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Lilly Project • Cristian Răduță • Tara - Transgress the limits • The Bureau of Melodramatic Research

artclue Eastern Europe Art Magazine

summer 2011

a: Irina Bote of a t n e m t c a Re-en ry o t s i h e v i t subjec brila

oli • Do c a r i m e e t • Patricia Vita, mor s e s u a C g Curatin e PAST h t g Denegri – n i s s a u: Tresp c s e r o d o e erything T v e e v a h e r: W ague, r • Petr Vale P , o i k o T ari: • Tets Ohn Bucharest ArtClue www.artclue.net


ArtClue Eastern Europe Art Magazine

On the cover: Igor Bosnjak, Bosnian Moon

Editors-in-chief Silvia Pintilie, Adriana Toma

Layout & DTP Constantin Nimigean

Senior editors Elena Andrei, Cătălina Coșoiu

Illustrations Florin Pantilimon

Collaborators Silvia Pintilie, Elena Andrei, Cătălina Coșoiu, Victor Gingiu, Iulian Mureșanu

Partnerships & Marketing: Adriana Căpraru

Diana Dochia, Olivia Nițis, Simona Vilău, Petr Valer, Adriana Oprea, Andrei Crăciun, Dan Mircea Cipariu Translators Laura Albu, Andreea Drăguleasa, Silvia Pintilie Professional translation services were kindly provided by Stylish Translations.

Project Coordinator Adriana Căpraru http://www.artclue.net contact@artclue.net All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form without permission from the publishers. © ArtClue, 2011


New media, past and present

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he art of new media played a significant role in the broadening of the notion of art in the last decades of the 20th century, especially through video art, video installation, performance art, the screen offering to the artist (and to the viewer) a mirror in which s/he can reflect (and also see) the society somehow delayed. The invention of certain interactive devices and virtual environments contributed to the renewal of fine arts. The senses and the collaboration of the audience are increasingly necessary. The art becomes more dramatic and publicizes itself; its influence on the environment becomes more and more perceptible. The audience becomes a prerequisite for the success of the event. New media will kindle the attention of a series of internationally recognized critics and theorists, such as: Michael Rush, RoseLee Goldberg, Lea Vergine. Furthermore, in Romania, the new media phenomenon was studied and labeled starting with the 90’s, in the 1996 catalogue of the exhibition “Experiment in Romanian Art after 60s”, in books written by art theorists such as: Ileana Pintilie “Actionism in Romania during the Communist Era” in 2000, Adrian Guţă, “Writings of the 80’s Generation in Visual Arts”, in 2008

and studies published by artists such as: “Video, Digital Image” by Marilena Preda Sânc in 2004 and many other publications. At the end of the 60’s and until the 80’s one could notice that the public increasingly focused its attention towards the approach of a conceptual art having a strong militant character, whereby artists got involved into social and political conflicts. The video art of the 90’s will gain a narrative, highly personalized dimension. The life of the artist in itself, the portraying of certain real or imaginary characters and the combination with documentary elements are used as material repertoire. Video art reached its glory during the 90’s, “when every festival, biennial, contemporary art gallery and alternative space projected videos on walls, screens, chairs, on the cathedral ceilings and all over was possible”, as as Michael Rush stated1. In Romania, the 90’s represented the first Post-Communist decade, when a series of artists from the experienced generation would use new media in their creation and participate in numerous international exhibitions, 1  RUSH Michael. Video Art, London: Thames and Hudston, 2003, p. 210.

biennials, video art/performances festivals, internet art and digital art. The following artists pertained to this first wave: Alexandru Antik, Ion Grigorescu, Iosif Király, KINEMA IKON, Ana Lupaş, Alexandru Patatics, Lia Perjovschi, Gheorghe Rasovszky, Grupul subReal, Călin Dan, to name just a few. The beginning of the new millennium launched new artists who would focus on the new media, artists such as: Mircea Cantor, Cristi Pogăcean, Cipri Mureşan, Alexandra Croitoru, Anca Benera etc. Diana Dochia curator & art historian

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Table of contents   interview      curator's angle      discover      podium      photo event

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Opening of the first Contemporary Art Museum in Poland

34 Vita, Morte E Miracoli

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Dobrila Denegri Curating Causes

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Patricia Teodorescu Trespassing the PAST, conceptualising the PRESENT, arousing the FUTURE A night for video art

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We have everything

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Lilly Project

Irina Botea Re-enactment of a subjective history

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Bitzan’s Artcamp


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Teresa Huertas Art as a journey

Tara (von Neudorf) Transgress the limits

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The bureau of melodramatic research – Documentation of sustainability

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Florin Sidău The disintegration of practical anatomy

118 Tets Ohnari Tokio, Prague, Bucharest

Costin Ioniță The artist is a pale imitation of the Creator

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110 Pavilion resource room

121 Mimi Ciora Siamese – Antitheses

Lilliana Mercioiu Explorations, settings, resettings

Photo event


VITA, MORTE E MIRACOLI THE SETTING FOR A PERFECT CRIME by Simona Vilトブ


 VITA , MO R TE E MIRACOLI

P

assing Michele Bressan’s “mobile eye” around the lives of others brings us upon a limit of confidentiality, a border that we feel as violence, „an imaginary line materialized in violence”, as the Italian artist Gilberto Zorio used to say. We are talking about a violence of exacerbated attention, of the researcher that observes full of interest and unstoppable curiosity the life and gestures of a colony of exotic animals. Just the way Pier Paolo Pasolini has given Edipo Re a soundtrack from the Carpathian - Danubian -Black Sea space without „asking for permission”, because there is no possible passing permit between the two realities, there is only the possibility of transgression and, implicitly, imagination (meaning total freedom), Michele Bressan uses the third eye of the movie camera

to pay attention and focus on some people in their most intimate and corrupt situations. Whether his voyeurism takes place within crowds wrought by religioussuperstitious turmoil (see Flori la Sf. Dumitru/Flowers at St. Dumitru) or is related to boring scenes filmed at noon in the balconies of a Romanian urban neighbourhood (see Fifth, Sixth & Seventh Floor), the result is always the same. It creates suspense worthy of the most exciting krimi adventures in the reference movies; it makes us wonder if there is actually something going on in there or if it’s just our anxious imagination. The way Bressan’s much too curious camera films the eyes of a handicapped blind man emotionally blackmails the viewer and launches him in a

residual religious of the “life, death and miracles”. The “dumb” scream within this episode becomes more powerful than artillery that’s ready for war. It urges you to participate or to run! Anything is allowed, the flowers are pestilential and miracles can happen! Michele Bressan was there. The Vita, morte e miracoli exhibition took place during the 10th - 30th of June 2011 at the LC Foundation Bucharest. Michele Bressan (born 1980) is a Romanian artist of Italian origins, who has become renown in the video and photography field. He has been and still is involved in numerous local and international projects; in 2011 he is part of Vittorio Sgarbi’s selection - Padiglione Italia nel Mondo within the framework of the Venice Biennale. He exhibited his works in: Mois de la Photo Paris, ESSL Museum Wien, National Contemporary Art Museum in Bucharest, St-art Fair Strasbourg, Preview Berlin, Performance Art Institute San Francisco, Brukenthal National Art Museum in Sibiu, Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, Neuen Museum - Bauhaus Universitat Weimar, “Videozone V Biennial “ TelAviv, Accademia di Romania di Roma etc. He won the ESSL Award in 2009, the Surexposition Award in 2008 and the “Constantin Brâncuși” scholarship in 2010, at the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris.  http://www.michelebressan.ro

Vita, Morte e Miracoli, untitled 3 2009-2010

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Vita, Morte e Miracoli, untitled 5 2009-2010

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ď Ž VITA , MO R TE E MIRACOLI

Vita, Morte e Miracoli, untitled 1 2009-2010

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Vita, Morte e Miracoli, untitled 2 2009-2010

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ď Ž VITA , MO R TE E MIRACOLI

Vita, Morte e Miracoli, untitled 4 2009-2010

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Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun Photo: Wojtek Olech Courtesy of CoCA in Torun

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Dobrila Denegri – Curating Causes This interview refers, from multiple points of view, to a concluded period. As a former participant to the REAL PRESENCE workshop in Belgrade, Serbia, I decided to join Dobrila Denegri for a run-over of the concepts of art, politics, history, institutional policies and public awareness. What remains in between appeals to the empathy and intuition of our reader and invites to a game of redemption. by Silvia Pintilie

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fter hearing that Dobrila Denegri was appointed the new artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Toruń, Poland, a question popped into my mind: are you some sort of a nomad that travels around, attempting to “save” and explore the artistic possibilities of art places more or less in need? There is certainly a strong nomadic impulse, both in my life and in my work: I moved from ex-Yugoslavia to Italy in the early ‘90s, but I continued to keep my professional connections with Belgrade in all these years throughout the organization of a large international manifestation such as “Real Presence” (2001-2010) as well as throughout many other projects. Even if I have settled in Italy since ’94, I continue to study other cultural contexts with great

attention: I have initially been very interested in East-European countries, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and even Armenia, whereas during the last period I have been exploring those cultural contexts emerging with great force and vitality, like India or south-east Asia… My desire to add Poland, as another focus on the map of places where I live and work was surely connected with this “nomadic” attitude, but it was mainly stimulated by the very challenging current cultural climate in this country. Poland is emerging as one of most vibrant cultural and artistic scenes, and both the present situation and its dense cultural past provide lot of stimuli for anyone interested in art and other contemporary languages. As an artistic director, you are now invested with the institutional

(rather than self-assigned) vocation of fostering artistic practices. Even if special spaces are designed for each activity, which is your procedure for choosing the artistic path of the Centre? Your four-year strategy for the Centre of Contemporary arts involves any change of artistic reference or do you keep a thin internal line that links all the means of expression that would eventually create a cultural identity of the space? CoCA Torun was opened four years ago, so it can still be considered as fairly “young” institution. Therefore the challenge is to define more precisely the profile of the institution which has great potential in terms of spaces and infrastructure, but is located in Torun, a beautiful city, but still dominated by its important historical tradition. Known as the birthplace of Copernicus and 13


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now for the huge university campus, Torun can also become, thanks to this Centre of Contemporary Art, one of the active players on the national and maybe even wider cultural scene. So the idea is to run a program that will enable further internationalization of the Polish art, and that will also respond to local community and their cultural needs. More specifically, it means performing exhibitive activities which involve internationally recognized artists, as well as young artists, as in the case of the exhibition “Spaceship Earth” which was dedicated to the dialogue between science and art, or sitespecific interventions by internationally established artists, as in the case of Massimo Bartolini’s “Serce na dloni” or projects where the focus is on Polish art, but with the involvement of foreign curators, like in the case of the personal exhibition of Marzena Nowak, curated by Rainer Fuchs from MUMOK, Vienna.

The exhibitive feature is only one part of a wider activity of the centre, which is dedicated to a multitude of contemporary languages such as film, music, design, etc. After concluding a ten-year period of organizing, next to Biljana Tomic, the Real Presence workshop in Belgrade, which ideas therein are to the most dominant, and how do they still manage to be an integrant part of your current activities’ framework? Thanks to this huge workshop, in which one to three hundred young artists and art students participated each year, we were able to develop a really deep knowledge about different educational methodologies applied in the art academies and universities all over the world. More importantly, through the workshop pattern that we put into practice in Belgrade

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun Photo: Wojtek Olech Courtesy of CoCA in Torun

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we were able to develop a sort of alternative way to “teach” art, focusing mainly on exchange and collaboration between colleagues pertaining to close generations, but with different cultural or social backgrounds. So those collaborations between young artists from Mexico and Singapore, or Iceland and South Africa for example, that were born in Belgrade did not only produce interesting works that were presented on our exhibitions, but most of all, turned into long-term projects that continued in other places, contributing that to the further spreading of the “Real Presence” spirit and network. This cultural exchange and enrichment, the friendships and networks count among the most precious legacies we inherited along with many of our participants. Real Presence also represented a symbol of artistic plurality, political


 D o bri la D e ne g ri – C urat i ng Caus es

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun Photo: Wojtek Olech Courtesy of CoCA in Torun

understanding and deep social integration. Through its settings, it was almost an invitation to participants to have a certain attitude during the creation process. Did you anticipate that the identity of the workshop will lead to this type of behaviour? This manifestation was realized for the first time in 2001 with the intention to mark the moment of democratic change occurred in Serbia after the fall of Milosevic’s government and it was motivated by the urge to reconnect with other cultural contexts after ten years of war and isolation. Thanks to the “presence” of almost three-hundred young artists as well as some important guests, like Harald Szeemann at the first edition, we decided to carry on with the manifestation through the following years as well, as long as there was the need for this kind of multicultural platform in a country like Serbia, which was under the visa-regime until the last year. But the workshop’s pattern emerged as a result of the curatorial activity carried out by Biljana Tomic in the Student Cultural Centre for a long period of time. Together with Joseph Beuys, the first exchange programs with the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf

were created already in the mid ’70s and this practice continued through the following years also drawing some other important European academies or professors like Rabinowitch, Klingelhöller, Pistolletto, Kounellis, to name just a few. So this pattern emerged from a certain understanding of art and its function within society, and so it inevitably remained faithful to the idea that creative potential (especially of young people) have to be valued and encouraged. Even though every generation of students comes and goes, do you consider that the city of Belgrade received any real benefit from the “young healers” who would come once a year to “cure” the cultural wounds and gaps of the city? Our initial goal was to give a chance to young people coming from other European countries, with the desire to become directly familiar with this cultural background, and therefore to offer them the possibility to develop an opinion which would not be based only on the “reality” as presented by main-stream media in the war years on the territory of former Yugoslavia. This goal was fully achieved, since I’m sure 15


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present times are characterised “ Our through more speediness and mobility, as well as the multiplication of cultural centres all over the globe.

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 D o bri la D e ne g ri – C urat i ng Caus es

that all participants in “Real Presence” have totally different memories of Belgrade, because they got to know the city and its people by themselves. On the other hand this place, its past and its present, its numerous and dramatic political and social transformations became the subject of so many artistic projects that we can say that thanks to “Real Presence” this cultural context got a really unique visual “diary” which also marks the beginning of a new millennium. When an art historian also becomes a curator, lecturer, author, organizer

etc., one tends to believe that the current society caused the plurality of functions with which a person is invested. Do you consider yourself as a product of the contemporary art society or do these positions come as a result of your personality? Our present times are characterised through more speediness and mobility, as well as the multiplication of cultural centres all over the globe. Inevitably, the ways to exercise this profession have slightly changed, but what remains unchanged is that we continue to create extraordinary temporary worlds - the exhibitions. From my point

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun Photo: Wojtek Olech Courtesy of CoCA in Torun

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of view, each new project, exhibition or lecture is a fantastic pretext to search for artistic works or visions that are able to stimulate my imagination or my analytical capacities. In your last article for the Artluk magazine, entitled ”Inbetweeness”, you also include in your selected imagery the work of Mircea Cantor and Gabriela Vanga, “Another Senseless Fight”. How often do you work with Romanian artists, whether they are established

abroad or are coming straight from Romania? This text was originally written for the catalogue of the exhibition “Inbetweeness: Balkan as a metaphor of change” which I curated few years ago in Rome. On that occasion the works of Mircea Cantor and Gabriela Vanga that you mentioned were also presented, as well as photographs by Nicu Ilfoveanu and video works by Moldavian artist Pavel Braila. However, that wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last

time I would write about or work with artists (or curators) coming from Romania. There are many others whose work I follow with great interest, and of course I have met most of them thanks to “Real Presence” and my collaborations with curators and artists who teach at the academies and universities in Bucharest, Cluj and other cities. Romanian artists are still selfconscious of the Communist heritage, sometimes over-using the

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 D o bri la D e ne g ri – C urat i ng Caus es

visual icons of the “Golden Era”. From your experience, did you notice any other type of recurrence in the themes approached by Eastern European artists? I see that younger generations are gradually drawing apart and detaching themselves from the themes connected to the Post-Communist era and the crash of the political systems after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Conciliation with their recent (and often traumatic) past was a sort of necessity for artists and generally intellectuals in Romania and

other countries, but now, after more than a decade, we can see that the social, political and economical transformation has changed the scene. Even if questions about identity are still being raised, they only occur in relation to a new set of socio-economical conditions, as well as in relation to new quests that the technological evolution and urban/ environmental urgencies are driving today. Has Serbian art fully recovered after the events that marked her recent history? Do you plan to implement

your curatorial projects there anytime soon? It is hard to speak about recovery… but I think that every new generation has to meet new challenges… As far as I am concerned, I’m already working on projects that confer continuity to the legacy of “Real Presence” and its enormous global network of artists that became quite successful and internationally renowned in the meanwhile. I will have projects in Belgrade, as well as in the other places I am currently working in. 

①  A  pnea MaraM, 2005 ② Uden Navn, Uden Tittle Michael Rahbek Rasmussen ③ Milky Way - Breath02 Mihoko Ogaki ④ Road Safety Christian Sievers ⑤ Bosnian Moon Igor Bosnjak

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Opening of the first Contemporary Art Museum in Poland by Iulian Mureșanu

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uring this year’s Night of the Museums, held on the 20th of May 2011, Krakow opened its Contemporary Art Museum – MOCAK to the public. It is the first Polish institution founded especially to the

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purpose of compiling, archiving and making an international collection of contemporary art accessible to the public. The MOCAK building was inaugurated in November 2010, whereby a press conference attended by the president of Poland, the mayor

of Krakow and art-world notables preceded the actual inauguration. Located in Zablocie, the postindustrial district of Krakow, MOCAK is built on the site of the former enamelware factory owned by Oscar Schindler, the German entrepreneur


 O pe ni ng o f t he fi rst Co nt e m po ra ry A rt Muse um i n Pol an d

who later on became the main character of “Schindler’s List”, and actually incorporates some of the existing structures. The museum made its debut with six exhibitions, some of which are still open to visitors, and the projection of a film series which document artistic events organized in Polish institutions between 1950 and 1988. These exhibitions are: History in Art: 20th of May–25th of September 2011, The MOCAK Collection: starting with the 20th of May 2011, Maurycy Gomulicki. Bibliophilia: 20th of May–8th of September 2011 and Mieczysław Porębski’s Library starting with the 20th of May 2011. In the fall of 2011 the museum will host the “Journey East” exhibition, whose main theme will be designing identity through art in the former USSR countries, as well as an exhibition pertaining to the ESSL Foundation collection. You can find additional information on the MOCAK website: www.mocak.pl

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Trespassing the PAST,

conceptualising

the PRESENT,

arousing the

FUTURE by Silvia Pintilie


FREEDOM SHE SAID – performance (1)

PATRICIA TEODORESCU – FREEDOM SHE SAID I don’t want to prove men that I am their equal, I’m not. I am my father’s daughter, my lover’s woman, I shall be the mother of my child…. I am my own self. I have a voice to use as a weapon of truth: the word. I am more talented than others and less talented than others, I have equal rights with them and when I don’t I fight for them.

Y

ou are a contemporary artist, pertaining, at the first blush, to the environment of established arts – mostly sculpture, which you have interpreted as an instrument for video art. How did you manage to intuit the possibilities that lay beyond the 3D construct, as perceived in classical terms? Ah, intuition, a well chosen word! It is part of that 3-D, the beyond of which I use as a stage in conceiving my works, whether it comes to sculpture, installations or moving pictures. Sculpture has its own place… I would say that it remains the main element in visualizing ideas; the installations, the environment, video art, and painting are all artistic means, serving the idea. Among the early works within

I hate false education when we impose rules to children, girls or boys about who washes the dishes and who should keep silent in the so-called couple diplomacy, society, politics or economy. I have rivalry or friendship relationships with other women. I have a sister and my best friend was my mother. I don’t wish to fight with

anybody nor to live my life in quarrel, but life is a battle with ourselves and when I see injustice I suffer, when I see suffering and discrimination of any kind against me or others I revolt and get involved. When my rights are or I am attacked I defend myself. And the best self defense is the attack to intention, and attention: I have great intuition!

this theme I would mention the “GATE” installation series, which I use to “open” the subconscious area in the material world. I began my career as an artist at the sculpture department of the Fine Arts Academy. I remember a funny story from the admission exam, a story that would later become one of the many meant to shape my artistic path. My first encounter with clay… My creation style proved to be very original… I used to fill up shapes and contour full and empty walls, which my colleagues found rather funny, since they had applied different information on creation techniques. However, the result proved to be a good one. The several search, choice and elaboration experiences that followed led to a conceptualization

of the essence. The works that were born along the way pertained to similar themes, converging to a concept, which involved different manners of technical expression. I tried to put together proportions and colours, full figures and voids, I tried to colour shapes, to associate sensations and feelings. I was given the chance to exhibit next to known artists in Romania, Serbia, Berlin, Vienna, Chicago, New York, London, and had the opportunity to address the public in exhibiting locations like Tate Modern, Essl or The Kitchen. Your video works have an almost pictorial constancy of frames, and in Love (Revelation) this can be found close to animation and motion pictures, somehow reminding of


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FREEDOM SHE SAID – performance (2)

the techniques used in the early 20th century (A Trip to the Moon, 1902, by Georges Méliès). Is this video a personal experiment, an opportunity to study the theme with regard to the technique, or is it an anticipated result of your collaboration with Claude Grosch (A/N video artist, animation film author http://www.vimeo.com/user5625824/videos)?

I have experimented in the area of time lapse, both in movement and static, using the word “Still” as a starting point. The result of the search and elaboration, was a “LOVE revelation”, which followed a balance between mind and 24

conceptual spirit, and was based on the vertical theme of asceticism and technicality, and on the use of “vertigo”. I thank Claude Grosch for the technical support and I also thank all those who encouraged this project. Freedom she Said is a piece which uses iconic elements, with regard to the movements that are also found in the area of sensory and intuitive body interpretation. The result is a video that substitutes a textual artist statement, a formal autobiography, by using the image of the creator as a manifest. What is your connection to the art tradition using the body

as a means for expressing an artistic attitude? The artwork “FREEDOM SHE SAID – performance” uses a series of symbolic elements or “gross-plans”, using the human body as a means of artistic expression, in a composition where the drama and the pronounced uniqueness of time flow and time expansion or compression are meant to serve the liberating force of the word. During one of my visits in NY, I had the opportunity to visit one of Kiki Smith’s exhibitions, which comprised a series of works among which I found an installation called Body Fluids, which used the body in its absence,


 Trespassing the past, conceptualising the present, arousing the future

by imaginarily decomposing it. The installation was made up of a set of large jars labelled saliva, blood etc. Artist Pipilotti Rist uses moving human parts, “map-drawing” spectacular images, transforming the human body in actual landscapes or entering the actual organic with the video camera. Bill Viola uses the human body in an iconographic way to recreate moments or to animate visions. We use our body every day in various situations or actions. The expressivity of the human body in its 3D instances turns into sculptural living matter, into shape(s) of the spirit or matter pertaining to the “whole” live microcosm.

Are you a rather discreet and responsible user when it comes to the resources of the body as a representation object in the video, or do you have in mind a certain plan of interpretation, hybridization and altering of the body image? The human element or parts of the human body (BEAR revelation) appear in various interpretations in my works as an expressive language that helps carry on a message. In my performances I have used my body, as well as the bodies of others, as a means of expression. Gina Pane, Marina Abramovič, Orlan, Tracy Emin are artists who

overbid the image of woman, in consonance with the period when they became known. How else could a woman-artist affirm her position in the contemporary world without being suspected of extreme feminism or, on the contrary, of an androgynous character? An artist, whether a woman or a man, who undertakes an implication or a manifestation of a feminine theme, defends and proclaims the need to acknowledge equal rights, and takes a stand against discrimination and injustice. Extreme feminism becomes a subject in so many other extremely expressed areas. I personally approached 25


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I often go to sleep with even more works in my mind and I often envisage more and more works for the future.

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this theme from an anthropological point of view, starting from family to society and linking the phenomenon in social, political, religious and historical structures, especially with regard to interpersonal relationships. If I may quote artist Simona Tanasescu: “Dora Maar, Claude Cahun, Diana Thorneycroft, Cindy Sherman, Marta Roler, Pipilotti Rist, Vanesa Beecroft, Mariko Mori have become noticeable thanks to an exceptional theoretical demarche, by managing their own career, which implicitly led to a change of the criteria and to their creations no longer being subject to Masculine/ Feminine labels (in other words, there is a plurality of criteria).Art simply becomes DELIGHTFUL, VALUABLE. One should support the dissemination of feminist messages, without mistaking them for extremist feminist manifestations. 26

Studio Arte is an artist-run space that you manage, curate and, more importantly, work in. Did this place change in any way your usual activities when it came into being? Do you plan your projects sitespecifically or related to the other guest-artists? Rone, Daniel Craciun and Marius Tanasescu are three video artists who exhibit at Studio Arte. What are the criteria and the affinities according to which you select an artist for this space? STUDIO arte is a space open both to emergent artists who want to exhibit excellent projects, and to established artists, conceptually linked to the value and the spirit that define the personality of this artist-run-space. The invitation to participate in events is equally addressed to artists and to the public, to all those longing for spiritual

nourishment, but who are also able to afford the “luxury” of trespassing the material border. I am looking forward to new artistic events, exhibitions and manifestations bearing the imprint of this unconventional space and, furthermore, I am looking forward to seeing promising artists, capable of managing their own projects, artists that would enhance the value of this place by contributing with very fine works. Locations like this are more numerous abroad, and offer artists a place to meet and express themselves, or even create. Nowadays, the online presence is part of every artist’s existence. How do you manage to keep your copyright on a work created by contemporary technology in a world


 T r e s pa s s i n g t he pa st, co nce pt ua li si ng t he pre se nt, a ro usi ng t h e fu tur e

FREEDOM SHE SAID – performance (3)

where almost everything comes from free-sourcing? Each artist takes a risk when s/he exhibits a work, especially online. In my case, the works that I post in this area are already certified or presented in galleries, institutes or museums. You have a considerable international experience, coming from workshops, projections and exhibitions. Getting past the social cliché of geographical exclusion, how did this type of exposure influence you and how do you handle the theme of your works so that it vibrates not only in Romania, but also in the international context? The theme I choose is a consequence of my artistic preoccupations and feelings, aiming for a conceptualization of the idea, a manipulation of the

material in favor of the idea, which addresses others and that others can find themselves in, regardless of colour, social status or geographical coordinates. Ihave been interested in path breakers, in the experimental nature, in those who create spaces and dispositions, and especially in ascetic themes. I would mention Nam June Paik, Pipilotti Rist and Bill Viola. Where will you exhibit in the near future and what are your professional plans? I had a fulfilling collaboration with art critic Olivia Nitis, who invited me to participate in the exhibition “Statement: I advocate Feminism” in Vienna in January, thus giving me the chance to meet artists with whom I exchanged ideas and opinions, and also to visit exhibitions by artists that truly

impressed me, like William Kentridge. During this exhibition I was chosen to represent KulturKontact Austria at the Vienna Artfair, a KulturKontact event, as a video artist with a limited edition of DVDs. I am currently completing other projects in progress, my inspiration is continuous, and I often go to sleep with even more works in my mind and I often envisage more and more works for the future. I am an artist who respects the assumed speech, but also believes in the result that manages to take on the message, in the works that go beyond the dust of the momentary trend and in time become their own word carriers. I am watching with interest the other artists, both emergent, and especially those who manage to excel regardless of age. That’s about it - my plan for the future is “to create smart works!”  27


BEAR (revelation)


A night for video art by Olivia Niţiş

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he Romanian cultural environment is generally still conservative, leaving too little room for installations and video creations within the framework of contemporary art. The absence of a constant visual education and the difficulty in outlining an audience compatible to the contemporary language and its diversity have some of the worst consequences, among which the indifference towards the suitability of an artistic product as regards its integration in the international circuit. The problem with contemporary art audience in Romania remains open, involving both aspects of the cultural mentality, still affected by a sort of provincialism seasoned with the pathos of extolment to past “geniuses”, and at the same time by the absence of cultural priorities. The contemporary art public in Romania needs a Night of the

Galleries, a Night of Museums, a Night of the Cultural Institutes, meaning it needs a rich, plentiful offer and an urban socializing atmosphere. Studio Arte is an artist run space coordinated by Patricia Teodorescu, a very offering space, through its place and ideal dimensions for video art and installation. The problem with this space is its real integration in the circuit of galleries in Bucharest. In 2010, Patricia Teodorescu, one of our best video artists, decided to organize an event dedicated to video art on the Night of the Galleries, as a unique alternative in nowadays’ landscape. The Experimental Project Association joined this initiative in 2011, and thus emphasized the value and the necessity of assuming the role of promoting video art. The selection was guided after a set of criteria, starting with a maximum 10-minute-length of the productions


ď Ž A night for video art

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and continuing with presenting films made by foreign artists as well (Marko Maetamm din Estonia, Doris Mayer from Austria or Su Tomesen from the Netherlands), and with presenting less renown works, whether they were created by acknowledged artists or less known ones. The selection allowed not only for the participation of graduates from the Photo-Video Section of the National Arts University or of students chosen by Alexandru Patatics, but also of those from the cinema milieu of the UNATC (National University of Theater and Cinema Arts). Some of the selected works have been created by artists who occasionally use video technology and integrate it in ampler installation - productions. Such an event definitely deserves the effort of continuity while the transformation of video art presentation in a natural and programmatic exercise should become a priority, despite a market dedicated to traditional

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backgrounds and general convenience. Video art is a powerful reality in Western societies, as well as in certain areas of Central and Eastern Europe which continue to promote video art just like Kulturkontakt Organization Austria does, for instance, by producing each year a video edition dedicated to an artist in Eastern Europe; for this year’s edition, inaugurated at the Vienna Fair, they chose artist Patricia Teodorescu. What is interesting is that most of the Romanian artists that perform on the international stage have presented and still present video art abroad (Grigorescu, Cantor, Vătămanu, Botea and others), because in those countries the audience is both sensible and interested and they benefit from the necessary programs and infrastructure. Until we get to that level, we can enjoy video art for a night or occasionally, sometimes after the opening ceremony too, in the few spaces where the staff understands that a video artwork can only be viewed if you turn the equipment on. 


ď Ž A night for video art

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RE-ENACTMENT   

Before A National Anthem video selection, 80min, 2009 (1)


OF A SUBJECTIVE

HISTORY You work, you debate, you expose, you present, you debate, you work. You watch. You think. It is very difficult to put forward hypotheses about Irina Botea, the same as it is very difficult to find contexts to enclose Romania’s social and historical past and present without risking to be blamed for over-interpreting or archivistic demarche. Nonetheless, in between the lines a parallel discourse is being shaped by an artist that challenges our ability to reflect and hints to what has always been right next to us, within us, concerning us… Irina Botea. by Silvia Pintilie


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Y

our artistic demarche, say artistic career, began in a time when photography, video art and installations were at a starting point in Romania. What ideas and research methods were closest to your heart in this process? The initial resources were mainly the contemporary art courses of Mr Adrian Guta which induced an “illumination” and produced a radical change in my understanding of the artistic expression, as well as the archives of the International Contemporary Art Centre (CIAC) managed by Irina Cios. The discussions with my art studio (painting) professor, Alexandru Chira, and his questions were also very important for me. Later on, when I started to take part in a series of artistic residences in the USA, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the sources multiplied. (Museums, Exhibitions, Books). Speaking of national art… There are still many cultural agents coming from various artistic milieus who connect their projects, more or less intuitively, starting from their own visions on the era before the Revolution, and thus generate the

Before A National Anthem video selection, 80min, 2009 (2)

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very well known reactions of the international mass media. How difficult is it, in your opinion, to find topics as resonant as these ones in the new Romanian society? The “subject” of my works is the analysis of the current context. What interests me is the present; the way we understand our participation in the construction of the present moment. Every historical cultural moment does not totally belong to itself; in that it is an accumulation of several past events, and will be influencing future moments. Visiting, reenacting a past moment is a gesture of the present. It strives to explain, analyze that historical moment to the benefit of the present, as well as the ignored possibilities, not for the sake of the past, in a distinguishingly melancholic or glorifying manner, but to a precise practical purpose: to broaden the understanding of the present. Any link drawn to the period before 1989 may be perceived as a hollow repetition if we were to consider the history as rigid and authoritarian, as a linear, vertical progression rather than a continuous flow varying as a function of the present. What mattered to me in 2006 was the

analysis of our participation in what we still call the “Romanian Revolution”. In 2009, by creating “Inaintea unui imn national” (“Before a national anthem”) I tried to make a census of the political imagination of the present moment and to place the anthem in a space of discussion and negotiation by asking how can we describe the moment that we are inhabiting, and what proposals do we have for the future. Nowadays, I am interested in the analysis of the touristic writings discourse (“Picturesque”). “Laura”, “Felicia” and “Felicia says” approach the issues behind emigration. “Felicia”, “Reconstituirea” (“Remake”) and “Elena Ladybug” are encounters with what is often called “the other”, the Roma people. In Auditions for a Revolution (2006) several students and fellow Americans remake and re-dimension certain fragments from the events in December ’89, with a share of the same pseudo-natural feeling and the same un-revealed exposure towards the international media. What direction did this experiment actually study? In “Auditions for a Revolution” I have asked my friends, students and faculty


 R E-ENAC TMENT O F A SU B JEC TIVE HIS TORY

Every historical cultural moment does not totally belong to itself; in that it is an accumulation of several past events, and will be influencing future.

members (of different nationalities: Koreans, Turks, Americans, Canadians, Israelis etc) to audition for roles in 1989 Romanian revolution, the first televised revolution. The project was born from our viewing together the discussion in the beginning of Antonionii Zabriskie Point’s movie, which ignited a debate on the possibility of having a revolution at that time. During the same period I started watching Andrei Ujica and Harun Farocki’s movie, “Videograms of

a Revolution”. I thus felt the urge of a personal “closure”. The movie aims mainly at analyzing our participation in what we call “Romanian Revolution” and the meaning of revolutionary identity. By re-enactment, the performers try the “revolutionary identity” and learn “the revolutionary vocabulary”. By using a language that the performers didn’t quite understand (even though I have provided them the translation), the

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words become abstracted and their meanings are questioned. The use of terms such as democracy, socialist etc. is obviously reconsidered in the fragment where the 1989 “revolutionaries” they try name the new political structure they have just constituted. The viewer is provoked to compare the new performance with the original 1989 footage, and to consider such questions as the construction versus the spontaneous unfolding of historical

Before A National Anthem video selection, 80min, 2009 (3)

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events, the manner in which a historical events gets transmitted and the possibility or impossibility of revolution today. I have chosen the format of auditions for the place they occupy, at the border between reality and theatricality. The performers’ struggle with a language they neither speak nor understand, became a metaphor for the difficulties of reading history. Understanding our involvement in the 1989 moment is necessary for understanding how do we engage ourselves in transforming the present moment. The obsession for reconstructions. It appears in Romanians as a cultural cliché, encompassing the most various preoccupations. Starting with Out of the bear (2005), passing Auditions for a revolution video and 16 mm film transfer, 24 min, 2006 (1)

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through Re-enchantment (2006) or Auditions (2006) it so seems that you often turn to this structure in your works. Does it replace your broad statement as an artist? For me, the use of the “reenactment” strategy is not an obsession or cultural cliché, but a currently necessary mode of expression, which can be recognized in very many cultural events beyond the strict framework of “art” (for instance: remakes of the USA Independence War or of the medieval life in Europe). In Romania, a complex trajectory of reenactments can be indentified in films, starting with the first Romanian movie, “Independenta Romaniei” (Romania’s independence) in 1912 and continuing with Calotescu’s “Reconstituirea” (“Reenactment”) in

1957 and Pintilie’s “Reconstituirea” (“Renactment”) in 1968. “Strategies of Reenactment in Contemporary Media” is the topic of a course I have designed within the department of film, video, new media and animation of the SAIC (The School of The Art Institute of Chicago) where I am currently teaching. In my works I combine the reenactment strategies with auditions. To me, the reenactment is a reflective participative strategie, which attempts to create personal mediations, translations that transform past events and replace the official versions. The combination between reenactments and auditions offers the possibility to present more personal translations, without selecting one as the best suited.


 R E-ENAC TMENT O F A SU B JEC TIVE HIS TORY

Auditions for a revolution video and 16 mm film transfer, 24 min, 2006 (2)

How do you manage to distinguish among the themes related to your works and the behaviourist spam that you need to separate them from? There is no behaviourist spam in my opinion. Every “event” (whether bigger or smaller) that I notice takes part in the creation of my works. I usually do not start from a general theme, but from an encounter with a person or a work of art, a movie. You have exhibited your works in numerous international locations, more or less formal, passing through famous galleries or unconventional spaces. Without trying to generalize, what is your view on the connection between the work and the milieu it emerges from? The work undergoes changes due to its being exhibited and re-contextualised. Every subject interacting with the work renders a personal interpretation thereof, influenced by the exhibition setting, the history of the gallery and the works surrounding it. There are galleries where the audience is accustomed with sitting and viewing

videos (even though their length amounts to 60-70 minutes), such as the Jeu de Paume National Contemporary Art Gallery in Paris. In an art biennale the viewing time is much more condensed because of the overwhelming quantity of works. Besides the “white cube” exhibition setting, the cinema, the movie festival represents another exposition practice that attracts me greatly. It supposes the simultaneity of viewing, the creation of a common experience in a set period of time and the gathering of a temporary community. In my view, the possibility to discuss directly to the audience after a projection is very important because it facilities immediate, direct contact that enables dialogue, as opposed to the monologue of interpretations. What type of relation is there between you and the curator of the exhibition you are invited to? Do you try to influence the setting or do you leave it all up to the curator’s interpretation, even with the risk of being under- or over-interpreted? I sometimes know the curator and we can collaborate more easily, other times

I am invited by curators I have not met before, who describe their curatorial concept to me and give me the chance to approve or reject it. Since we are talking about this concept, is over-interpretation a danger or an opportunity for Irina Botea? I see the artist as the first “viewer”/ audience of his/her work. Once the work is “finished” (which is a relative term, because I frequently edit a work even after two years since it has been first exhibited), as I mentioned before, it is modified by re-contextualization. Any subsequent reading or translation is subjective and depends on a series of personal and public factors. There are interpretations that surprise me by how much they differ from my initial motivation and my later interpretations. Among these surprising interpretations I find ideas and especially expressions that inspire me. The audience I get in touch with most frequently is represented by my students. I am constantly surprised by the fresh approach they exhibit when discussing my works.  39


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Auditions for a revolution video and 16 mm film transfer, 24 min, 2006 (3)

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яБо R E-ENAC TMENT O F A SU B JEC TIVE HIS TORY

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Laura video, 2010 (1)

Laura video, 2010 (2)

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яБо R E-ENAC TMENT O F A SU B JEC TIVE HIS TORY

Felicia says video, 2008 (1)

Felicia says video, 2008 (2)

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Felicia video, 2009 (1)

Felicia video, 2009 (2)

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яБо R E-ENAC TMENT O F A SU B JEC TIVE HIS TORY

Felicia video, 2009 (3)

Felicia video, 2009 (4)

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Before A National Anthem video selection, 80min, 2009 (7)

Before A National Anthem video selection, 80min, 2009 (8)

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Irina Botea www.irinabotea.com

Education: 2004-2006 MFA, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago 2001-2002 MFA, University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania 1996-2001 BFA, University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania 1990-1995 BSc, University of Bucharest, Geology and Geophysics Department, Bucharest, Romania

Awards and fellowships: 2009 Cite des Arts, Constantin Brancusi Fellowship, artist in residence, Paris, France 2008 International Residence at Recollets, artist in residence, Paris, France Kultur Kontakt, artist resident fellowship, Vienna, Austria

Screenings: 2010 What is to be done ? Art, film, politics, Centre Pompidou, Paris 2010 Impakt Panorama, Utrecht, Holland 2009 Multitud Singular, Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid. 2009 Stare de Tranzitie, Targu Mures, Romania,

La Femis, "Autre mesures" Paris, France

Cinema Apollo, Pontault-Combault, France

Saison Video, "Renewal", Tourcoing, France

Saison Video, "Characters", Ateliers 13, Valenciennes

Selected solo exhibitions and performances: 2011 Irina Botea feat. WeAreTheArtists, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland 2010 Before a National Anthem, Italian Cultural Center, Strasbourg, France

2009 A place for Citizenship - performance, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

Re-place, Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

A moment of Citizenship, MNAC, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania A moment of Citizenship, Satellite Program, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris 2008 Solitdaire, ICR, Paris 2006 Auditions for a Revolution, Work of the Month at MNAC, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania

Selected group exhibitions: 2011 Ostalgia, New Museum, New York, US El grito, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain I am a Romanian: The Bucharest – Tel Aviv Route, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel 2010 8th Gwangju Biennale, 10 000 Lives, Gwangju, South Korea Participation, Salzburger Kunstverein, Austria CitiesMethodologies/Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania Videozone, Tel Aviv, Israel Impakt Panorama Matrix City, Utrecht, Holland 2009 Actors and Extras, Argos Center for Art and Media, Brussels Autres Mesures, Centre Photographique, D’Ile-de-France, Pontault-Combault, France Dada East, Contextes roumaines du dadaisme, Muse des Beaux-Arts, Tourcoing, France Subtexts, Multimedia Gallery, The University of The Arts, Philadelphia

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Collective ArtClue –work Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1 Culture shadow

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We have

EVERYTHING In the given circumstances, the atmosphere of the Czech artistic scene does not differ from anything happening elsewhere. The difference between the younger and the youngest generation of artists is based on the ability to understand a specific situation correctly and to take advantage of the existing possibilities. There are a lot of conditions and rules to observe, so the ability to organize things is crucial. Artists do not perceive art as an existential Romanticlike activity but as a system of closely interconnected activities which together create something that accepts the given rules but mainly just with the reason of transforming these rules into something that is newart. 51


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he numbers of students is growing with each year and that is why it becomes more difficult to influence the course of action from official positions. In such a situation the search for alternative ways of self-expression provides another possibility for free creativity. Therefore, the need of public-art and site specific galleries seems clear. They are here to enable something to be created, to be seen-heard-felt. Projects of that kind have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. From that point of view, the idea that imagination cannot be restricted proves to be right. As a result, art can be found in places where one would hardly expect to come across it. The duration of such projects depends on the terms of running a particular place. Therefore, everything gains a nearly organic sense of creation and destruction. Although the vegetation chain transferred into the urban environment brings quite different rules; the rights of the stronger are predominant on this level as well. Anything lacking his/ her own self-defence mechanism can be shattered by the force which overproduces everything (including art) and beats in the night-day rhythm of contemporary urban civilization. What I have seen today, I will certainly not see tomorrow. It seems natural that such places, like empty and vacant shopping windows, tend to be popular among artists. They are more willing to participate in projects located on highly frequented public places. The common question is how to make use of these places. The answer could be structured as a quadrangle: artist-place-curatorviewer. Each of the four corners has specific requirements and the rule that compromise does not mean solution in art applies only to such art activities which are solely illegal and based on this rule. In other cases it is necessary to participate in meetings patiently, to persuade and agree with the owner’s or manager’s requirements. It is necessary to cope with tendencies to suppress art from the priority list of the public with intelligence and humour.

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Places Projektplus - http://projektplus.name was founded in 2010 with the aim to search for places with a potential to develop individual artists’ themes and therefore to create a model space which would test the relationship between the imaginary and cognitive abilities of man in a frame of experimental didactic ‘game’. The need of being active surfaces from the earlier interventions, such as Culture shadow in 2006, at the Vltavska station, where the black fly-posting zone was oversized with gigantic dimensions. PP creates a small network that includes two train stations and an old display with sheet metal roller shutter. Occasional events taking place in the main hall of the railway station PragueHolešovice show us that this space has been operating for some time. It contains several rollers which are used to carry information on the train timetables. This space lies in a narrow transit corridor on the right side of the railway station and is open 24 h/day. The rollers are placed in show cases and each roller cover is 87 cm high and 110 cm wide. The space is available for artists for free; the partner hereto is České dráhy a.s.

Artists Several young artists have been asked to contribute to that project. The basic idea is to find a solution in relation to the place and to interpret that solution clearly to others. The ideals started collapsing as soon as the first exhibition took place. The official reason for that was raising public awareness. The exhibition lasted two hours, while most of that time was spent on the installation. The exhibiting artist, Bára Bálková, specializes in staged photography and prepared a series of political leaflets where the political parties’ advertisements pictured barely

dressed girls. Good timing – just before general election. Fortunately, the worst scenario didn’t take place. We’re going on with it. http://www.barborabalkova.cz/girls.html Daametus Aberus – each of his art pieces assassinates contemporary art… moreover, anybody passing by may be affected. This time the victim was his teacher, Kryštof Kintera, and the title of his exhibition “The bigger problems than yours”. It served as a ready-made model which was transformed through Daametus’s automat to dyslexic sequences firing short sentence constructions as well as individual sounds. No, you don’t have to be able to understand what’s going on. You’re standing in an empty station hall. Peace and quiet everywhere. There is a sound gradually emerging from the corner and growing with your attention until you move to look towards a hot-dog stand and then silence is restored. Natsuko Ishikawa – the atmosphere of her older stories reminds of Neználek (an animated fairy-tale figure), sweet children solving something. Shame I cannot speak Japanese. There is something from the atmosphere of Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls. A very pleasant combination is created by the simple drawing and the tension of the stories. There are so many gender symbols in Natsuko’s work that it is kind of hard to write about it from my position. On the other hand, it’s a good opportunity to think deeper. Natsuko mentions pain that comes along with the full moon and gets bigger with age…. “Full moon” as described by Natsuko is about pain which is caused by the tendency to self-destruction and aggression coming from outside and insidiously affecting an innocent victim who then kills for love. When I imagine all those fierce looks and bars overcrowded with all sorts of unlucky people at the full moon night, it’s not a quite delightful feeling. http://natsukoishikawa.web.fc2.com Tatjana Erpen uses silkscreen printing and drawing in her work. Therefore,


ď Ž W e have EVERYTHING

Igor Korpaczewski Death is just one 53


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Matej Smrkovsky Spiral drawings

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it was a bit of a surprise when she suggested exhibiting a photography series which identifies the place based on the shape resemblance with tree trunks. However, what Tatjana perceived as more important than the resemblance in itself was the idea that we can read in a tree bark the same as we read timetables. The individual ability to read the given information

correctly is crucial in this sense. One can get lost and found at a train station as well as in the wood. http://www.tatjanaerpen.ch Sangeun Won is studying animation at FAMU and the place inspired him to create his own animated screenplay – storyboard. The stories of three lonely people living next to each


 W e have EVERYTHING

other demonstrate the possible- and thus sadder- reality of the present city life. All three live in the same house, work for the same company, and wait at the same bus stop every day. These three topics are repeated and told as stories in order to show three individual destinies. Everyday routine, dully repeating itself, was used as a generator of social neurosis, suicidal, and aggressive tendencies. Sangeun does not describe the schizophrenic states of his heroes in a psychological way. He uses exaggeration, personifies the schizophrenic human and lets the illness speak and act directly through the body of its victim. An important moment of the movie showing the borders of reality is loneliness and frequently repetitive (and drawn) sounds emerging from behind the walls of a flat or office that inevitably evoke “dizziness” and the desire to satisfy the second self…anyhow. www.kyoyabowie.com Matěj Smrkovský makes the process of creating new drawn record more complicated. In the case of the Holešovice railway station he didn’t feel pleased just with moving the rollers, so he also managed to capture the place as a whole. He carefully involved the exhibition’s visitors as well as the everyday running of the station in the course of action. The outcome was a participative shape operated by the author from the distance through a letter put in our

contact mail box (so far we’ve received just a few cigarette stubs). The visitors were directed to the left luggage office where a suitcase containing 12 black sprays, gloves and 2 liters of wine was left to be picked up. Simple instructions explained the steps. It was interesting to observe the change of atmosphere which seemed awkward at the beginning. Nevertheless, it was observed that strict conceptual approach and the small number of visitors do not necessarily mean failure. The speed with which the sprays were picked up was contrasting to the atmosphere up to that moment. The narrow corridor was getting filled with an intensive synthetic smell while the participants were finishing their sprays. The outcome of the action was a fresh series of spiral drawings reminding of scores of a particular music piece. http://matejsmrkovsky.blogspot.com/ Igor Korpaczewski is a teaching assistant at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and his street works combined approach puts together studio-like painting with genius loci of the place. In our case his inspiration is in line with the old façade and memorial bronze plate. He shaped the figure of soldier, dying far away from home. The same old story. Such a situation lead us over the ages where the recurrent theme of death varies in endless creativity. Death is just one of them. http://artlist.cz/?id=324&lang=1

text by Petr Valer translation by Andulka Koudelkova http://projektplus.name

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LILLY PROJECT Performance, 2007 Author: Danilo Prnjat Production: Mangelos – KONTEKST gallery, Belgrade, Serbia Medium: Performance transferred on DVD, Color, Sound Length: 7’18”, loop Year: 2007

Description When it comes to public space, the dominant principles applied in organizing our immediate environment are gender based, from separate public toilets for men and women, to large beauty shops and saloons… The beginning of the post-socialist era and the loss of the already built national identity have triggered a comeback of the traditional patriarchal values, according to which all relationships must observe a special hierarchy. This situation is furthermore enhanced by the arrival of large corporate systems (capitalism), whose aspiration to a permanent market expansion not only erased part of this hierarchy, but also contributed to the isolation of its remains. 56

The Lilly Project represents an action where 200 men simultaneously invaded, without any previous warning, the largest beauty shop in Belgrade, called Lilly. This literally “patriarchal”, “male” behaviour, which is based on the assumption that men have the right to take control over any space or person, by all means, with or without permission (a standpoint which is typical to individuals raised on patriarchal values), is a real example of a pure form of protest, to mark the distance that delays normal, utilitarian and social evolution. On the other hand, the participants agreed to this action, on condition that they would be paid for exhibiting a particular behaviour that can be perceived as sexually “wrong” in our society, which only indicates that acceptable behaviour limits and

mechanisms that determine some of the vital human identity aspects (such as sexual behaviour) are established only on material grounds in a capitalist society. If we take into consideration that 200 men entered a single building, and thus outnumbered the employees therein, this action immediately led to a system standstill, to its instant collapse - but not to the purpose of providing them an anarchist alternative, but of emphasizing its flaws, in a radical and formal way. 


яБо LILLY PROJE CT

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Bitzan’s Artcamp


 B i t za n’s Ar tcamp

exhibits in the years to come. Even though the Rhinoceros are his utmost recommendation, Răduţă seems more at home when the Rhinoceros are not the only stars of his works, when they share the same stage with other characters, much more discrete. And yes, their enumeration would unfairly and mistakenly limit them to objectual foreign matters that simply serve as a smart joke: leaves inserted in the cracks of some surfaces, feathers suspended on hangers, cockles cornered under parallelepipeds, insects’ bones and long shapes for what seem to be dogs – some dogs perching, God knows why, on the top of some bars leaning on walls. Why would it then be illegitimate for a Romanian Sculptor to be himself in Bitzan, rather than in the Căsoaia camp? Throughout the course of unveiling his personality, and along his growing apart from the “school” and the Academic, institutional lesson

of sculpture, taught by referring too often than necessary to the autochthonous myth of the powerful and virile sculptor, Cristian Răduţă’s most important achievement is his recent exhibition form Gallery 418 in Bucharest. 

(

Cristian Raduta, , Terra ferma, Gallery 418, Bucharest (

C

ristian Răduţă has been misleading from the very beginning. If traditional views on sculpture always refer to space, materials, shape, volume, light or technique, by his appearance in 2005 with the Rhinoceros, Cristian Răduţă announced with certain innocence his position within the boundaries of sculpture, but not within the predictable relation between Răduţă and the non-voidable terms of sculpture, that the people, in their innocence, thought they could suspect. Here is a new Sculptor, they said. Sculptor? Indeed, he is a sculptor, but what is relevant and decisive is what had already happened before the Rhinoceros, in 2003 (his second year of studies), when he created the Insect, and what was going to happen afterwards, during his master’s studies and his scholarship in Rome, when the Cartoon Dogs appeared and everything else that led to his

by Adriana Oprea

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black and color marker on old map, 2011, Courtesy Anaid Art Gallery (1)

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TARA (VON NEUDORF)

TRANSGRESS THE LIMITS by Diana Dochia

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he Romanian artist, notorious for the uncompromising presentation of social and political turmoil, was born in 1974 in a Transylvanian village in Maros County. He graduated form the Cluj-Napoca Art and Design University as a graphics major with the project entitled Endlösung (2003); and enrolled a master’s course in painting in the same institute, which he completed with the work About the Idea of Evil in Romania with Examples (2006). Since his first exhibition Tara (von Neudorf) has proved the representative of an art loaded with multilayered sociopolitical meaning. He has participated in enormous shows presenting several hundreds of works, which most of than not induced the sensation of horror vacui in him. In Tara (von

Neudorf)’s hands the showroom turns into a place that is just about to burst into flames. Oft-censured due to his works and themes much debated by some critics and loved by others, his pictures communicate a protest against the mundane – they emerge as an expression of possibilities, since, to paraphrase art historian David Freedberg, “by refusing its dangers, censorship takes away art’s possibilities”1. Tara (von Neudorf)’s art often focuses on a conflict, conflict, conflict as the means of expression of a certain will, be it political, economic, religious, or social in nature. The artist incorporates into his woks all that exists in people’s 1  Anthony Julius, Transgressions: The Offences of Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002) 9.

behaviors, memories, fantasies, or nightmares, reflecting the world as it really is, in an organic and many colored manner. The accumulation of symbols, the simplification of shapes, the use and reuse of unconventional materials yield an abject, parasitical, almost necrophagous, aspect of human life. Tara (von Neudorf)’s art presents the vision of a sanguine and visceral universe in which events are not recorded according to conventional human chronology but rather through the concentration of several centuries’ routine, as if all of it – agony and ecstasy, crime and punishment, faith and blasphemy – existed in one and the same instant. As an artist, Tara (von Neudorf) obliges himself to take up a position in relation to the system and society 63


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in which he lives. Tara the brilliant artist is at the same time an imitator of his own work; he is a perfect critic but still refuses to become one; he is an extremely ambivalent artist not prepared to identify with anyone else. He carries out his invisible schemes in an impeccable style. Tara’s work requires an implicit spectator; not a mere viewer, but a paradox re – viewer: someone that feels the need to view the work over again and to experience something different on each occasion – an experience more elaborate and more startling than before. Tara (von Neudorf) turns everything into art, making use of every thing he finds: old maps, forgotten school cartons and pictorial displays, even objects lost and found; he uses and reuses animal bones, small numbered wood panels, pieces of iron, old bolts and other curios. In an interview Tara declared: “I am inspired by all sort of things; yet, at the same time, by nothing”. 

White Man's Stupidity, black and coloured marker on old map, 2007, Private Collection

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 TA R A ( VO N NEU D O R F) – TR A NSGR ESS THE LIMITS

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black and color marker on old map, 2011, Courtesy Anaid Art Gallery (2)

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 TA R A ( VO N NEU D O R F) – TR A NSGR ESS THE LIMITS

black and color marker on old map, 2011, Courtesy Anaid Art Gallery (3)

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The Bureau of Melodramatic Research – Documentation of Sustainability It has become a certainty now that the society we live in is strongly influenced by the exploitation of certain emotions manipulated towards extreme, which leads to social, political or cultural conflicts. There is a need for projects that can document objectively, without unnecessary emphasis and hypocrisy, the feelings and drives that underlie the contexts likely to produce mutations in all domains. Though apparently there is no connection between these domains, they are actually so closely related to each other, that grouping them into categories becomes impossible. 68

by Elena Andrei


 T h e B u r e a u o f Me lo dra m at i c R e se a rch – D o cum e ntat i o n o f Sustain ab ility

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he Bureau of Melodramatic Research (BMR) is a nonprofit organization which has as its main goal to expose the melodrama that can be found in different social settings, and which commits to providing the public with free access to the results of its research. Founded in 2009 by artists Irina Gheorghe and Alina Popa, the Bureau of Melodramatic Research seeks to collaborate with institutions in order to highlight the emotional capital flow that lies at the foundation of social, political and economic relations. The BMR’s logo represents a special choice of symbols and an essential part in the development of emotions’ examinations and in the research of melodrama’s components. The central element of the logo is a handkerchief, which stands for the choice of an emotional epistemology, for resistance through emotion to the demands for hyper-rationality, where the think tanks become the new policy makers, in an attempt to snap both emotions and reason as social and cultural constructs. The Bureau examines how emotions are handled and used in the public sphere, through handkerchiefs that hide the tears shed in the emotional outburst of contemporaneity. The BMR concept combines several aspects, from the sociological, philosophical, political sphere to the cultural, artistic, formal and informal one. The Bureau’s social standing is reflected in a critical view on the cultural interpretation, that shows a certain understanding on women’s image, especially when it comes to several misconceptions, which portray the

feminine nature in a pool of emotions and over-romanticism, a conception that is built in opposition with what is supposed to represent the masculine. The same dual approach can be identified in the utopian depiction of art as fountain of creativity and sensitivity, but also of Eastern/Western relations. In 2011, the European Union celebrates voluntary work, not in the sense of patriotic work to the rhythm of the national anthem, but in the sense of self-colonizer voluntary work, in line with the Over-Democratic ethics, within the framework of Western purity and the swelling of bank accounts in the private sector. On the occasion of European Year of Volunteering, the Bureau of Melodramatic Research, in collaboration with Irina Costache, suggests to build a mobile team to monitor the voluntary involvement in the art sector. It is called OMIVA - Mobile Observatory for the Investigation of Artistic Volunteering. The investigation was initiated in the NAG # 5 (the White Night of the Galleries, fifth edition) and the Bureau created a survey related directly or indirectly to volunteering. Since the Bureau of Melodramatic Research was often supported throughout its volunteering activity both by its founding members and by other collaborators, we suggest on this occasion to ask Elena Andrei, one of the two collaborators within the BCM project, The Soul of Sustainability, from Unicredit Pavilion, some questions from the OMIVA survey.

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Along with this mini-interview, ArtClue pictures some of the BMR projects that involved voluntary work.

have had the opportunity to become involved in projects I believed in, which however had no financing.

Have you had any volunteering experience during the past three years and what were your motives? In your opinion, what advantages does volunteering bring? During the past years I have worked voluntarily in several projects. I believe that I have gained experience as far as cultural management, organizing ideas and structuring my artistic work is concerned. I have also met many people from different backgrounds. I

What are the three words you would associate with volunteering? (energy / youth / capitalism / exploitation / social activism / depression / economic crisis / others) To me, volunteering is energy, social activism and last, but not least, compromise. In March 2011, the Bureau launched an invitation to participate to the exhibition “Just do it. Branding

Biopolitical” within Pavilion Unicredit, with works created during the Unicredit grant, that you also benefited from. BMR aimed at analyzing the concept of sustainability in the bank’s discourse, since both your grant, and the contemporary art exhibition, that the Bureau participated in, were part of the same strategy that Unicredit developed for sustainable development. How did it feel to participate in this project? I enjoyed working with BMR and seeing my work revealed in a setting linked to my Unicredit grant. Since I haven’t had the chance to exhibit the works that helped me obtain the Unicredit grant, the exhibition of two other works that were part of this project chosen by the Unicredit Bank fulfilled my entire institutional efforts related to the grant. Do you manage to support yourself from your work as an artist or are you also employed? Do you have a health and social insurance? What is your opinion about artists’ working conditions from this point of view? I have failed to support myself from my work as an artist. As a consequence, I had to find a job, which means I now have an employment record book and thus access to health and social insurance. I believe artists are working in a precarious, uncertain environment. Although there is a copyright law, there are still many aspects unclear, especially when it comes to artists’ subsistence. 

BMR's official launch, Posibilă Gallery, Bucharest, september 2009

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 T h e B u r e a u o f Me lo dra m at i c R e se a rch – D o cum e ntat i o n o f Sustain ab ility

The Soul of Sustainability installation, 2011, in the exhibition Just Do It : Biopolitical Branding, Pavilion Unicredit BMR's official launch Bucharest, Posibilă Gallery, September 2009

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ART AS A JOURNEY 74


Lava Walks (1)

When I met Teresa Huertas, she was participating with the work “Journey’s End” in a group exhibition at the informal space of Fábrica Braço de Prata in Lisboa, Portugal. I am rarely impressed by a contemporary artist, but Teresa really had a special influence upon my Portuguese contemporary art vision. Although being a bit embroiled about the whole artistic display in the building (visuals, books, music, people mingling around) I managed somehow to arrive in front of a work in contradiction with the surroundings; you might expect to receive a description of the artwork, right? But you won’t. At first, you have to be initiated in the secrecy of an internal journey and to cover the metaphorical ground along with our artist. Boa viagem! by Silvia Pintilie

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I

have noticed you graduated from the University of Lisbon, with a major in German Philology, following afterwards a full hand of courses about several artistic means of expression. Which was the resort generating the artistic path you took? Have you had previous experiences related to art? Ever since childhood I have been in contact with arts. The women in my household were sensitive and creative and encouraged me, especially my mother, to regulary practice music, dance, and painting. As a teenager, when I naturally expressed the will to follow an artistic career, I was challenged by a conservative family, who was somehow the image of my country in the sixties. A humanistic education was the possible solution in this context. Arts, however, have always haunted me and I’ve felt the need for experiences in various artistic fields, like painting, drawing, photography, performing arts, music and many more. Starting with the 90’s photography has proved to be

Journey's End (1)

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the most convenient medium for the work I wanted to perform. Reading your texts and “feeling” your photography, I tempt to discover a personal imagery and an encrypted artistic vision. However, your “visual poetry” is based more on personal cathartic praxis and less on oneiric experience. How important is the healing character of art and the anchor into time of memory versus present time for you? In my opinion, art’s goal should be creation, experimentation and not necessarily healing, although sometimes it also works that way. I admit that one of my pieces, “H.” (2006), assumed a cathartic character but I do not perceive the rest of my work in a similar way. Memory interests me as a reference, as an exercise or a work platform that allows me to read and question the present and the future. I think all is memory - the memory we are and the memory we create. In one of my former pieces, the installation “Solve et Coagula”

(1995), which is a metaphor about transformation, I had already approached the question of memory - the alchemical symbology interferes with the memory of the place. Maybe all my work is ultimately about memory. Your projects (especially “Octiens”) cast the viewer with an almost surgical cleanliness, and lately your destinations lead to the same intent. Do you have a work procedure, a self-stage of approval phase followed by the implementation, or your creations appear like a blast in certain life moments? Ideas are the starting point. Then I submit them to maturation, a stand-by time which can sometimes be very long. If the idea is important and persists, the concept is further worked analytically, thoroughly, until it is reduced to its fundamental elements. I look for clearness and accuracy in the general concept but also in the image, which must convey an idea although it should be open to other semantic


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interpretation. This essentialness in the image is silence which, to me, is an important condition for its reading by the viewer. “Octiens”, “Journey’s End”, “Lava Walks” are works of powerful impression, seeming to express an odd sensation of no man’s land solitude. Is it a matter of inception imagery? Did you ever think of them as documentation for an extraordinary appearance after a re-booted world? I find it surprising and somewhat of a compliment you think these works as documentation for a rebooted world. In fact, I have never been really aware of this. When I make or select images, I try to focus on their symbolic or poetic dimension, beyond representation. If the content of the image can be enlarged by this dimension, the image doesn’t need the superfluous. (Maybe this is a defence against the profusion of images that overwhelm us nowadays).

In “H.”, you create a synaesthesia between sensations deeply embedded in your recollection and facts, employing thoughts and textures like intimate personal belongings, letters and ancient images printed on art paper. Is this project a link between the unstained internal memory and the external physical facts transitioning your condition? Did this project have a cathartic attempt? “H.” is an intimate written and photographic discourse that revisits an internal space of loss and tries to create a place of rescue. In this sense one can say that the work had a cathartic character. For me, as an artist, “H.” enabled me though to work on issues such as the passing of time, memory, permanence and impermanence, and equate the (im) possibility of representation. Through writing I was searching for the traces of this “sacred, intangible, internal” memory (diary writings) of my missing mother, while I used photography as an intermediate medium to an approach to my mother’s own memory - photographs,

letters and personal belongings that she herself had carefully saved. In this procedure I came across the inevitability of a transmission line. Returning to “Octiens”, the work employing symbols, you state that the work was gra(du)ally becoming a manifest, in a blended atmosphere of reason and sensitivity, historical facts and myths. Which was your function, as an artist, in this process? “Octiens” resulted from an invitation that became a challenge: to start from a theme, the story of the Templars, and build a project for a specific location, the major and central root of the Templar architecture in Portugal - the Convent of Christ. The work, which captures a ritual action performed by me in the convent itself – 8 light actions over a chalice – involved historical research and the study of symbology. Perhaps due to the nature of the work, I paid much attention to the development of the creative/constructive process, in which I found so many signs and clues. It’s a long story … that goes far beyond

Journey's End (2)

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research. “Octiens” is not just a set of photographic images. “Octiens” is the whole process.

In my opinion, art’s goal should be creation, experimentation and not necessarily healing, although sometimes it also works that way.

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In almost all of your projects, the vision of the journey appears recurrently. With multiple facets, it's sometimes related to an assumed cliché of a world in continuous movement, an internal introspection, a travel in time?…Which is, for you, the most suitable definition of this concept? To me, “journey” is an all-encompassing concept – it is philosophical, literary, historical, metaphysic... - and underlies most of life’s experiences I try to capture in a variety of ways. I believe, however, that my work has always included a meditative component, which manifests itself even during movement. I interpret the tendency for fragmentation / serialization (e.g. series Octiens and Lava Walks) as a relation to narrative time, maybe given to my initial connection to literature. But all journeys are internal before being external. After Portugal, France and Iceland, where will your future projects lead your steps? The project I’ve started recently does not take me abroad; on the contrary, it takes me home, to my hometown transformed by the ravages of time and the vertigo of profit. I am going to work with memory again, maybe in a different formal direction by associating other techniques with photography.


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Octiens

How do you suggest a noncommercial artist should stay connected to the art world, maintaining at the same time an intimate vision of the artistic process? The world of contemporary art is characterized by multiplicity and constant transformation. What is now “new” shall no longer be “new” tomorrow. I think an artist should not chase trends, although his/her concern should be to transmit to his/

her epoch. The artwork should always include meditation on its meaning and relevance. This reflection must be dialectic, and implement dialogue between Self and Other, private and public, individual and collective. Without any doubts, art is the wildfire of your life. But still, do you sometimes prefer to spend your time doing other activities? Whenever possible, I try to be in close

contact with contemporary thought and creation, not only through art exhibitions, as well as readings, lectures, shows, but also through the contact with other artists. Contemporary production is vast, information is huge and it is impossible for us to be permanently updated. As creators, we must set limits and take time for ourselves. That’s why I often look for situations that can provide silence to me. Music, poetry and nature have been my allies. 

Lava Walks (2)

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TOKIO, PRAGUE, BUCHAREST by Cătălina Coșoiu

Tets Ohnari is a Japanese artist living in the Czech Republic. He visits Romania once in a while and has already exhibited his works twice in Bucharest.

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ets, how come you are living in the Czech Republic? Do you like Europe? What about Eastern Europe?

Honestly I didn’t actually have a specific reason for choosing the Czech Republic , it is as impossible for me to answer as if you were asking me why I have chosen my girlfriend over so many other girls; you may call it destiny, you may call it accident. I first came to the Czech Republic in 2005 to study for two years at the Art Academy in Prague while at the same I was a student at a Master’s programme at the Academy in Tokyo, Japan. From 2005 to 2008 I studied in Tokyo and starting with 2005, until 2007 I also studied in Prague. It was not really an

exchange programme for students, but something similar. Nowadays, after having lived both in the Czech Republic and in other European countries, I was able to sense more differences between the Eastern and Western Europe, between the Czech Republic and the other east European countries, so the answer to your question if I like Europe would be that I do, and that I believe my life in Europe is better now than it would be in Japan. If you ask me if I like Eastern Europe, I would say I don’t, from certain points of view, even though I have more fun here and feel free, which also makes me say that I do. An advantage of the Czech Republic is that it lies at the centre of Europe, so it makes travelling for art performances much easier.


 TO K IO, PR AGU E, B U CHARE S T

I have visited your portofolio on your web site and I have noticed so many sculptures, which makes me ask: are you a sculptor, do you consider yourself to be a sculptor? I am asking this stupid question because seeing your last exhibition in Bucharest made me think that it brought novelty as far as space, light, glass and graphics are concerned and I didn’t picture you as specialized in sculpture at a first glance. Yes, I see myself as a “Sculptor”. I have thought about this designation when I wanted to have my visit cards made. Then I thought that it was cooler to be called a “Sculptor” than an “Artist” and so on. Studying sculpture brings me so many possibilities, from contemplating the space I use, to the material and improving the technique for making artworks. So I feel capable of specializing in anything. After studying sculpture, I feel I can do anything at all! Before discussing about your recent exhibition in Bucharest, which I

believe was your last project, let us talk about your art in general. You make monumental art for public spaces, parks and natural environments, land art and also small objects and installations. For instance, I have learnt that „Make , be made” is at Horice, in the Czeh Republic. How come you make this works? Do you have orders, do you take part in contests and symposia? Yes, I often participate in Sculpture Symposia, Artist-in-Residence programs, competitions and so on. In the case of Horice, the Czech Republic, I applied for this symposium one year before the opening. I seemed to be lucky and corresponded to their objective, so I was accepted and received this place, stayed for one month and made the artwork. They paid me a certain amount of money and I donated my work to the town. They will keep the work as long as possible in the name of culture and art. I was create to make a large scale work and have the space to make it public. Chances like this one only mean the

opportunity to create a large work, but I simply cannot make my works without having big orders like this one. Therefore I spend much more time at home, on my PC, trying to get some orders than I do sculpting. I can see that almost all of your works are based on a duality: empty and solid, darkness and light, up and down, micro and macro. How do you see this dialectics and why this approch to space and shape? True, almost all of my works exposed such a dualistic or symmetrical approach. One pair of things, something and its opposite form of existence, the same shape or form but undergoing a different process, front side and back side, these are the thoughts that are always encompassed in my concept. For example, in my artwork “line and space”(the exhibition in Atelier35, Bucharest, 2009), I exposed one pair of glass works. One appears as the centre of the space, the other as an installation around the former. What I wanted to make, be made Horice, sand stone, 150 x 420 x 380cm, 2006

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line and space 82 glass, 2009


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to see “ Trying things from different points of view, trying to show the invisible – these seem to be the perspectives in my approach.

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manebi, glass, mirror, epoxy, 57x127x5cm x 2 pieces, 2010

show was not necessarily the world map based on social borders, but simply the meaning of Line and of the Space divided by the line. For example, when you mark a line on a paper, the line will normally be recognized, but you can see at the same time two spaces that come into being divided by that line. The empty space which did not have any meaning before received a meaning by drawing that line. Besides, when you create something around an empty space which is supposed to have no meaning, that space suddenly earns a certain meaning, even though there is nothing directly tangible. Trying to see things from different points of view, trying to show the invisible - these seem to be the perspectives in my approach. Why are you so fond of symmetry? Because the symmetric approach would reveal less from the artist’s emotions or impressions and would appear rather like a showcase or 84

a piece in a historical museum, or even like displaying vegetables in the supermarket. I want to show the reality just the way things are going on, and not my “heart and emotion”. So the symmetry seems to be the right way for me. First of all, dualism in artworks is a way to show that things always have two sides. By creating them in a funny or inconsistent way, I want people to realise that this kind of dialectics and the simple view from the opposite angle are not too profound approaches on the world, because the world will never resume to only two sides: yes or no, A or B; it can always have three sides or even be limitless. That means I actually hate dualism, this way of thinking.

foundation. In other works you use huge volumes of materials and also fragmented, broken material, small pieces of material to create shapes. In your last projects in glass I have seen that you use broken material just as it is, spread at the basement of the artwork or as a foundation for your installation. What is the meaning for your using this type of materials when creating an artwork? Can you define Make and Break? It is still impossible to me to define “Make” and “Break”, and that is the specific reason why I still enjoy it. But I am starting to understand a little bit more that Making is somehow breaking, Breaking is somehow Making. And “Re-making” or say “Re-breaking” can be very important to define them.

It is rather awkward, because unlike anyone I have ever seen before, many of the foundations of your works are made of material fragments, and the work in itself seems heavier than the its

Do you recycle waste material? Yes, I recycle material. And I don’t want to waste and disrespect materials. I believe you must show the same respect when it comes to ”small pieces of stone“ (which are called waste


like-glassglass, LED light, wire, 400x350x350cm, 2010


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material) and the remaining “massive material” (called the main material). The duality goes further in your visions: your expression circles around original and replica, form and the reconstruction of the form. Can you share a little bit about the concept of your installation “0” you exhibited in 2007 in the Josefa Adamce Gallery in Prague and maybe something about your works “Reconstruction” that you included in your exhibition at Atelier 35 this winter? At that time, it was more like a visual effect that I wanted to give to my work, making it look like an “original and a replica”. The concept is the first to gain shape and thus I have tried to match space and the idea of twins, pair and symmetry. The work I named “0” in 2007 was made in the Josefa Adamce Gallery, Prague. The space I had at my service is a historical building and was used as a saloon even by Franz Kafka, so the people want this space to be preserved for as long as possible. But I felt that before the building was built there must have been a certain form of life, some houses, a natural environment, something must have been erased in order to build this building. That is what I wanted to show. I tried to illustrate that something goes on living in there, like a ghost which pictures the past. Technically, I entered the room at midnight and casted the whole ceiling in silicon, then in plastic and then I broke it. The artwork was made in 2007, so three years have passed before the exhibition in Atelier35, organized by H’art gallery, but there are certainly some conceptual connections, just like you said, such as duality or original and replica. What does Origami have to do with the conservation of mass? A theme like origami is just a sample of the fact that things are changing, they are in transformation and so change their appearance. I wanted to show two objects, different in shape but with the same volume. The glass that has a graved line on the back is the development of this origami glass airplane in front of it. So these two 86

objects, the airplane and the glass sheet in the back use the exact same volume of material, except that the shape is much more different. Life seems to undergo so many changes; however, it does not change its capacity, the amount of life is always the same, even though it can never be the same. How does Japanese traditional art and culture influence you? The further I go with my creations, I realise that my aesthetics surely has its origins in the Japanese philosophy. My points of fascination, the beauty of emptiness, the silence of death, when life ends, are often to be found in the Japanese philosophy. Intention and randomness is another great theme in your art and I see from your written explanations that it is closely linked to the act of mimesis. I have seen some very fine studies of the human body you have done in your early yeras. However, your representative works, even if they are elaborate, seem rather abstract, philosophical. On the other hand, your written references speak about the process and the resorts of creation; some other times you also refer to your own feelings and thoughts during the process of making art… Despite all these philosophic-abstract appearances, you use mimesis very often. What is your opinion on mimesis? And how do you identify nature as randomness? The process of sculpting is as important as the result. This is the advantage of Fine Arts. The artist loses himself in his thoughts, travels to different worlds in his mind, free from anything, and then condenses this element into a single work. Sometimes, however,, or almost every time, I feel the urge of following the reality of the material, of time and I cannot help to change this idea. This usually happens because I think about things that are done in a humanist way and I don’t favour humanism. Humanism makes people funny, preposterous, just like humanist art is. In order to excuse myself (as a human) for the guilt I feel for destroying

(creating) material, using art as an excuse, I have managed to preserve a the style of imitating the texture of materials. Mimesis will eventually make me seem less original. So if art isn’t such a big thing, I am not so important You made experiments with twodimensional shapes or a kind of engraving (controled cracks). What is the role of using mirrors and light in this context? The reason why I use mirrors is simple, because the reflecting angle catches the glittering of the crack into the viewer’s eyes. I like showing the crack glittering, but for you to see shinning crack, light must shine from the back of the cracked glass when you look at it from the front. This is why I placed a mirror at the back of the glass when I hung it on wall like a painting. The mirror reflects natural light coming from the front and the work has a shining background as if I had placed a light source behind it. The LED light at edge of the glass brightens differently than the natural light, but it is also interesting because only the crack gets light, the window is still in the dark, which makes the crack burst into the dark. You use a lot of materials and techniques, traditional materials and old techniques for sculpture, but also new and original ones. Can you talk about your innovations? One of the reasons that make me continue making art is that it always gives me the possibility of having fun when I discover and invent something. It is very exciting and I cannot help smiling with satisfaction. For example, mixing epoxy and small pieces of stone to make shapes, which are impossible to create out of massive stone. Moreover, I studied for two years in the field, which in the end allowed me to master the technique of glass cracking (which means that I can control the breaking of the glass). As you may see it in the photo, the line of the world map was made using this cracking technique. My motivation doesn’t change, not even when I cook. I feel like making new combinations out of materials,


 TO K IO, PR AGU E, B U CHARE S T

want to show the reality just the way “ Ithings are going on, and not my “heart and emotion”. So the symmetry seems to be the right way for me.

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The law of conservation of mass No.1 and 2 glass, aluminum, copper, 34x52x35cm, 2010

Line and space, detail

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in 2010 I had an exhibition in Atelier35, organized by H’art. It was the result of the collaboration between these two art galleries. This year, 2011, I will work with the H’art gallery again to organize an exhibition in the H’art gallery in fall. I could have never imaged I could come to Bucharest so many times and even have an interview with a Romanian magazine!

san glass, flower, 78x40x40cm, 2010

which gives me great pleasure. I love mixing everything and sometimes I can really get to really cool inventions. So it is not all about making art, but also for the fun of it. Why did you choose Atelier 35 for two of your projects? Can you talk about the concepts and the curatorial projects of the exhibitions you had in Romania? I first got to know Atelier35 through my good Romanian friend, Vlad Ionescu (gallerist of Atelier35). He and I talked 88

about having an exhibition there in 2009. At the opening of this exhibition, I met the curator of H’art Gallery, Dan Popescu, and we discussed about having an exhibition at his gallery during the following year, 2010. Considering the conditions of his gallery and my project, I finally had an exhibition in Atelier35, organized by the H’art gallery. I wanted to spread broken glass pieces on the floor and the floor in the H’art gallery is made by wood; moreover, the room is very small. So my idea couldn’t fit in the space at the H’art. That is why

What does time mean to you? Can we find a representation of time in your works? What can you tell us about your future projects? “Time” has surely been the most important element since millions of years ago, for every man on earth. In order to represent it, I want to show the cycle of all creatures in their relation to time, therefore not only as far as people are concerned, but also wood, stone, even the wind or the rain. Contents change form and function in their next life. I have made a stone sculpture following this concept, “Life of circle” (2010, the Czech Republic) I carved a massive piece of stone to shape it like half of a sand glass. The process led to remainders from this stone, which I used to build the other half of the sandglass at the bottom, which I glued with concrete to the first one. Time and Art are two themes I usually cannot talk about. They are the theme of my life. As far as future projects are concerned, the first one is an exhibition in the H’art gallery during this year’s fall. I will exhibit stone sculptures. Next, I will have an exhibition in Tokyo the following year. There is a long story behind this exhibition. I was supposed to have an exhibition on the 18th of March this year. On the 9th of March I went back to Tokyo after many years. I transported a huge amount of glass works there for the exhibition, but on the 11th of March everything changed because of the earthquake. Many pieces got broken and we had to cancel the exhibition. So I will get my vengeance next year. Anyway, there are many things that I have to do, that I want to do. This is my motivation during all the time I spend doing art. 


Manebi glass, iron, LED light, 100x200x90cm x2, 2007

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“The artist is a pale imitation of the Creator” I should begin by clarifying two things:  I have a selective memory. I have few memories of works made by artists from my generation (say artists who graduated college the same year as I did), and those related to Costin Ioniță make up to about 40-50%.   I am not subjective. by Cătălina Coșoiu

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ou have been appreciated especially for your wooden works, even though you have works in many techniques. In fact, I think you can approach any technique. Where does this flexibility come from? I have worked with wood for a long time, but not because I like it particularly, but because it is a material that allows dynamic, thin, tracery shapes, it is light and resistant (though not weatherproof). It is a warm material that allows joints, assembling, disassembling and thus, the transportation of some largesized works. Lately, I have been combining wood in different colours, thus speculating not only colour,

but also the natural texture. It is a way of adding colour to the shape. I prefer intarsia, not fully agreeing with painting the shape. I think that a narrower freedom of expression allows one to have greater performance; it makes one cope with a difficult situation. I also believe that if one specializes in only one technique, little by little, one starts to repeat oneself and expression stereotypes appear. Many call it style. I personally think there is nothing old and nothing new, only nature surrounding us and offering us inexhaustible sources of inspiration. The artist is a pale imitation of the Creator, and s/he plays in his/her own lab.

You approach figurative themes. Why? What does figurative mean to you? How do you oppose this to the abstract? I find the distinction between figurative and abstract quite improper. I don’t think they can be separated. They intertwine and one cannot exist without the other, thus forming this wonderful world we live in and which few of us have the joy of contemplating. Maybe this is the role of the artist in society, to show others what already exists, but that, for some reasons, they cannot see. I personally see the world around me constantly moving. I would always choose dynamic shapes. Maybe because they are also inspired by nature, by what is 93


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alive, what moves and develops. Hence the theme of time... What is your relationship with time? Do you think you can define it as a relationship with yourself? The theme of time transcends most of my projects, a key-element present in the subconscious. Since we came into being, we have been aware of the passing of time and we have been raised in a world where there is a permanent struggle between life and death, and the mission of the artist has many times been that of immortalizing. I think I am also a part of the group of “immortalizers”. Hence the fascination for the dynamic, for movement, be it enclosed in the shape or determined by it. What would be the ideal working formula to function as a complete artist, with respect to the public and the environment where you exhibit your works? What would motivate you to bring your personal projects to completion? Christ, making of

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The projects that I consider are both extended and hard to execute. I like monumental art and I want to create it. I work alone and I am highly selfexigent, I often come back to the shape and I can’t let anyone work on it. This explains my not finishing projects, because in the meantime, others emerge and gain priority. Aside from these reasons there are others, among which the fact that any project must have purposefulness from the point of view of the destination. And when you create a monumental art, it becomes quite hard to finish it by yourself. I think each artist should have a manager, someone who lives by what he sells. Unfortunately, we live in a society where managers lack completely because there is no art market, and existing contemporary art galleries do not make a living out of what they sell, not even being able to cover their costs, not to mention making a profit. It is a vicious circle where those who create and try to sell art have nothing in common

with neither of the two; they close themselves behind walls of abstract terms, neglecting the bare essential: marketing and sales. I think that in order to mould and educate taste you have to be open and talk plain English to those interested. I refer to that category of people who, lacking alternative, count among the souvenir and ordinary decorations lovers. I think this is the target Galleries should have in mind, because profit was never ensured by the few. This could be a starting point, which would subsequently develop to an enlarged vision. You have orders. How do you manage them? Does any of this remind you of the working method of Renaissance artists? I am one of those who have to support themselves. And as an artist, you need many materials and all these gain proportions, especially when sculpting. I need financial support both for my personal life, because I do not believe


 “ The a rt i st i s a pa le i m i tat i o n o f t he Cr eator „

in creative suffering, and for my works, because quality art has never been made among trash or out of trash. So I work almost on any order I receive if my price is accepted. This way, half of the remaining time and money is available for personal projects. I do not believe this way of living affects my creativity, on the contrary, is places me in difficult situations which make me evolve and improve myself. I have always wanted to become a professional and that is why I have chosen only one field, even if I have extensive abilities. I believe that the moment you split yourself to cover more fields, chances are you will do nothing right. And the orders, regardless of their nature, put you in a situation where you test and improve your efficiency. You even discover new techniques. As I was working on an order I discovered welding, a technique I had never thought I would use. It seemed difficult, dangerous and dull. I couldn’t have been more wrong. That was of course a reaction when faced with the unknown but, being forced by the circumstances to leave the “cave” I was in, I discovered that “shadows projected on walls” were simple illusions. This is how works in welded iron came into being, with direct shaping from the electrode, without further mechanical interventions. The most recent work was also an order, for the Bellu Cemetery. So, we are talking about a funerary monument? I have never thought about that… I think it could fit anywhere… it has autonomy… This was a happy-end order, where the beneficiary has both taste, and is open to something new and of high quality. I see no problem in creating funerary monuments. It reminds me of the Renaissance, when the artist only worked on orders and still, museums are filled with masterpieces, most of them even funerary monuments. How do you see the status of the artist? I prefer the term professional to that of artist, because the latter has been unprecedentedly compromised.

Christ, making of

How do you feel about what is happening nowadays in contemporary art, as regards galleries and the public space? Would you rather stay here or leave the country? Unfortunately, we are dealing with the phenomenon of “reverse academic art”, where if you do not experiment, or create happenings and performances and many other things related to a “contemporary” way of expressing, you do not exist. It is quite awful when an imitator claims to be a prophet and, even worse, an opinion leader. In time, I have witnessed how really talented and honest people have been pushed aside from the artistic phenomenon to the point where it became impossible to them to recover and their place has been

taken by people built after the likeness of those who decide what happens to art. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t leave, especially now that the world is globalized, now, when you have access to information, materials, tools, absolutely everything you might wish for. Especially since I am not in the worst situation of all. I also believe in the dictum: A good farmer makes a good farm. In other words, I love the place I find myself in and the life I am living. I hate the system that I live in, but I am aware that nothing can be perfect; we have the duty to try to come closer to perfection and I think that, if everyone constantly worked on improving themselves, they would also change for better what happens around them.  95


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Christ, detail

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The disintegration of practical anatomy Florin Sidău transfigures man and represents him bluntly in his works, without any concealments or sweeteners. A cosmeticized world loses its magic and lets us discover the gross matter that lies at the basis of our daily universe, where illusions are far and wide and superficiality reigns. The young sculptor can see beyond the nakedness of contemporary life and unveil, in his deepest sincerity, the true face of man. by Elena Andrei

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culpture is a type of artistic expression that gives tangible 3D form to a very wide range of ideas, from the very abstract, up to the very realistic. The inner process generating the ideas that lie at the root of Florin Sidău’s works is actually an exterior process, because ideas emerge from certain occurrences in his life and even from the people he meets, from the people he runs into in the street. The social environment of his life generates these ideas. The creation of a work supposes certain stages, following certain steps that every artist sets in his own unique way. The young sculptor explains and prefigures the evolution of his artistic concept: First an idea is born, I scrutinize it, I modify it, and this idea generally stands as a starting point in developing other ideas, far better than the original one. I sometimes talk them over with my friends, my fellow colleagues to find out their opinion and reach a common denominator, in that my wish is that my work will not only be after my own

heart, but will also please those who see and touch it. Anyway, the idea is changed during the creation of a work or is taken farther than the initial conception. On the other hand, there are moments when I get good ideas than need no alteration and I transpose them directly into my works. During the last period I have used modelling clay as an intermediate step in the course of depicting my ideas, and then I translate clay into the end material I want. There is a deep connection between the sculptures and the artist creating them. In this case, there are three materials that manage to animate this connection most successfully – resin, glass fibre and auto body filler. These are the materials I have been using for almost 4 years now, but of course I like stone and wood as well; I think that I will combine them with resins in the future. For now, I find that resin is the most appropriate, if not the only material that allows me to bring my ideas into being, which wouldn’t be possible with different materials.


ď Ž The di si nt e g rat i o n o f pra ct i ca l an atomy

The man ho hears it all 2009, resin + glass fibre + auto body filler

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Manipulation 2008, transparent resin + auto body filler


 The di si nt e g rat i o n o f pra ct i ca l an atomy

Florin Sidău’s works seem an ironic, sometimes frightening, metaphor of the world we live in. They are not like this by pure chance, I actually want these works to be regarded as a manifest against man’s negative strivings that get back at him, starting with the purpose of making it young and perfect and ending with his self-destruction through his attitude, gestures, thoughts etc. Seeing all of this, my purpose is not to represent human nature as faithfully as possible, or to portray anatomy exactly as it is; the accent falls upon the concept within my works. In sculpture, the concept of slave has been represented in different ways throughout the centuries. The artist’s contemporary Slaves Series presents

the contemporary man, fighting intensely against society, the man who becomes a martyr, who no matter what problems he is having or what is happening to him, succeeds in adapting to changes (A slave in transition, 2010 and A slave in pink, 2010) but at the same time represents the type that refuses the change and becomes an unadapted (Bulimic slave, 2011). Two of the artist’s preferred sculptures are Slave in transition and Pretty woman, because they bring together all my points of interest: self-destruction, deformation, identity, dehumanization. His finds his inspiration in artists like Bruce Nauman, Gavin Turk, Jeff Koons, Kiki Smith, Patricia Piccinini, Maurizio Cattelan. They portray the human figure in a very ironical way, while they turn

to everyday subjects, political themes, deformations or transformations of the human body. Such elements are also to be found in Florin Sidău’s works. The young artist’s plans for in the future involve participating to as many exhibitions as possible, as well as a personal exhibition in Timișoara and a sculpture symposium in Denmark at the end of June. My spare time is dedicated to my works, to reading books in the plastic arts field, to watching art documentaries. I also enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, movies like Pulp Fiction, Inception, King’s Speech, Black Swan or Temple Grandin; as far as music is concerned, besides Bach and Chopin. I also like Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC DC, U2, Coldplay, Hooverphonic and many more others.  www.florinsidau.blogspot.com

Slave in transition 2010, resin + glass fibre + auto body filler

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Moth mixed technology, 30x24


If I want to see real freaks, all I have to do is look outside my window. Johnny Eck

SIAMESE –– ANTITHESES Art is a mistake! God is the Supreme Artist Who shaped the perfect original patterns and artists are only trying to imitate Him. The result of this striving is however imperfect. Man has therefore been gifted with the ability of reshaping, through art, the initial divine gesture, by giving new meanings to creations, because God is fond of diversity. That is why He created, for instance, several species of trees, that is why He gave Mimi Ciora the mind power to create, with talent and imagination, imaginary replicas of primordial worlds, governed by different rules, imposed by man’s emotions, fuelled by the beauty and the grotesque that man induced by mistake at the beginning of this millennium. by Victor Gingiu


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hings are not how they seem. We perceive some as beautiful, others as ugly. In your works these antithetical principles are combined harmoniously: they have the strength of expression characteristic to caricatures that almost reaches the grotesque, but at the same time there is a certain type of narrative delicacy that makes us go back to the fairytales in our childhood. Towards which of these aesthetical styles does the balance lean in your works? I can’t help hearing my mother telling me, when I would show her my drawings: “Yes, yes, very nice, but why do you draw people so ugly?” People are used to see pleasant things; if you’re zapping through TV channels and get to a shocking image, you instantly go to another channel, hoping that the next image will get the

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previous out of your mind. As far as my drawing style is concerned, I like to keep a balance between the two brims. I use the grotesque, but place it in a pleasant environment. I am inspired by the so-called “dark side of art”, by the styles deriving from punk psychedelic, retro- illustrative and underground art; I love cartoons, because they are full of joy and colours. If I created a humanly character and placed him in a pleasant world, the result would be ‘too’ perfect. This is the reason why I sometimes distort my character, by adding other anatomic fragments: another head, one extra or one less eye, pronged bodies and joint bodies, multiple hands. When I travel through my own world, I realize that it would be really sad if one only saw distorted characters, and it would be monotonous if one would journey through a perfect world. I

believe that the combination between ugly and beautiful creates a harmonious and expressive imaginary space. You often resort to symmetry in your compositions and your characters are frequently face to face, bi-cephalous or even Siamese. Are these following the Platonic concept of pre-existence or do you have your own philosophy in this sense? The composition is indeed structured in symmetry, whereby the central point of interest is at the same time the central character in my narration, which I often place in the front, which confers upon the whole image a mystical air. I have an appetite for curiosity, for bizarre things, which I have been feeding for a while now with my interest for monsters. I am fascinated by how they evolved from imaginary to reality,


 SIA MESE – A NT ITHE S E S Beauties mixed media, 30x30

up to the discovery and acceptance of human distortions, among which the conjunct twins are also to be counted. I am inspired about these tenebrous beings’ physiognomy, about every imperfection, every anomaly, they help me shape new anatomic fragments. Thus my characters’ bodies gain shape, but the main purpose is to find their interior balance. This thematic approach dominates current creations where we discover a blended human body and face, a double man, becoming wise thanks to his capacity to reach a balance between good and evil, male and female. It actually hides an inner fight, an inner portrait that aspires to perfection despite its imperfect physical aspect. When we view your works, should we search for a different meaning or do they stick to the plastic

expression of subtle inventiveness? The viewer tends to lose his interest in the complicated drawing of the embroideries if he tries to find a meaning and then the impact of the anatomic anomalies would fade away. As far as the function of the small structural elements is concerned, their role doesn’t resume to conferring expressivity to the work. Even though they are ornamental in nature, they manage to create a space that is parallel to that of the portraits; isolating the symbols from the characters draws attention to deciphering their meaning. The symbols I use refer to spirituality and equilibrium. Such an example would be the presence of the multiplied square, of the cube, which accentuates the idea of common eternal corporality. Your small three-dimensional objects have their surfaces

painted with scenes that resemble medallions; they are like toys that remind us of the Russian puppet “Matrioşka” and introduce us in a fairytale mood. Are they forays into the folkloric, regional-traditional or oneiric-personal dimension? Is there a connection between the objectcharacter and the built-in scene? Creating these objects has meant a new experience for me too, it is a form of expression that I will probably use more and more frequent. I typically like changes, I get bored very often, I am in a continuous search for new surfaces to draw on. I don’t even refrain from searching in the piles of objects abandoned along the roads... you can find things that inspire you in a flash. The images on three-dimensional surfaces take us in a representative world; their small dimensions allow them to refer in more different way to 105


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our environment and have their own micro-universe. You see a piece of wood and start wanting to change it in something very cheerful and colourful, or to find it some utility. Medallions can be worn and a lot of people enjoy them just as they enjoy a piece of art, and not like an ordinary handmade object. If there is a connection between the character and the scene, I must confess that the shape of the object gives me great inspiration, and I don’t change it, on the contrary, I try to highlight it through drawing, I try to place it in the world it should exist. Even though there is a common denominator of stylistic unity, the works in the “so oldies” series are constructed exactly like an almost chaotic combination of characters, textures, initials or slam texts, 106

collated paper overlays, which can look like apples, eyes or geometrical shapes, in gray or intense colours. The last creations in the “bugs, bees & butterflies” series still have an Oriental, harmonious appearance, outlined by the very mimics of the characters, and the predilection for the laced garnishments. Can you tell us something about the concept of these series? Part of the works is included in a series I called “Vechituri” (“Old stuff”), where I grouped the works that I created throughout a number of years. This is the new beginning of my artistic demarche; they are the first pieces of a research generated by my interest for the human face. One can find here collages, texts, and representational images; all of them have helped me define my personal style and opened

my appetite for the representational. I always smile when I see these works, the world they depict is actually my own world, conveyed and perceived through the imaginative. As far as my last works are concerned, things are getting a bit more serious. The previous drawings have built a more solid concept, have simplified my plastic expression and made it more relevant; they have generated new themes that I want to explore more profoundly. If the first drawings display two characters that make us think of a world of illustrations, of cartoons, the last series doesn’t share the same characteristics anymore. The stylistic simplification I mentioned earlier led to a much clearer message and a stronger impact on the viewer. The symbol of the eye that I used


 SIA MESE – A NT ITHE S E S

The fly mixed media, 30x30

throughout my whole creation appears in this series as well, with the role of the third eye. It does not surface as the main element of a portrait; we can discover and integrate it with the other sensory organs – in the palm of the hand, whereby the tactile sense is blended with the visual sense. The eye, the organ of visual perception, is naturally the symbol of intellectual perception. A body enables a multitude of depictions. I have given a great importance to each character’s apparel and laced garnishments. In some

cases, the apparel will be completely integrated in the human body, meaning that the apparel will outline the anatomic shape of the character. In other cases, it can appear as a substitute of the hair, or as a necklace, Irrespective of its role, the garnishment is a symbol of the spiritual activity, a visible form of the inner man. The garnishment expresses a symbolic relation to the deep spirituality of each character and highlights the soul, even if the distorted physical aspect is not worthy to cover it.  107


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EXPLORATIONS, SETTINGS, RESETTINGS

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ď Ž EX PLO R ATIO NS, SETTINGS, R ES E TTING S

An artist is or is supposed to be a representative of his/her own time, which means that his/her range of expression shall be assorted and comprise a multitude of experiences pertaining to limitless artistic areas, that s/he keeps in touch with the present trends and discoveries in the technical and conceptual fields, that s/he observes and grasps the pulse of society. However, these aspects are not sufficient, because a good artist is furthermore a visionary, who acts not just as a fine observer of contemporary emanations and occurring events, but also, just as Lilliana Mercioiu shows us, as an entity trying to express oneself in this context. by Victor Gingiu

What about you? text installation, 2,50x3,50cm, 2011

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ou are a trained painter, a polyvalent artist when it comes to plastic approach, in a continuous search not only as far as painting is concerned, but also photography, installation, objects, action. Can these be considered osmotic experiences that mould your artistic profile or rather stages in an exploration that precedes painting? Not all of these forms of artistic expression can be considered explorations preceding painting, because most of them are autonomous. I sometimes use photography in painting as a starting point, but my artistic demarche does

Structure 3 acrylic and collage on canvas, 50x60cm, 2011

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not consist of a simple rendering, but of the processing of the information I have managed to capture in the photographs. I believe that this tendency of expressing myself in so many different ways is more likely to pertain to a certain attraction for each of these media, as well as to certain circumstances in my vocational education. For instance, I have the tendency of performing spatially, based on some experiences in sculpture, a field that I have studied mainly in highschool, during the classes of a sculpture section. In the years to follow, as a student of Professor Constantin Flondor and

afterwards as an assistant lecturer, I felt that not only my passion for painting was fuelled, but at the same time my experimental side of representation was enhanced, as well as the attraction to new media, such as video-recording and photography. After the Revolution, TimiĹ&#x;oara went through a quite febrile period, from a cultural point of view, more active than I see it today: there were festivals (e.g. Zona Performance Festival), Romanian and Foreign Contemporary Art exhibitions, which showed a mind opening towards all these new approaches. These events were usually organized on the initiative of Mrs. Ileana Pintilie, who was always devoted


 EX PLO R ATIO NS, SETTINGS, R ES E TTING S

Ellipsis text installation, 3x4m, 2001

to such demarches. I trust that these events also had their share of influence and that all of these experiences probably work together in a certain way. In your last personal exhibition called “What about you?” you displayed photos of architectural vestiges dating from the Communist period next to paintings that seem abstract. Is there a connection between them? There is a certain connection between them, but of the cause-effect type. This time, the photographs are not backing up the painting, are not a visual starting point, meant to be valued in relation to the paintings, but have a separate life, even though several visual analogies can be recognised between them. The ideas resulting in the photographs have thus triggered others in the paintings. The latter are at the antipode of the former, representing in essence the need to search for certain strong points in order to reach the individual equilibrium. This explains the analysis of the internal structures of the human body, such as the blood, lymphatic, nervous system or the analysis of the

DNA structure, which aggraded in the pictures displayed up to that moment, whereby all examples show an amazing functionality. In this exhibition I managed to reunite both tendencies of my self-expression: conceptual art and abstract painting, of which I have been very afraid so far. I used to have the feeling, caused by certain reactions in my background, that I had to choose between the two, but I was surprised to see that they can become coherent together, even communicative. When you chose vestiges as your theme for the photographs, did your feelings resemble those of the Romantic painters, did you feel nostalgic after a period you experienced, or did these constructions, turned into ruins of your own civilization, generate feelings similar to protest? They did generate certain reflexions on the persistence within our urban landscape of many visible features of Communism, such as these concrete pillars supporting the city’s pipelines, as well as various buildings – precast blocks, derisory plants and factories,

scattered all around the country following the mostly damaging industrialisation / urbanification – and their invisible effects on the human psychology. In Timişoara, supermarkets have sprung out of such wrecks and nobody seems to be bothered by their vicinity. They only bring back unpleasant memories and make me feel powerless; unfortunately, they don’t urge me to protest. Abroad, art can have the power to draw the attention on certain social flaws, but there is also a public reaction supported by the mass-media. Even though such a demarche was also deemed a utopia, in my opinion it is very helpful when the civil society takes a stand. I won’t delude myself, however, into believing that my isolated protest might actually produce any effects, I usually react on the spur of the moment, without thinking too much about the possible impacts; I just feel that there are things worth showing, worth reflecting upon. The name I chose for this photographic mesh, Vestiges, has suggested itself after I had taken the photographs; therefore 113


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Actions text installation, variable dimension, 29x39x40cm, 2011

it is not a theme that I had set as a starting point. When I saw those concrete structures, I thought that they had such a visual strength and the ability to influence our psychology without even letting us know. When we go visit a city in the West, we cannot help but be impressed by the beauty therein, the coherence, the complete harmony, which encompasses the old and the new architecture, the nature etc., which also succeeds in conveying us a state of well-being. By naming these concrete structures Vestiges I also had in mind the irony that they are long-lasting in our country just as the effects of Communism still persist in our background and in our subconscious. There are many unpleasant aspects of urbanism, one could easily see them by comparing the colour palette from one city in Romania and the one in a city from abroad, and we really don’t have to look very far; in our neighbours’ countries things have already started to work… 114

Not to mention urbanification plans, the giant buildings being erected, things which are so familiar, but still unchanged. Are there certain similarities between the approach in your photographs and the one in the Dadaists’ photomontage or between the combine-paintings of Robert Rauchemberg and your “paintphoto-objects”? I wouldn’t make such associations. Such works in a “pure” photography environment (like Vestiges, Metallic structures or Subtleties), are more likely to be associated with artistic photography (using photography as an environment for creating conceptual works) and the ,,paint-photo-objects” have emerged in conjunction with my painting experiences, they are practically synonyms, but for the outer space journey, and do not include other material insertion except for the photographs I modified with encaustic, valued technique and canvas painting.

In photographic works I use conceptual procedures, cutting from the actual reality similar aspects of the same reality that has become somewhat perpetual, which led to the need to display them modularly. In Subtleties for instance, I captured all undergroundfloor windows that I ran into along the way from work to home. Chance made it so that I had to retrace my steps 10 years later, which allowed me to notice that not many had been changed in the mean time on the field. This type of works spark my interest more in the way they are presented (their artistic mesh) that supports, outlines certain feelings and resulting ideas, than in the possible plastic and technical speculations associated with other media; they are representative enough as they are. The topics you choose to approach postulate an examination of the objectual reality, from the mineral, organic, vegetal dimension, to the human one, with the “living”


ď Ž EX PLO R ATIO NS, SETTINGS, R ES E TTING S

“

To me, colour is not a purpose in itself, I simply use it in relation with what I need to express.

ËŽ

series. Are they Gnostic in nature, ontological or of a different kind? As I was saying, I believe that there are two major trends within my artistic demarche, a conceptual one, referring to the immediate reality (irrespective of the used medium) and an abstract one / practical one, ontological if you like, referring to something more difficult to perceive, but real. However, irrespective of the situation, the feeling that everything happens with a purpose, that the world revolves according to well determined coordinates still lingers. Contrary to certain examples in the history of art and to some prejudices that are more likely to be uttered in the Romanian art, according to which one must have a clear standing, I personally

Structure 1 acrylic and collage on canvas, 50x60 cm, 2011

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believe that the two directions are not excluding each other, but complement one another, and we could also name some examples, such as Joseph Beuys’ creation. You prefer painting in colourful greys, which value the saturated colour and thus are offered certain orphic sonority. Is this just a plastic method you apply in you study of colour theory or does it have a meaning that coincides with your perception of the world? To me, colour is not a purpose in itself, I simply use it in relation with what I need to express. I can also perceive the culminating dissonancy of this world, but it is a matter of option, whether I choose to perpetuate it or not… I believe we are surrounded by more dissonancy than necessary. Why this need for conceptual expression? Does it enable you more Interior Fluid acrylic on canvas, 50x170cm, 2011

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freedom in your plastic approach or regarding the contents of your work? Both, they do not exclude one another in my opinion. We are talking however about another type of plasticity, more contained, as it usually happens to me with painting, but I don’t understand them as a restriction, but as a sufficiency. I couldn’t work starting from the mere pretext of plasticity, or the exacerbation of plasticity… It is a fact that conceptual art, at least during its beginnings, was focused on accentuating the concept as far as to cancel its concrete illustration, but it was clear it couldn’t follow that extreme path for too long, because what makes ideas to be reconsidered again and again is enhanced by or thanks to materiality and especially under its influence, as it happened in my case. The visual strength of image in plastic arts cannot be disputed, but the

notions referring to what it implies nowadays have developed to a far extent. Could you share something from the multitude of you actions with us? Is there a general concept of you actions, a path you are following or are they stimulated by certain casuistry? If you refer to the images I posted on my site under this generic term, this is just a temporary approach… I cannot practically call it a performance, even though some of the subsequent works, such as Subtleties or even Vestiges, could imply a factual development. They were created on the spur of the moment and I think this is the main reason why they answer to a type of authenticity that makes them deserve to be well kept. They represented the first impulse towards conceptual development, documented in photographs.


 EX PLO R ATIO NS, SETTINGS, R ES E TTING S

They were practically some exercises to join different materials, for instance a piece of rusted metal sheet from an improvised fence with uprooted grass clumps, with the sole purpose to catch a glimpse of the resulting ideas and feelings. These exercises helped me understand that art is not necessarily about using a medium, a technique, a working method, but about using any kind of material you may think of as having artistic potential and the ability to convey something, in a given or created environment. When I reattached new branches to a tree with no more branches left, as you may see in one of the pictures, I felt it as a symbolic act, which was necessary for me at the time. I wouldn’t want to burden things with a gist that is greater than their original one, therefore there was no preconceived intention that I thoroughly elaborated, I simply looked around.

You are a founding member of the IN-FORMAT (In-formed) Group. Could you give us some details on this group’s program? We shared the common wish to let ourselves be challenged by what happens around us every day, without borrowing ideas or constructing them ourselves, simply by letting us be influenced by the events. In 2001, the Group was the first association of young graduates in Timişoara since the reestablishment of the Faculty with the purpose of creating common projects and exhibitions. Unfortunately, we didn’t last too long as a group, but we did have a first exhibition that seemed very promising at the time. A possible explanation for the group’s dissolution would be that it was the result of a too soon success, another might actually be the very influence of events, which determined us to engage in pragmatic preoccupations that were too challenging.

What should be the most important aspect of a piece of art, in your opinion: the execution, the message, the originality? As far as your own work is concerned, what makes you different from the other artists? I believe all elements are important, it is only a matter of weight, I don’t think only one of them should be the decisively most important. I haven’t exactly decided to be different; I just want to be me, to do things that I enjoy and that I need to do, the differences are inherent. This doesn’t mean that there are no benchmarks, whether close or far, that I don’t refer to what is happening today in art, but when you don’t have the specific intention to follow a trend, you can’t help but being different. I feel that my demarche is quite particular in Timişoara, therefore I must be quite different. 

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PAVILION RESOURCE ROOM

P

AVILION RESOURCE ROOM functions as a theoretical and informational framework for the three instruments of critical thinking generated by the Pavilion organization: PAVILION journal for politics and culture, BUCHAREST BIENNALE and PAVILION UNICREDIT Center for Contemporary Art and Culture. As the only permanent project of PAVILION UNICREDIT Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, PRR singles out in numerous ways as the very core of the center’s activity. It would be both difficult, and unfair to simply call this project a library or an archive. Structurally, it borrows characteristics from both concepts, but conceptually it draws away from both informational entities. Its identity resides in the subjective input, selection, contents, expansion and evolution, location and goals. On the one hand, it serves the organization that generated it while, on the other hand, it serves the organization’s public, through its educational approach and means. PAVILION RESOURCE ROOM was developed by Răzvan Ion and Eugen Rădescu, the founders of the organization, as a space dedicated to informational and theoretical resources 118

within PAVILION UNICREDIT. As far as its architecture is concerned, it is located in the center of Pavilion Unicredit, as if it tried to make a statement for promoting a theoretical and critical type of discourse, which is missing not only from the public sphere, but also from the academic realm of Romania’s classical and conservative educational system. Its location also underlines the connection between the activities included in the organization’s program and their theoretical bases. Practically,

it is an essential requirement that every project developed in this center relate with the PRR, thanks to its weighty physical and informational authority. The global concept started with the personal collection of books, publications, anthologies and magazines of Răzvan Ion and Eugen Rădescu who lent their own perspective to the PRR through the selection of articles they donated, which they thought might be of interest to the Romanian public as well as representative for the Romanian contemporary culture.


 PAVILIO N R ESO U R CE ROOM

From this point of view PRR appears as a depiction of the organization’s mission statement and beliefs, combining in a theoretical, analytical and rarely representational format not only the documentation and argumentation of the activities within the organizational program, but also the research process behind these activities, the sources of inspiration

and terms of comparison. While PRR started with about 1000 publications, as an ongoing project, it has now reached almost 4000 entries, which are entirely available to the public, organized according to approached themes and topics, and presented in a format that is relevant to the organization’s goals. Together with the FREE ACADEMY and

the PAVILION educational program, PRR represents one of the pillars of the educational platform of the Romanian society as regards critical thinking and free speech, which at the same time documents contemporary culture in a format available at international level. by Andrei Crăciun http://www.pavilionunicredit.org

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ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

MNAC, Bucharest

Marilena Preda Sânc, Utopii/Cotidiene, Crossing Self-Histories 1981-2011 23rd of July 2011 - 25th of September 2011


ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

Atelier 030202, Bucharest

POINT 5th of July 2011 - 5th of August 2011

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ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

Atelier 030202, Bucharest

MIX and MATCH 10th-30th of June 2011


ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

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etouched, re-valued, visual textures, an assault on 3D and especially on the transiency of the image in the era of Homo Videns – this is, on a fast-forward and fast-backward view, the essence of a unique exhibition in Romania which presented in the Atelier 030202 Gallery in Bucharest, under the coordination of visual artist Mihai Zgondoiu, the artworks of some of the most spontaneous and best performers in the Art of Collage, visual artists from the New Zealand, Germany and the United States of America. An event about the path that mixing and fragmenting follows in art, in a world with less and less pure artistic genres, in a world of interchangeable and anti-canonical ideologies and aesthetical semantics. A terrible transfer of creative energies – this was the feeling that I, as a viewer, felt at the exhibition „MIX and MATCH”, in the Atelier 030202 in Bucharest, open until the 30th of June 2011, a project unveiling the works of a group of artists for whom collage has not become a mere stylistic

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approach, but a way of reconfiguring the moment and the real. Christoph Rodde, Michael Goering, Kath Greenberg, Arrin Fancher, Chambliss Giobbi, Peter Gordan, Peter Lewis, Petula Bloomfield, Margaret Noel, Ryan Sarah Murphy, Matt Phillips, Suzanne Gonzales-Smith, all artists from the New Zealand, Germany and the United States of America, have joined their artworks born out of the assumption of fragment and deconstruction in an exhibition organized by Klaus Postler, curator, American artist, cofounder of the Alternative Gallery “One Step Beyond”, in Brattleboro, Vermont, an artist interested both in European Art and in the specific tendencies of artworks in a globalised world. The art of collage calls for a fine listening sense to detect the special reverberation of a fragment capable of triggering a new creating process. A fragment that can make you deaf through its force of outburst: „Mix me!”. These artists’ working manners are anything but serial; on the contrary, they have the capacity of building inner mechanisms, phantasms and image.

The „Maria” portraits signed by Susan Gonzales Smith are outstanding due to the force employed by „Mix me!”. The minuteness of details gives the portrait a radiant force. Matt Philips re-geometrizes the relation between shapes and colours by collating multiple lines. The result turns out as a visual matrix and a transcending poetic feeling at the same time. Peter Gordon makes a hypostasis of a postmodern deux ex machina, descending into the world of accounting, a world of big and small numbers, with the purpose of becoming embodied in a stag, and assuming all of its eschatological meaning. Petula Bloomfield practices a sin-aesthetic matrix of a being living under permanent dualities: beam corpuscle, light - dark, affectionate - cerebral. „Flight or fancy” is one of the most heart-stirring works in the exhibition in Atelier 030202. Devastating fragments through fragment, „Mix and Match” is one of the artistic events of the year 2011 in Romania!  by Dan Mircea Cipariu


ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

Cafe Verona, Libraria Carturesti,

Carmen Acsinte, A city in a room 6th-24th of June 2011


ArtClue – Ea s ter n E u r o p e A r t M a g a z i n e – s u m m e r 20 1 1

Atelier 35

Erin Tjin A Ton, Mobile Inventory 12th-14th of May 2011


Partners

Anaid Art Gallery Str. Slobozia, nr. 34, Bucureşti Program de vizitare Luni - Vineri: 11 - 19 Sâmbătă: 10 - 18 contact@anaidart.ro www.anaidart.ro

Galeria Calina Str. Mărăşeşti, nr. 1-3, Timişoara Program de vizitare Luni-Vineri: 10 - 18 Sâmbată: 11 - 15 www.calina.ro

Str. Icoanei, nr. 17, Bucureşti Program de vizitare Marţi, Joi, Vineri: 17 - 21 Sâmbată: 13 - 21 bucuresti@recyclenest.ro www.recyclenest.ro

Galeria Jecza Atelier 030202

Str. Sfânta Vineri, nr. 11, Bucureşti Program de vizitare Luni - Duminică: 10 - 16 atelier030202.blogspot.com

Atelier 35

Calea Martirilor, nr. 51/45, Timişoara jecza@jeczagallery.com www.jeczagallery.com

Str. Şelari, nr. 13, Bucureşti Program de vizitare Miercuri-Duminică: 15 - 21 contact@atelier35.eu www.atelier35.eu

www.experimentalproject.ro

Galeria Laika

Str. Henri Barbusse, nr. 59-61, etaj 3 Cluj Napoca, Tel: +40745438316 Marţi – Sâmbătă: 14-18 info@laika.ro

European Art Gallery Str. Regina Maria, nr. 18, Bucureşti Program de vizitare Marţi - Sâmbătă: 14.00 - 19:30 tereza.anton@eagallery.ro www.eagallery.ro

Str. Biserica Enei, nr.16, sector 1, Bucureşti office@pplus4.ro


concursbd.blogspot.com

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