A magical forest world is the last thing you expect to find as you make your way through the industrial setting that houses Galeria Plan B. Yet, nestled behind the gallery’s front door, the mystic realm that is Adrian Ganea’s ‘Ghost Trade’ becomes a reality. With an extensive background in scenography for theatre and performance, the Romanian-born artist sets the stage for an enchanting musical dialogue between a cast of uncanny tree-like creatures.
Beginning in true theatrical fashion, the lights are cut, and a brief moment of silence pervades. A stillness seeps into the room, permeating the space with a creeping sense of suspense. After what feels like an eternity, a black and white film flickers on, and the performance is set in motion. ‘Young tree vomiting demonstrating lamentation’ (2021)–a short 3D animation video— provides the ultimate prologue and sets an unexpected, if not sinister, tone. Crawling through the charred remnants of a once densely wooded land, your initial uncertainty does not falter. Like peeping through the bushes, dark branches line the edges of the shot and give the impression you are watching in secret. A stirring melody begins to play from somewhere in the distance. You edge further into the forest, soon to discover the source of this unknown sound. The first of Ganea’s tree-like creatures stands alone in the forest clearing. From its mouth flows a bright stream of light, and with a bow in one hand, it plays this flowing stream like a cello. A classical melody floats into the air and melts into the surrounding space. Accompanied by the lingering sense of observing this performance clandestine, its lasting impression is unsettling, if not ominous.
As the cellist takes its leave, the second voice in this musical discourse takes to the stage for the next act. No longer held back by the confines of the virtual world, the figure, known as ‘Ghost’ (2021), sits to one side of the room. Though taking on the textual form of bark, the creature retains an unnatural, human-like form. With one leg propped up on the other, it sits at ease, untroubled by its spectators. Reminiscent of a spaghetti western, a lingering tune begins to play from its guitar. As though playing on its own accord, its hand moves up and down the neck of the guitar with each changing cord. While the figure sits physically before you, spiritually, it appears elsewhere, staring off into the distance as it answers the haunting calls of its predecessor. Mirroring its title, it inhabits a netherworld, incapable of fully reentering that of our own, and its wistful playing epitomises a longing for such a return.
Having the final say, a third figure now joins the conversation from the other side of the room. Slumped against the wall, ‘Orpheus’ (2022) looks tired. Yet as it begins to play from its lyre-like instrument, vitality begins to flow into its drooping limbs. Like the Greek prophet Orpheus in the land of the dead, the figure charms you with his virtuosic abilities. With nimble yet melancholic intonation, it presents a poetic epilogue to a pensive interaction between separated souls lost in a world far from our own. Written by Nadia Egan.