Mihai Nicodim Gallery is pleased to announce the U.S. solo debut of Romanian artist Mihut Boscu Kafchin. In his 2002 novel ‘Breaking Open the Head’, Daniel Pinchbeck explores the division in contemporary Western opinion on the cultural role of psychedelics: either destructive tools for transgression or our only remaining connection to revelatory shamanism. His inquiry leads him down the conclusive path that these drugs whose historical intention were to expand the mind, to open consciousness, are now used with the animus to block or cap our inner selves.
"In contemporary life we do whatever we can to deny intuition of the invisible realms. We clog up our senses with smog, jam our minds with media overload. We drown ourselves in alcohol or medicate ourselves into rigidly artificial states with antidepressants. Then we take pride in our cynicism and detachment. Perhaps we are terrified to discover that our "rationality" is itself a kind of faith, an artifice, that beneath it lies the vast territory of the unknown." Daniel Pinchbeck, ‘Breaking Open The Head’, 2002
Mihut Kafchin’s work explores the changing role of altered consciousness as tool in the creative process – a role which has filtered through the sieve of sociologists like Pinchbeck and into the lore of pop-culture. From its viable cultural currency in the 1960’s to the more languorous and half-baked associations of the 1990’s, psychedelic’s complete immersion into the contemporary zeitgeist has now turned stale. Kafchin’ work (spanning painting, sculpture, video and installation) attempts to resuscitate the transformational and metamorphic elements of art-making by way of altered states.
The narratives, characters and arcs of his everexpanding practice are reflective of Kafchin’s meditative states, mediations which call upon questions similar to Pinchbeck. Kafchin’s work proffers a subjective sort of experimentation, one which leads with heart over head; unsentimental, the artist’s categorical approach proves more outsider than populist.
For Kafchin, the term ‘outsider’ holds an importance which is unattached to the word’s pejorative art world definition. There is no folk or whimsy, no diabolic rejection of Modernist themes, no signs of that illusive naiveté which comes from an assurance that an artist is free from storied source material. It is, in fact, the artist’s militaristic adherence, even obsession, with source material which informs a large majority of the work’s aesthetic. Though the history of Western art has historically turned its back on the Eastern Bloc, Kafchin’s ‘outsider’ status is less about cultural autobiography and more about a knowing rejection of trends in favor of a process based in alternative, introspective counter-histories. Whether based on a night terror or contact high, the world Kafchin portrays throughout his narratives comes from an alchemy which is based more deeply in pop apotheosis than any hallucinogen.
Mihut Boscu Kafchin (b.1986, Galati, Romania) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Recent exhibitions have included Immortals Have Fun (2013), Crystal Gallery, Stockholm, IIClouds (2013), Gaudel de Stampa Gallery, Paris, Expanded Painting (2013), Prague Biennial 6, Prague and ORIGINAL/COPY II (2012), Peles Empire, London.