In the Rosu installation Silvio Vujičić presents several objects that could be read in the key of red, and in terms of genre as self-portrait, although not, of course, in any literal and expected way.
This installation consists of a large curtain and several framed objects, writings and experiments with the red obtained from the cochineal insect.
The dye is obtained from the female of the cochineal beetle (Dactylopius coccus) that lives in Mexico on cacti of the genus Opuntia; for a kilo of the dye, more than 150,000 insects are required. In the colonial period, the insects were imported into Europe, where the recipe was kept as a secret until the 18th century. During history the dye was extremely important for Venice, where textiles dyed with it became a symbol of the power of kings and popes. Further symbolism is connected with war, power, love, fire, hell and sex. Today the dye, carmine, is often used in the cosmetic and food industries.
We earlier found Vujičić in scales of grey, white and black, and it is therefore interesting that the author should have very personally introduced into his work, with great semantic complexity, cochineal red, known in history as cardinal red or carmine. The artist reveals the personal dimension only to an extent. His mother’s surname is Romanian, Roşu, translated as red. On the one hand Silvio literally hangs red on the wall – in patterns of parts of his own body, dyed with cochineal and fixed with silicone (Head, Torso, Right arm, Left arm, Right leg, Left leg), and on the other hand the artist’s exploratory vein is framed, his tests and experiments with the insects from which this exceptional red, with its turbulent history and associations, is produced. In the centre of the space, between the pattern-Silvio and the framed tests and impaled insects, is the Roşu curtain, a frequent Vujičić motif that during the course of the exhibition changes its appearance via a programmed instrument that gradually colours it.
Colour here becomes a mediator of the artist’s thinking about cultural history, and the exhibited body (actually merely its shell) is deconstructed impaled with pins like the desiccated insects.
From the text about the Rosu series by Petra Vidović
Scientific associate: Stipica Tomić