MIHUȚ BOȘCU KAFCHIN
Fraction of lightnings, plants, and synapses
January 16th - February 28th, 2015
Special thanks to Mihaela Buhaev, Vasile Cătărău, George Crîngașu,
Dabóczi Géza, Dragoș Gherasim, Andrei Jecza, Emilian Mocanu,
Cristian Opriș and Raoul Weiss for their contribution to this show.
The second week of Creation
Since my earliest childhood, I felt the desire to crawl, at least once in my lifetime, down into the unconscious belly of the Earth, and to visit those caves filled by our ancestors with visionary drawings of magical animal symbols. Unfortunately, in the meantime, profane visitors where banned from such explorations, so that I am not allowed to witness the magical rite through which mankind was born to a new creative life, and I will never be initiated in the mystery of our ancestors’ paleo-hallucinations and mental transgressions.
Well, don’t worry, be happy, since, for the time being, one is still allowed to contemplate Mihuţ Boşcu Kafchin’s works, and to thus compensate the missing caves by watching contemporary cave drawings, as any self-conscious hunter Egonaut would do. Here, surrounded by the whiteness of the walls – as aseptically white as Frankenstein’s brand-new laboratory, or the offices of the Central Plan of Being – we are invited to a self-identifying excursion. As for the rites, we will have to perform them ourselves. And, out of these unreal, delirious signs, to reckon and recount first the ontological questions of our humanity, and then our own ego-eschatology.
This is a futuristic cave art, with its own pseudo-magical, in and out initiating sign system, as mastered by the techno-shaman Mihuţ Boşcu Kafchin. While the actual cave paintings are the most patent proofs of the humanization of man, and bear bona fide witness of self-consciousness and creativity rising in the dawn of mankind, Boşcu’s wall drawings tell us the epos of a possible metamorphosis of contemporary man, of his molting into a “metaphysical robot”. We shall not be misled by the lucid neon lamps used instead of torches and by the plain surfaces replacing the uneven karst wall. This is where the project of the future man is developed, in such offices and laboratories. Boşcu dreamt of a contemporary initiation chamber where we could reformulate our own humanity. He is not dealing with the natural birth or rebirth of mankind, but with the messy mixing and casting of the world into mankind, with all the necessary cosmic and alchemic ingredients. Just for us, he envisions the graffiti of a personal cosmogony. In the Sistine Chapel of Rome, we are taught the creation of the world and mankind according to Judeo-Christian traditions. Boşcu tells us the story of a parallel, alternative myth of creation, as if quoting from some contemporary apocryphic Bible. As a matter of fact, he feeds on the jumbled collective consciousness of today’s mankind, projecting the mental residues and infantile imaginations of the globalized world (also known as the civilization of death) in front of our eyes. This is the raw material out of which he fabricates a personal mythology, a home-made cosmogony and creationism, in which humanoids of the late modern age, in their desperate dissatisfaction, strive - as they are lacking any better method - to re-engineer themselves in the unmanned plants of the subconscious. Homunculus production out of mental disjecta. Mihuţ Boşcu Kafchin demystifies the fetishes of modernism, its mental topoi, the horrible brain-miscarriages of the 20th century. He reveals the mutant life-phantasmagorias of contemporary mankind to us.
So far, he did his best to anoint (with linseed oil) those itchy postmodern pustules, tormented fixed ideas, and excruciating visual eczemas of mankind immersed into the Future, into the brave new world; now he sprinkles them with coal dust, while also welding an iron cradle for them. This will be the rock-a-bye iron cradle of the future’s man, the half-complete chassis of a gyroscope levitation device, which the coming metaphysical robot will use to jettison himself from the Earth’s gravity, though only in his physical being. Analogue allusion to the ruins of modernism and their techno-utopian promises. Under such circumstances, I am afraid that only the flying carpets from Thousand and One Nights shall be able to provide our daily dose of hang-gliding from now on.
Surrounded by the graffiti of this futuristic wormhole, we burst with a cosmic fear of a rare type, no matter how hard the artist has tried to fill the declension of his lines with playful irony. Diving in his story, we risk becoming kafchinopithecus ourselves. We may gain an insight into world-phantom still in its casting jar, see the mysterious rising of primordial elements, whilst the soul of the world, taking the form of thunder, splits into matter and spirit, and its breath gives birth to anti-matter, fractals, neurons, and other strange stuff. Over there, the lamp djinn of primeval lights knots the chain of his own DNA, while another muscle-djinn, who happens to be also the owner of the Time Calipers, films the pre-existent construction of his body. The wave-generator/transformer of the present moment feeds into a dimension gate. Cosmogony’s accessories all around. To bring the metaphysical robot to life, the waves of godlike magnetism are not less needed than its cosmochemist, the casting-master-in-chief. The primordial breath is eager to invest matter, to flow into the casting mold, into human dimension. But what kind of rites will be needed to finally achieve artificial intelligence? What kind of warlock would be able to insufflate both fear of death and conscience of eternity into it? Every single living cell hoards the evolutionary necessity of three and a half billion years, along with the conscience of fatality, within itself. So where shall our conscience find its dwelling? Will we ever be able to develop a collective subconscious for machines? Isn’t the rational mind, in its own way, another kind of artificial finding? Would imagination resolve itself into the last fortress of human conscience?
Boşcu does not draw decisions or answers, only questions. He is looking for the wisdom hidden in the egg out of which a new life, a new world might be born. He is actually tussling with an eternal philosophical question: defining oneself and fathoming our humanity. Who, what is a man, what is he made of, how has he appeared, who created him, and how does he create himself further? Gauguin may have dealt with similar questions while painting an exotic world reminiscent of the Golden Age and placing the man-after-the-fall-from-Grace in the midst of it. “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” As we all know, the introduction to art nostalgia and ontological problems is one of the lucky achievements of the Romantic movement. Would this mean that Boşcu is a postmodern romantic, with his characteristic overtone of self-irony? His coal lines might be as well frescoes on the Frankenstein walls of contemporary genetic laboratories, on which he pries into similar questions, or even into sharper ones. What are we bound to become in the middle of the madness of technical civilization, as our world-devouring dreams assault the laws of nature and universe? Contemporary Western man has already trespassed beyond religious and social utopias, but remains unable to cope with the false paradise of technique. Boşcu permits us a brief glimpse of what we might become. This is the belonging of today’s man, which he hides even from his own eyes: becoming a biorobot, a homunculus.
Rambling in reverie, covered by coal dust, through these phantasmagorias (also present in the visions of sci-fi writers), here and now we finally get a chance to disenchant with the consensual hallucination. Mostly unconsciously, Boșcu makes all possible: to initiate us out of the idea of contemporary man, out of his soiled Weltanschauung, in one word – he brings us out of the pollution of being. Of course, he ironically assigns his tales to the world of infantile lore and fancy phantasms. And yet, to my childish question: – Could the homunculus-manufacturing and artificial intelligence become reality after all? He answers with the self-assurance of a sleep-walking determinist: – Impossible: it lacks the mystical valence; should we manage to do it in spite of this, then that would mean that it was meant to be. Thus, two souls dwell in him: according to the first, it is the creating power of our imagination which determines the course of evolution; while the second leaves the created world in the hands of external, unknown, fatalist factors.
Now, that’s something of an endogamous and torn apart eschatology! This would be enough to make him, even in spite of his own will, one of the main sentinels of the remaining mankind’s self-irony.
And, as our prehistoric ancestors did, we can be pretty sure that Kafchin will be repainting his images once in a while over the 40.000 years to come.
[translated from Hungarian by Raoul Weiss]
photo credit: Lucian Indrei