Position: Rumänien

It could not have been predicted from the outset that there would be a controversial cultural-political background to the documentary exhibition Position: Rumänien (Romania). As a presentation of contemporary Romanian production, the show was part of the series Public Art Transeuropa, which provided a contrast to the various European concepts of public art or ‘New Genre’ public art that informed the many years of work done in Lower Austria. With part of the budget for the project Position: Rumänien artists were invited to spend several days in Vienna and were also present on 23 October 2003 for the opening of the 3-day exhibition Rumänische Malerei der Gegenwart (Contemporary Romanian Painting), organised in the Vienna Parliament by the Bucharest curator for contemporary art Mihai Oroveanu in order to coincide with Ion Iliescu’s state visit to Austria. The Vienna newspaper Falter subtitled this coincidence "Dracula in Parliament"1, which not only referred to the planned Dracula theme park but also alluded to the artistic activity in parliament buildings in general, especially since the collection of modern and contemporary art, which has been much-criticised particularly in artistic circles for its lack of a viable concept, is housed in Ceausescu’s Casa Poporului in Bucharest.

Position: Rumänien was a documentation put together by Dan and Lia Perjovschi in cooperation with myself. The two artists, who are well-known for their many international exhibitions and frequent participation at other shows, have for years now been running the caa (contemporary art archive), which serves both as an open studio and an archive and project space, playing an important mediating role in Romania, a country with dwindling material, social and cultural resources. The caa also displays the characteristic structure of networking tendencies that is typical of the country and which find expression in festivals, in the Perjovschis’ television appearances and in Lia Perjovschi’s newspaper publications – whether these concern project documentation, her collection of globes or the art historical charts in which she clearly reflects the situation in Romania. Position: Rumänien was also accompanied by a newspaper, Short Guide, in which the approx. 30 contemporary positions from Romania were presented as part of the widely delineated field of ‘public space’. The exhibition presented posters by Mind Bomb, photographic work by Cosmin Gradinaru, Mircea Cantor and Cristina Coleasa, publications by Ioan Godeanu, by Protokoll, and by Periferic/Vector, videos by Cristi Puiu and the Gruppe H.arta, who showed their project space in Timisoara, and installations by Peter Szabo and Sorin Vreme, to name but a few. References were in some cases also made to curatorial work, such as Judit Angel’s Intern, an urban project in Arad dating from 1995. Apart from videos and photographs, many folders, maps and brochures were shown, as were catalogues and magazines. The printed media play a significant role in Romanian production, with image, text and graphics often having equal status and usually being employed journalistically. In the exhibition they were prominent as a large visible and invisible network – even if one should take into account the fact that the equally important field of performance was missing here.

Curators: Susanne Neuburger in cooperation with Dan and Lia Perjovschi

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