Electronic Drift

Waldemar A. Schmidt Gallery, Wartburg College
Waverly, IA
March 7th – April 3rd, 2022

Exhibition Summary – Text by Michaela Mullin
Tibi Chelcea has a Doctorate in Computer Science from Columbia University, holds several patents in electronic and digital design, and through making art, he continues to study the inheritance and memories of his Romanian heritage. He is a student of present and past—in that order. He is not nostalgic, however—his work is not about trying to hold onto, relive, or revere a past that has degraded. Because Chelcea knows there is no way to create a present without thought of progress, and without acknowledgment of what came before. It is called evolution; it is called technological advancement.
As a synthesis of engineering and design, Chelcea’s art incorporates ideas and actual parts of systems and the devices that (have) run them and their course; in his making, he underlines what iterative production is, though not by making things en masse but by showing difference in repetition. Chelcea aims to disrupt the processual expectation of mass production with his drawings, prints, paintings, installations, and embroidered circuit boards. In using obsolescence as a vehicle to create art that lasts, Chelcea documents and brilliantly narrates with a through line, a ‘current.’ The movement of a charge is ‘electrical drift.’ The movement of change creates “memory drift and experiential drift”—and, as Chelcea has titled his solo exhibit at the Waldemar A. Schmidt Gallery at Wartburg College, it has, through him, created: Electronic Drift.