Alexandra Croitoru. Between 100 and 30
30 Jan – 29 Mar 2019
opening reception: 30 Jan / 7pm
Future Museum (Ion Ghica 11, Bucharest)
Mo – Fri | 9.00am – 4.30pm
Official celebrations and festivities have recently gained a lot of momentum. If 2018 has been marked by the Centenary commemoration, 2019 will certainly be the year remembrance of the ’89 Revolution. In this short respite between festivities, the exhibition explores artisanal methods of writing and recomposing history that lay outside of the main, official narratives.
How can several definitions of our past coexist? If we agree on the fact that the public space is represented by a spatial concept — the social sites or arenas where meanings are articulated, distributed, and negotiated via public institutions or via acts like history writing — then we have to acknowledge it is produced by a process of self-representation and self-authorization. In a problematic context like the one that we are currently experiencing, our lives and sense of publicness, individuality and community is heavily compartmentalized and fragmented into multiple (public) spheres or spaces that are dependent on different experiences. The official narratives are far away from the everyday realities.
The exhibition circles around A Fresco for Romania, a project developed in 2009 by Alexandra Croitoru and Ștefan Tiron in collaboration with Vasile Pop-Negreșteanu as an attempt to discuss the role of colective memory in the establishing of recent history. The public would go online to name people and events that have left a mark on the first 20 years following the Revolution, and the suggestions were included in a collage that became the first draft of a collectively drawn national fresco. Within the present exhibition, visitors are welcome to add their suggestions regarding the last 10 years that have passed since the making of the first draft, and thus become part of a non-hierarchical mechanism of arranging recent historical moments.
As an alternative to focusing on iconic political events and personalities (perceived in positive or negative light), the show features two reproductions selected from the Mihai Oroveanu Image Collection, communist propaganda collages that honor work and ordinary people. Alongside these representation models connected to collective memory and political propaganda, in the exhibition are presented two installations that showcase extremely subjective historical reconstructions. The first one displays an inter-war period scrapbook produced by an unknown author by mixing cut-outs from various publications centred on the topic of national and international history with personal or everyday life elements. The second one is constructed around an impressive archive of television news broadcasts, recorded on video tapes and DVDs by doctor Florin Gâldău starting in the 2000s, now part of the collection of the National Centre for Documentation, Research and Public Information on Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in Timișoara. The attempt to extract relevant episodes from the daily flux of information in order to place them into a cronological narrative produces a doubly mediated reality – a politicised history written by mass-media and edited by the author of the archive.
All of these deviations from the official canon of national history have the potential to undermine the monopoly of the official voices, which select and use historical events only to preserve and modulate their power. In the context of present nationalism, when our rights and possibilities to interfere into public discussion are limited, the exhibition can become a space for reflection and productive distrust that is so necessary in a time of official celebrations and festivities run amok.
Special thanks: Serioja Bocsok, Grațian Gâldău, Emil Ghita, Cătălin Năstăsoiu, Vasile Pop-Negreșteanu, Anca Oroveanu, Andrei Pripasu, Magda Radu, Ștefan Sava, Ștefan Tiron
Alexandra Croitoru is a visual artist based in Bucharest. Between 1993 and 1998 she studied at the National Academy of Arts Bucharest and since 1999 she has been teaching at the Photo-Video department of the same institution. Her projects have been presented in exhibitions organized by institutions such as Kunsthalle Winterthur, MNAC Bucharest, tranzit.ro/ Bucharest, Club Electroputere Craiova, MUMOK Vienna, Zachęta National Gallery of Art Warsaw, Shedhalle Zürich, Casino Luxembourg, Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Kunsthallen Nikolaj Copenhagen, Centre for Contemporary Art Plovdiv, Kunsthalle project space Vienna, Brukenthal Museum Sibiu, among other. Her PhD research (2010/2014 UNArte Bucharest) was focused on the “nationalization” of Brancusi in Romania and was the starting point for the book she published in 2015—Brancusi. An Afterlife (IDEA Cluj & Archive Books Berlin). She is a founder of the independent art space Salonul de proiecte Bucharest, a platform for art production and research. Since 2011 she has been co-curating its public program and editing its publications.
This event is organised by Future Museum (Czech Centre Bucharest).
Media partners: AGERPRES, Dilema Veche, The Romania Journal, Radio România Cultural, The Institute, TANĂNANA, TVR, Observator Cultural, Revista Arta, Revista Zeppelin, Ziarul Metropolis, Igloo Media
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