilor de stihiile aerului se leaga notiunea de suflet, asociat cu suflarea umana. Prana -elementul vital, forta de viata, continutul esential al aerului.

Focul - simbolizeaza viata, puterea creatoare, pasiunea, dragostea, purificarea, dar si puterea distructiva.

Aluatul - este simbolul zamislirii, al materiei aflate într-o faza de trecere. Semnifica posibilitatile viitoare, trecerea de la un stadiu nediferentiat, primar, la o calitate superioara.

Pâinea - e privita ca un aliment spiritual si ca dar nepretuit al cerului. Este prezenta la toate mesele rituale si în toate misterele patronate de divinitatile vegetatiei.


"Calea ratacita", cea mai recenta etapa din proiectul dedicat labirintului de tânara artista ieseana Draga-Irina Popa, este un ambient de o expresie spatiala minimalista, care integreaza un discurs temporal - patru minute de înregistrare video - la rândul sau de o maxima simplitate a articularii. Complexitatea se situeaza în totalitatea evenimentului-ambient la nivelul referintei.
Versiunea labirintica a Dragai-Irina Popa nu este una descendenta. Nu este o cufundare în tenebre, ci, în mod paradoxal un traseu ascensional. El pastreaza din sensul labirintic ideea caii obstaculate, si, mai ales, caracterul initiatic.
Remarcabil este, pentru tânara artista, modul profund de a comunica cu cultura taraneasca, dincolo de comentariul motivelor sale simbolice. Ea pastreaza acel mod de raportare la somptuosul patrimoniu al civilizatiilor citadine culte, cu mijloacele simple, aproape de universul natural, perisabile într-un firesc al naturalitatii, dar de o frumusete texturala extrem de bine pusa în valoare.
In ansamblu, proiectul artistei iesene este un discurs despre puritate si simplitate -calitatile eroului care trece probele initiatice în basmul popular."
Alexandra Titu, critic de arta

"Draga- Irina Popa a propus meditatiei noastre un labirint ale carui drumuri nesfirsite, marcate de momentele semnificative ale vietii umane, revendicate de spiritualitatea cea mai putin vulnerabila a traditiei romanesti, duc spre misterul central, ce urmeaza a fi descoperit de fiecare pelerin. Trecerea pragului acestui spatiu meditativ, in care apa, pamintul, cerul, viata, moartea, timpul, cuvintul se transsubstantializeaza in forme impregnate de sacralitatea comportamentului generator de semnificatii, este, in esenta, un pelerinaj intre repere culturale vitale, a carui capacitate de transfigurare este in functie de sensibilitatea si puterea trairilor fiecarui pelerin."

Cotidianul "Monitorul", 29 noiembrie 2001

THE LOST PATH
OR "LOSING YOURSELF IN ORDER TO FIND YOURSELF"

Pliny - "labyrinths are the strangest works humankind ever bothered to create".

Man cannot live without building a sacred space, a CENTER. This represents in fact man's desire to be transported to the center of the world, in the middle of the ultimate reality, to transcend his human condition and to attain the divine condition (the dream of the lost paradise).

"The lost path" - the genuine Romanian name for the Western "labyrinth".
The exhibition is an attempt to actualize the initiating act, the self and surrounding mysteries deciphering approach, a knot -untying exercise.
As in any knowledge act, alone with ourselves, we have to overcome obstacles, to cross thresholds , to choose the path that suits us, out of the few before us, at a certain moment in time.
The most important ability, the ability that holds the largest responsibility and concern for the modern man, for the soul that wants to be free, is the ability to choose.
For the traveler who enters the labyrinth, the purpose is to reach the central room, the crypt of mysteries. But once there, he has to come back to the outer world, that is to be born again.
In the center takes place the combat between the principles of Life and Death, that are inseparable; one has to die to be born again, and this process implies either the real or the symbolical death. There is a dynamic continuity : life - death - life.
The relationship is animated by the participation of each of us (with our feelings, knowledge, memories, with our fates, luck and inspiration), in the quest and metamorphosis acts.
The presence of the four elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air) gives the whole a primordial ancestral meaning, integrating the artistic approach to an eternal - mythical time frame.
Everyone of us is oscillating in order to find a BALANCE, similar to the one of the Universal Creation. The Lost Path evokes both the hellish torments and the place of illumination. It is an experience that is to be lived by a Chosen few, but that concerns humankind as a whole.
The hindered journey is one of the fundamental subjects of the legends all over the world, and of all times.


The journey - is a symbol of quest, discovery, initiation, perfection, knowledge. The journey often represents the detachment from the center or the quest for a center, thus being converted to a spiritual becoming. Is the expression of the deep desire for a change and the quest for a treasure (either material or spiritual). The most difficult journey is the quest for the truth.

The path - combines the symbol of the line, of the link and of the access, to that of the movement in time, with all the predictable or unpredictable events related to the journey. Is usually associated to knowledge, initiation, transformation or destiny.

The threshold - marks the passage one space to another, in a new phase of existence . It can be a passage from a pagan to a sacred space.

The crossroad- the crossroad symbolism (3 paths) is linked to the motif of the fate choice, of the "good" road. The hero needs a stick and a pouch with charm objects - bread, salt, knife, garlic, onion - in order to walk the path.

The earth - associated to the womb, is a spirit of fecundity and regeneration.
The chtonian substance is often viewed as a synonym for the raw material, separated by the waters of the primordial ocean, and therefore regenerative properties were associated to it. The property to give and to receive it all back situates it in an eternal circuit of nature and life , birth, growth, decrepitude and death.

The water - the primordial substance from which all forms are born and into which they come back by regression. It is a symbol of inconstancy, of form perishability and of the endless flow of time. The primordial waters contained in them the germs of life.

The air - in the Dacians' mentality, the air elements are connected with the notion of soul, associated with human breath. Prana - the vital element, the life force, the essential content of the air.

The fire - symbolizes life, creative power, passion, love, purification, but also the destructive power.

The dough - is the symbol of creation, of matter in a state of passage. It signifies future possibilities, the passage from a non-differentiated, primary stage to a superior quality.

The bread - is looked at as a spiritual aliment and as a priceless gift of the sun. It is present at all ritual meals and in all the mysteries governed by the divinities of vegetation.


""The lost path", the most recent stage from the labyrinth-dedicated project belonging to the young artist form Iasi, Draga-Irina Popa, is an ambient of a minimalist spatial expression, which integrates a temporal speech - four minutes of video recording - of a maximum simplicity of articulation. The complexity is situated in the totality of the ambient-event at the level of the reference point.
Draga-Irina Popa's labyrinthine version is not a descendant one. It is not an immersion in the darkness, but paradoxically an ascendant trajectory. It keeps from the labyrinthine sense the idea of the hindered path, and especially the initiating character.
It is remarkable that, for the young artist, the profound manner of communicating with the folk culture, beyond the commentary of her symbolic motifs. She keeps the relational method mode to the sumptuous patrimony of cult urban civilizations, with simple means, close to the natural universe, perishable in a very natural way, but of an extremely well used textural beauty.
Over all, the project of the artist from Iasi is a discourse about purity and simplicity - the qualities of the hero that passes through the initiating tests in the folk tale"

Alexandru Titu, art critic


"Draga-Irina Popa has proposed to our meditation a labyrinth the endless alleys of which, marked by the significant moments of human life, adjudicated by the least vulnerable spirituality of the Romanian tradition, lead towards the central mystery, that is to be discovered by each pilgrim. The passage of the threshold of this meditative space, in which water, earth, sky, life, death, time, word, are transubstantiated in forms impregnated by the sacredness of the significance-generating behavior, is, in essence, a pilgrimage between vital cultural reference points, whose transfiguration capacity depends on the sensitivity and power of each pilgrim's emotions"

"Monitorul" daily, November 29th 2001