In gaming terminology, a sidequest is a quest given to the player that has no direct bearing on the main story of the game. The detour often involves handling items otherwise unavailable, objects that escape the main narrative, but may bring benefits to the player. The paths that bring non linear structure to an otherwise linear story, oblige the player to take a closer look at the things inhabiting the fictional world.
Many fantasy quests involve tedious tasks, such as delivering goods, recovering an item, searching for a lost treasure, gathering a number of non-essential things. Far from being a distraction, the stories involving these objects actually enrich the worldbuilding of the game, describing a layered and entangled world where different narratives can coexist.
Looking closer at non-essential objects that escape the grand narratives has historically been the domain of still life paintings. Also called nature morte in French, literally “dead nature”, the careful arrangements of foods, valuables, or personal belongings create visual narratives that demand contemplation, and transform the intimacy of everyday items into stories about the artists' universe.
How do artists today use this rich history and artistic processes of studying objects and perfecting compositions and can still life be a way of framing metaphors for our current situation of a world of dying nature?
(b. 1990) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca. Her practice involves primarily painting, collage, objects, and installations. Her works have been shown in spaces like The Paintbrush Factory or Aici Acolo in Cluj-Napoca, Centrul Artelor Vizuale Multimedia or Bucharest, and Fort Delta Gallery Melbourne. She is a co-founder of Superliquidato, an alternative art space active between 2014-2017.
(b. 1988) lives and works between Rome, Italy and Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His practice focuses on data de/recontextualization, with work ranging from installation and video to print and painting. The artist’s work has been exhibited in venues such as: Nicodim Gallery, Bucharest; Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara; Athens Digital Art Festival, Greece; Liste Art Fair, Basel.
(b. 1989) is an artist and set designer who lives and works in Cluj-Napoca. His practice ranges from designing scenography to programming 3D simulations and composing videos. In his work, he aims to enact the production of fiction, often reflecting on its increasing automation.