Romanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale

Romanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale

Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Left: Lucia Tkáčová & Anetta Mona Chisa, 2010.
Photo by A.M. Chisa.
Right: Ion Grigorescu „Selfportrait as Tuthankamon”, 1975 Photo by I. Grigorescu.
Courtesy JGM Gallery Paris & the Van Sluijs collection Amsterdam.

April 29, 2011


Ion Grigorescu, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová

Maria Rus Bojan and Ami Barak
With the special collaboration of the writer Bogdan Ghiu

Monica Morariu
Deputy Commissioner:
Alexandru Damian

Romanian Pavilion
Giardini di Castello
4 June–27 November 2011
Professional Preview:
1–3 June, 2011

Pavilion Opening:
2 June 2011 at 2:15 pm

After twenty years of contradictory transition toward democracy, in the Eastern European contemporary art, the moralizing neoliberal paradigm has generated a counter-paradigm that aims to accommodate the structural discontinuity of the East, questioning the very legitimacy of the project of modernity with renewed understanding and a heightened degree of responsibility.

With the intention of articulating a nuanced position and of contributing to this ongoing effort of re-evaluation, Performing History aims to highlight the manifest specificity of Eastern Europe Avant-garde through a trans-generational dialogue structured around the idea of art as an alternative, unrestricted and obstinate performance of history.

The project focuses on the essential role played by the work of Ion Grigorescu (born in 1945), an iconic figure of the avant-garde attitude in Romania, in the re-reading of history. Grigorescu made an invaluable contribution to the shaping of a critical consciousness capable of articulating a genuinely universal critique in rationalist-discursive, performative and artistic terms. A forerunner of the conceptual and performative use of the body as an artistic medium in Romania since the early ’70s, Grigorescu is also one of the very few Romanian artists who have radically and conceptually illustrated contemporary concerns in perfect synchronicity with his time. His actual artistic discourse, that re-contextualizes older works in relation with new ones, is in itself an ongoing reevaluation of history.

Describing an arch over time, the younger artists Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová reactivate historical references and convert them into new meanings and experiences, forging liaisons between generations and probing critical and ethical continuity. The two artists have been working together since 2000. Their work attempts to bring to a more global consciousness a state of constant introspection, of curiosity in exploring the world they live in, and of the complex relationship between the individual and the collective in contemporary society.

The catalogue, will be a special issue of the Idea arts+society magazine, edited by the author and theorist Bogdan Ghiu—who had an essential input in the project since inception. The editorial concept charts the evolution of the arts within the political and philosophical framework of a region undergoing a process of self-reinvention. Critics, curators, art historians, sociologists, philosophers from the former Eastern block were invited to contribute.

In collaboration with Vasile Dâncu and The Romanian Institute for Assessment and Strategy (IRES) a sociological project of interaction with the audience will be developed. The aim of the study is to identify—within the European context—the Westerners’ perceptions on the East in general and on communism in particular, but also to assess the recollection of communism and the stereotypes referring to capitalism from the Easterners’ point of view.

Maria Rus Bojan is an art critic and curator who lives and works in Amsterdam. She has been a curator at the Art Museum of Cluj, and the general director of the Sindan Cultural Foundation in Bucharest. She curated several international exhibitions, including “GENE.ET.RATIO ULTIMA RATIO” (2005, Centro Parraga Murcia, Spain), “Ready Media” (2008, NIMK Amsterdam, Contemporary Art Museum, Belgrade), “Locked-In” (2008, Casino Luxembourg), “Strategies for Concealing” (2008, C-Space Beijing), and “Tales of the Unexpected” (2010, Art Rotterdam). Since 2010, she has been the director of the curatorial and international program of Art Rotterdam.

Ami Barak is an independent curator and art critic based in Paris. He has curated numerous international exhibitions in the past few years, for instance “House Trip”, ArtForum Berlin (Berlin, 2007); “Can Art Do More?” (Jerusalem 2008); “Re-construction”, Young Artists Biennale (Bucharest 2008); “Elixirs of Panacea” Palais Benedictine (Fecamp 2010), among many others. His most recent curatorial project was “Art for the World: City of Forking Paths”, the Sculpture Project of the Expo Boulevard at the World Expo Shanghai 2010. He is currently a Lecturer at the Paris Sorbonne I University, works as an art adviser, and is a permanent collaborator for the magazine IDEA arts+society.

Bogdan Ghiu is a writer, journalist, and essayist based in Bucharest. He has published an impressive number of books on literature, philosophy, poetry, media theory, and literary criticism. He has written essays on art, communication, and the post-modern world. He studied under Jacques Derrida, and has also translated most of the French theorists into Romanian, including Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, and Bourdieu.

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Romanian National Lottery, Idea, arts+society, The Romanian Institute for Assessment and Strategy (IRES), Project Foundation, TVR Cultural

The artists’ participation is supported by:
JGM Gallery Paris, Gregor Podnar Gallery Berlin, Artra Gallery Milan, Christine Koenig Gallery Vienna

Sponsors: Group Transilvae, ENEL, Iordachescu, Udrescu si Asociatii, VenhoevenCS

Romanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale
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April 29, 2011

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