The body bizarre: exploring uncanny human renderings and more from Dani Macovei

Romanian artist Dani Macovei discusses his fascinating digital practice with STIR, exploring his motivations in the process.

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Apr 29, 2022

Strange forms that teeter at the brink of recognition. Faces melding into aqueous material. Mineral bodies that dance to a beat all their own. These are but some of the fascinating, and perhaps disparate elements one is likely to encounter when engaging with the creative fruits of Dani Macovei. And yet, there is a certain ephemerality that binds together the parts that make up the whole. The artist’s work, in many ways, seems to be his and his alone, with Macovei content not to reproduce the styles and motifs of any particular movement or artistic culture. Discussing this, he tells STIR, “I don't really have a message in my work as it is not at all conceptual, but rather, beyond concept. I am very interested in the abstract, and in the emotion, an abstract element can trigger. It is more about creating new ways of understanding art than of following standard recipes.” However, there are certainly elements in his work that Macovei is highly preoccupied with. He continues, saying “I am interested in the quality of an image rather than anything else” and it certainly shows: that his work is sleek, smooth and consummately textured.

Rotate, 2020, CGI, variable dimensions, Dani Macovei | STIRworld
Rotate, 2020, CGI, variable dimensions Image: Courtesy of Dani Macovei

The digital artist is somewhat reserved when discussing his process, and says this much, and no more: “Technically speaking, my process starts from learning new mathematical ways of expressing functions, and then trying to manipulate them towards my own taste and pleasure. I love working with Houdini as it allows you to speculate as much as your brain can dream of… and even further beyond than that!” Macovei’s work possesses a certain rawness to it, despite its finesse. And therein lies its charm: it is very literally a product of the artist’s subconscious; constantly churned in pursuit of new abstractions. Some of his human renderings are particularly compelling, and can sometimes be quite frightening as well. When asked to comment on this, the artist says, “For me, they are not at all frightening. In fact, I see them as being quite juicy, but when I showed them to my mum she did say they were gross, ha-ha! I guess this goes back to the point I was trying to make earlier, that for me, the beauty is in the quality of the image rather than the narrative or concept as such.”

Liberosis, 2021, etching, CGI, Dani Macovei | STIRworld
Liberosis, 2021, etching, CGI Image: Courtesy of Dani Macovei

Thinking back to his childhood, Macovei tells STIR that he is Londoner, who was born in Romania. He continues, “I started drawing when I was in kindergarten, and that's when my parents were advised to enrol me into an art school, which is something you could do starting from the first grade in my home town. It was then that I started painting, which I pursued for the next 12 years continuously. I then continued my studies at the art high school in Bucharest, where along with painting, I also studied sculpture and started experimenting with mixed media. I also developed an interest in street art.” After high school, the artist spent a short amount of time in Paris, before he moved to London, where he would study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. He explains that he has effectively pursued art his whole life.

Untitled 1, 2020, CGI, Dani Macovei | STIRworld
Untitled 1, 2020, CGI Image: Courtesy of Dani Macovei

When asked about the practitioners that are near and dear to his heart, Macovei tells, “The artists who inspired me the most are Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Dali, Picasso, Richard Serra, Olafur Eliasson, Ryoji Ikeda, and the list goes on and on.” But perhaps this was a silly question, as Macovei’s work is quite certainly his own, and borrows very little, if at all, from any of the names listed here. The visual artist has a rather fascinating perspective on artistry. “Historically speaking, digital art is just a new current in art, similar to Impressionism or conceptual art. Computers are just new tools through which we can express new ideas. Digital art is free, and of course, if you are keen to own it, you can buy it as an NFT, but that's economics, not art. The point of digital art is to go on the internet and watch new perspectives and fresh ideas being born. The fact that anyone can share practice instantly from anywhere around the world without paying anything makes the current times the best era for art so far!" he tells SITR. The artist adds that he enjoys spending time with his computers, and often finds himself searching for new technologies that will allow him to create beautiful images and engaging perspectives. He finds it heartwarming that he is able to inspire others through the work he posts online.

01 min watch Humans, 2020, video, Dani Macovei | STIRworld
Humans, 2020, video Video: Courtesy of Dani Macovei

Macovei is the Founder and Director of Posthuman Studios, which was started two years ago, through a continuation of his freelance work as a digital artist and designer working in London. He views it as a great way for him to extend his art and his ideas into the advertising industry. He says, “My goal for the studio is to build a community of like-minded and talented artists and designers, in order to push the boundaries of arts and design further using the resources that commercial projects can provide.” Thinking a moment, he adds, “I personally see no difference between a good commercial project and a good art project - they can be equally fulfilling.” Macovei is deeply involved with Posthuman Studios, and has even eschewed post-pandemic exhibition opportunities in favour of building its community.

Portrait of Dani Macovei | STIRworld
Artist Dani Macovei Image: Courtesy of Dani Macovei

Macovei closes his interview with STIR by discussing his upcoming plans: he mentions that he is considering entering the Metaverse as “the internet and platforms like Instagram, etc. have been the best places to show your art so far, and the NFT market is a welcome addition. I prefer these over conventional spaces like galleries, museums, etc., so I will continue building this online presence as much as possible. Also, in the future, it would be really nice to create some experiential installations, even though I am not focusing on that at the moment.” One will surely wish Macovei the very best in his future endeavours and hope to see more compelling visual art from him.

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