Philadelphia Museum of Art Biography: Romanian Artist Mircea Cantor

still alive

still alive

Reagan Wish

Are you a cool kid? Do you wear cool clothes and say cool things, like “I’m not dead yet” and “live fast die young?” Are you potentially a little too morbid, but enjoy the general aesthetic of your dark humor? If the answer is yes to any of these, then you obviously have to relate to cool art. It just follows. Lucky for you, I have the perfect piece in mind. 

This week’s spotlight is on the super cool installation piece “I 6M STIL7 ALIV3.” Painted directly on the wall of the PMA, this alien-eyed silhouette exudes the edgy, slightly apathetic vibe that so many of us posture on Instagram. The text, interspersed with numbers, states boldly, “I AM STILL ALIVE.” Installed by Romanian artist Mircea Cantor, who loves to play with language in his work, this piece has been reminding visitors of their otherness since 2004. 

It’s a cool one because it can be enjoyed on a ton of levels. Like graffiti, it’s simple, distinct and informal—you can check it out aesthetically, as a cool background for an edgy Instagram post. On the other hand, it’s on brand with Cantor’s general body of work, engaging with the idea of presence and identity in the digital age: “I am still alive”—are you? Who the “I” is remains unclear, but it could reference anything from the creator to aliens to the idea of art in general. 

However you want to engage with it, you’re still a cool kid. Go have a cool conversation about it in Gallery 178 on the first floor!