Scratching the Surface of Romanian Pornceptualism (II) – Virtual Reality by Maria Guţă

As I said in my previous story, I’m well aware Romanian pornceptualism has nothing to do with the homonym Berlin-based movement, nor is a movement itself. What I’m doing here is trying to identify local artists working at the junction between art and pornography.

I recently stumbled upon the work of Maria Guţă (stylized as Maria Guţă Guzzi Gucci or simply Maria Gucci). She’s a Bucharest born visual artist, specialized in photography, visual media and recently, VR installations.

In a video presentation published few months ago, she was recounting how it all started: “I was born in the early ‘80s in Romania, back in the days of Romanian dictatorship. Since very young, I developed a passion for the movies, in a period when seeing movies was quite a difficult thing to do, because of all the censorship”.

Maria studied Graphic Design in Romania and in 2015 completed her Master’s Degree in Art Direction in Switzerland, where she’s currently as art director for World VR Forum.

This gave her a boost into Virtual Reality industry and she even started using it as a tool and environment for her art installations. It was only a matter of time until 2016 when, during the group exhibition Custom Paradise hosted by Berlin-based gallery SomoS, Maria finally revealed POV VR XXX – a VR installation created in collaboration with Stéphane Morey and commissioned by POV Paper. A “a first of a kind experience from several points of view”. [source]

“I had never before dealt with porn nor VR in my practice, so it was quite a challenge and a revelation at the same time. And when I say revelation I mostly refer to the VR part”, she said about it [source]. She also described the process as “simulating someone’s point of view”, “inhabiting other bodies” and “out of body experience”.

“I’ve always been attracted by identity related topics […] walking the line between role playing and virtual identities”.

Maria Guţă’s installations were exhibited worldwide since, from Tokyo to Berlin, from Paris to Milan, from Zurich to Bucharest. She often delivers speeches on how art can and is strongly connected to porn and virtual reality, if we’re open-minded enough to accept it.

In a presentation for SHAPE platform, hosted by Rokolectiv about a year ago, the artist spoke again about her POV project. “The four characters I created, together with their four corresponding fantasies were as many reasons for me (and implicitly for the audience) to try different skins, genders or sexual orientations”. [source]

Maria has always been fascinated by immersing herself into virtual realities (via her parents’ library, rich in filmmaking and cinema books). It appears that she can now finally explore it freely and pulling us into it in the process. She revolutionizes the way we perceive art and she shows us the way nowadays’ instruments propagate it.

The resources, the ways we could use technology to bring our demons to life, are virtually unlimited. “We are simultaneously the authors and the actors of our cyber-identities”.

Check Maria’s website for more.

Photos: Larissa Kasper / Still from POV VR XXX / Maria Guţă

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Romanian self-taught writer, based in Cyprus, interested in contemporary art, unconventional culture and gonzo journalism. Writing for almost a decade, he is agnostic, supports a censorship-free society and reads way less than he wants.

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