Sign not in Use (2019)
There is a sign of irony in the entire room "Sign not in use" says the sign, thereby negating its own purpose. It we are not useful...are we still something? Do we even exist if our purpose has vanished? Is art something that exists?
Dominic Virtosu chooses to speak about the mundane, the unseen daily simplicity of the craft. Those moments that make-up most of life: The tasks that repeat themselves, the gestures of habit, the gestures that lead to mastery and performance. All the hours lost to eternity in order to become more capable.
The artists’ lens focuses on this cold, make-shift rehearsal studio, where a group of ballerinas is seen working. Our eye is directed, with a long focal view, on a sign that says: “Sign not in Use” – to signify the uselessness of it all and its major importance at the same time.
The ballerinas work, unphased by our observation, they have more important stuff to do.
A green, derelict, hangar, sets the atmosphere of the entire work: its functional aspect comes into contrast with the elegance and grace that the dancers exude. You could almost imagine some worker passing by in the background with a forklift carrying a pallet of powdered milk or flour while the artistic practice takes place in the front for our privileged eyes.
This reveal of the banality of art in the context of life is the turning point of the story, where Dominic Virtosu inserts a poignant social commentary by showing us the ballerinas dressed up for the stage: they are professionals and will perform majestically in every context. This makes them rise above the surroundings – and lifting their surroundings’ condition too – the message is that culture lifts the spirit.
Dominic-Petru Virtosu was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1983. He completed his formal artistic education with a License in painting (2006) class of renowned Romanian artist Florin Ciubotaru and a Master’s in 2013 with professor Catalin Balescu at the Bucharest National University of Arts; also attending a semester as an Erasmus exchange student at the prestigious Hochschule fur Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig where he was guided by the style and color of his professor, Annette Schroter.
The artists’ German High-school education proved to be a founding element for his work-ethic and discipline – this led to him continuously developing his artistic practice even through 10 years of employment within the tourism and audio-visual industry of Romania. Works created between 2009-2013, while the artist was employed at the biggest private television conglomerate of Romania, are a strong testimony of this effort: to question his environment and society’s consumerist tendencies in a broader sense.
After 2013, his focus shifted towards integrating the paradox of image representation vs. pure painting – an essential pathway for Virtosu’s development. His style merged the two directions into an organic vivid mix in which color and subject matter are unified and produce an exceptionally powerful image. Each work thus becomes its own unique path and requires its own technical solutions – both plein-air and works of fantasy became unified in style.
Dominic-Petru Virtosu’s French heritage also played a part in creating a strong connection to the cultural and artistic environment of Paris at a young age. His travels to the capital of France for extended periods of time where the most relevant and prestigious museums and exhibitions of the time were readily accessible prompted the artists’ curiosity and stimulated his artistic eye at a young age. His French legacy and fluency in the French language also helped the artist secure a scholarship at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing in France where he studied art-teaching in 2017-2018; thereafter being employed as a painting professor at this same university to this present day.