Mental Arithmetics

Ovidiu Hulubei

21/09/2017 - 17/11/2017

Șelari 13, Bucharest, Romania

The only language that is not subject to interpretation is  mathematics. Our language was designed thousands of years ago, therefore it is inadequate and subject to interpretation. As long as there is a language that is subject to interpretation, there is going to be conflict.

The purpose of this research is Ovidiu Hulubei’s attempt to describe the insufficiencies of language and to explore plausible solutions to it. The development of languages was slow and took thousands of years of biological and social evolution, in order to attain the beginning of what we have today. The artist’s concern with language is not so much with how it evolved, rather with how it influences our relationships with other human beings and our natural habitat.

The project also explores the attitudes which are shaped by what we hear, say and read. We react to language in a complex manner and in multiple ways simultaneously, mainly mental, emotional, and behavioural. We call this semantic reactions. In order to reduce the reflex reactions to words we consider ‘bad,’ it would require our attention, so that we understand the speaker first.

Having reached a time that demands an investigation of all aspects of human affairs, the project looks at the evolution of language briefly, in order to emphasise how necessity, along with biological evolution, has brought about more and more effective communication for the events of the time. Then the artist focuses on an overview of General Semantics.

The vehicle of this research is a film based on the script of an autistic young adult, who is one of the artist’s students. Alongside the screening, the exhibition space features condensed scripts of two Shakespearian plays in emoticons, which the artist has produced using drawings by his students, as well as a face mask of the main actor of the film, all part of a larger installation exploring the connection between language as emotion and our private space.

Reading Material


Ovidiu Hulubei

Ovidiu Hulubei (born 1984, Romania), studied at the University of Art and Design, Cluj Napoca (RO), and currently lives and works in London.

His works and performance were presented in a number of solo and group exhibitions in Europe, among them: Train the muscle not the movement, Placentia Arte 2016 (solo); The Ballad of Peckham Rye, London, UK (2015); Performance no. 1, Clapham Orangery, Uk (2015) and The Waiting Room, Berlin (2014); The future must be sweet, Placentia Arte, 2013  (solo), Appropriation Beyond the Object, Banner Repeater, London (2013); Kant grapefruit M3, Konsthall Sweden (2012); Rituals, Platforma Space, MNAC Bucharest, Romania (2012); Possible futures, probable pasts, Fluid Gallery, Dusseldorf (2011).

He presented his video during several screenings, among others at the Museum Of Contemporary Art of Rosario (AR); Centre Pompidou, Paris; Triennale di Milano, MACRO Testaccio, Rome.