December 5, 2019 - Institute of the Present - 24 Arguments
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December 5, 2019

Institute of the Present

Left: Pavel Ilie, Object, 1971. Wicker. Photo: Eugeniu Lupu. Right: Pavel Ilie, Twings (sculpture), 1971. Wicker. Photo: Eugeniu Lupu.

24 Arguments
Early Encounters in Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde 1969–1971
November 7, 2019–February 2, 2020

Genesis (performance): December 8, 4pm; January 25, 5pm
Lecture: January 23, 7pm, Richard Demarco & Arthur Watson
Lecture: January 30, 7pm, Viviana Iacob

National Museum of Art of Romania
49-53 Calea Victoriei
010063 Bucharest
Romania

institutulprezentului.ro
www.mnar.arts.ro
Facebook / Instagram

Artists: Horia Bernea, Ion Bitzan, Liviu Ciulei, Radu Dragomirescu, Șerban Epure, Pavel Ilie, Ritzi Jacobi, Peter Jacobi, Ovidiu Maitec, Paul Neagu, Miriam Răducanu, Diet Sayler, Radu Stoica, Vladimir Șetran, Sigma Group

The Institute of the Present is a research and an artist resource platform founded in Bucharest. The exhibition 24 Arguments. Early Encounters in Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde 1969–1971 is the first event of a cycle dedicated to the visual and performing arts of the 1960s and 1970s in Romania. The exhibition emerged from the research conducted in the Demarco archives of Edinburgh, which reveals, in hindsight, the presence of a series of forgotten narratives, some fragmented, other impossible to reassemble in their original temporal flow. Such narratives have, however, the capacity to evoke the existence of certain fractures in the apparently homogenous structure of the cultural landscape of that time, of certain trans-national contact areas not only with the West, but also with other Socialist worlds.

Starting from the interest of the Scottish promoter Richard Demarco in establishing a dialogue with the artistic milieus of Eastern Europe, which began with the exhibition 16 Polish Painters in 1967 and, particularly with Romania, the exhibition centres upon the experiences of Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde at the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Benchmarks of this route are the 1969 exhibition 4 Romanian Artists (Ion Bitzan, Ritzi Jacobi, Peter Jacobi, Paul Neagu), which travelled from the Bauzentrum Hamburg to the Demarco Gallery, and the 1971 exhibition Romanian Art Today, presented as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, designed in association with events that featured the most recent tendecies in Romanian theatre, poetry and dance.

The brief, but intense history of the encounters between the Romanian art and the Richard Demarco Gallery mirrors a number of pursuits, interests and possibilities occurring at the institutional level due to the shifts in Romania’s foreign affairs policy of the time. Furthermore, this micro-history captures the paradigm shift in the visual and performing arts after 1965, the dispositions towards empowerment and individuation of the artistic gesture through anti-formalist, self-reflexive attitudes and, to the same extent, it opens a discussion about the complex relations locally developed between the new art practices and the (official) Socialist art. Such deconstruction of the various frequencies of this cultural exchange underlines the role it played in situating the Romanian art of the period in direct relation with similar regional and international developments.

Inspired by the title of the poem 24 Arguments (1984) by artist Paul Neagu (courtesy of Paul Neagu Estate UK), the exhibition proposes a multi-layered reading of the experiences, tempos and fine weavings intertwined between the institutional and the individual narratives, between the local conditions and the global dialogues, starting from a series of works conceived in this time. Beyond the diversity of media, traditions and references that have shaped the work of these artists, beyond the incidental connections that have occurred as a result of Demarco’s visit to Romania, the 24 Arguments. Early Encounters in Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde 1969–1971 exhibition does not stop at the biographical connections, but rather investigates the existence of a common spirit that defined this generation of artists.

24 Arguments includes a performing event based on a reconstruction of the work Genesis by choreographer Miriam Răducanu, performed by artist Mădălina Dan. The piece was part of the programme presented in the frame of Romanian Art Today, featured as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1971.

Research and exhibition concept: Alina Șerban
Research and artistic direction: Ștefania Ferchedău

The exhibition is produced by the Institute of the Present in collaboration with the National Museum of Art of Romania and the Demarco Archive, Edinburgh. 
Funders: Administration of the National Cultural Fund, Romanian Order of Architects. Supporters: DHL Romania, Hornbach Romania, British Council Romania, DC Communication.

Lenders to the exhibition: over 30 public and private collections from Romania, UK, Germany, Netherlands.
Visual identity: Andrei Turenici. Architecture: skaarchitects.

www.institutulprezentului.ro
ip [​at​] institutulprezentului.ro 

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