Ovidiu Anton. Home is where my problems are
18 May – 30 Jun 2017
Opening reception: 18 May / 7pm
Future Museum (Ion Ghica, 11, Bucharest)
Mo – Fri | 8.00am – 4.30pm
The key subject matter of the work in Ovidiu Anton’s solo show is an emphasis upon several significant contemporary phenomena, but which might at once almost be considered ordinary and matter-of-fact. With our lives becoming not only more dynamic but also more complicated daily, it becomes more and more difficult to recognise authentic cultural, social and political events, which too, in turn, melt imperceptibly into the real. The particular focus of Anton’s works is thus upon normal day-to-day events which are then turned around or shifted to uncover further important layers of meaning.
The exhibition is centred around the work Smells like Paradise (2016) which was created in collaboration with the anthropologist Alexandru Bălăşescu. The main protagonists of the film are two dogs who have been removed from the places of their birth to new countries. Through their eyes we are able to observe the different cultural codes of Austria and Romania. There are two fundamental and opposing elements at play here: the state and the way it is formed by history, culture, politics and its economic development; and, at the same time, the relationship between humans and their environment. Here, through the special relationship between humans and domestic animals, we are able to perceive further significant shades of meaning, deciphering them with ever more subtlety.1
Another work presented here, the performance Exchanging Lemons in Lefkosia and Lefkoşa (2015, 7 min) compares the quality of lemons that were grown in two different political systems (are lemons really any better on the other side?) In the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the name of the city of Nicosia is Lefkoşa, while in the Republic of Cyprus, which has de jure sovereign rule over the whole island (with the exception of military bases Akrotiti and Dekeleia that belong to the United Kingdom), the Greek name for Nicosia is Lefkosia. It is worth mentioning that the British may be held accountable for the escalation of the national tensions in Cyprus, which they stirred up in the 1950s and which are ongoing today, in a typical case of permanent conflict and generic misunderstanding between minority and majority ethnic groups. In a 2009 interview, (Fruits of Trust, (2009)) Alexander Kluge and Niklas Luhmann discuss the polarity and duality of our mental spaces (peripheries and centres, us and them) which may lead us to the unstable boundary between bestiality and humanity. When we describe bestiality, we evidently feel human, or at least we wish to play such a role. But since from time to time we become beasts too, we can not insist upon any such precise distinction in our ranks. We should not forget that even the most committed humanists might also be observed from the side of bestiality as a beast.2
The other part of the exhibition’s film triptych is an older work, Street Cat Deluxe (2013, 37 min), a multilayered narrative concerning problems in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, where the issues of gentrification, human relations and feral domestic animals are intertwined.
The drawings 3m2 of Anarchy are presented as an installation that has been gradually increasing in volume since 2015. The drawings are made by the transformation and redrawing of photographic documentation in a singular 50 x 50 cm format. This work was originally made for the OFF Biennale in Budapest in 2015.
Born in Timişoara, Ovidiu Anton (1982) now lives and works in Vienna, Austria. His work has been presented internationally, in major exhibitions by leading museums and galleries including Koenig 2, Vienna (2017), Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2017), Graz Museum (2015), OFF-Biennale Budapest (2015), MAK in Vienna (2015) and Tobacco 001 Cultural Centre in Ljubljana (2014).
The Future Museum’s 2017 programme objectives are to articulate the position of Romanian artists who were born in Romania and then either settled in another country or spent many years abroad. The programme starts in May 2017 with this solo exhibition by Ovidiu Anton. Works by Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkáčová will open the summer season and the series will close with an autumn exhibition by the film director Andrei Ujică.
This event has been organised by the Future Museum (Czech Centre Bucharest), with the support of BCR and Staropramen. Partners: Austrian Cultural Forum Bucharest and Becherovka.
1 Ovidiu Anton and Alexandru Bălăşescu won the first prize in the competition “Create Your Bucharest” as part of the Vienna Biennale 2015 at the MAK Vienna. The production of the film Smells like paradise was sponsored by the Austrian Ministry for Art and Culture, the Otto Mauer Fonds and Brenntag Romania.
2 Bestiality could replace in this context by conqueror.