Conference SE#7

Volum Art Association is announcing the international conference

“Counter-monumentality: re-imagining critical intervention”

part of the Expanded Space #7 public art programme


October 27 and 28, 2017

Institutul Balassi, The Hungarian Institute, Bucharest

The theme of the conference “Counter-monumentality: re-imagining critical intervention”  is structured around the theoretical concepts and practice of public monuments and public space, having as a starting point the specificity of Bucharest public space and its post-communist monuments. Through this conference, we seek to explore the different directions opened up by this practice investigating and questioning notions such as national identity/values, collective memory, community, public space, public art and which are the possibilities of today’s art to bring new perspectives in a relationship with the above-mentioned concepts. We will examine the process that stands behind this practice, the relationship between the artists and the commissioning bodies, the purpose of promoting certain subjects in the detriment of others and the functions they play in the political system.

Can we represent the history and common values without simplifications, exclusions or the mystified figure of a grand homme/hero? What significance can the counter-monument have today, given that the resources of critical action seem to have been lost by being captured and redistributed within an expanding experience industry and tentacular (semi)capitalism? How can monumentalization be avoided without entailing a depoliticization of memory? How can we re-negotiate public space in current political conditions?



Judit Balko (RO), Jeroen Boomgaard(NL), Luchezar Boyadjiev (BG), Dan Drăghia (RO), Cătălin Gheorghe (RO), Dorothee Hasnaș (RO), Hans van Houwelingen (NL), Diana Mărgărit (RO), Vladiya Mihaylova (BG), Cristian Nae (RO), Veda Popovici (RO), and Katalin Timar (HU).



Friday, October 27

16:00 – 16:15 Judit Balko and Cristian Nae: Opening Remarks

16:15 – 16: 45 Judit Balko – Expanded Space: Creating a Place for Art in the Public Space

16:45 – 17:15 Jeroen Boomgaard: Public Domain as the Realm of the Possible

17:15 – 17:45 Dorothee Hasnaș: Between the System and the People – Negotiating Public Space in Bucharest

Coffee break 

18:30 Film projection: Hans van Houwelingen: Best Bucharest/Religion (36:00)


Saturday, October 28

10: 00 – 10: 30 Dan Drăghia: Statues for the People: The Construction of Public Monuments in Communist Romania

10: 30 – 11:00 Vladiya Mihaylova: Dismantling of the Collective Body and the New Private Life of Public Space

Coffee break 

11:15 – 11: 45 Diana Mărgărit: “We will not sell our country!” Nationalism in Open Squares

11: 45 – 12: 15 Veda Popovici: Who Claims the Public Space? Art, Politics and the Unmaking of Westernizing Imperatives

Coffee break 

12: 30 – 13:00 Katalin Timar: Counter-publics and the State: The Performative Monument in Action

13:00 – 13: 30 Cristian Nae: Democratic Choreographies: On Chto Delat’s Temporary Activation of Schwarzenberg Platz

Lunch break

14: 30 – 15:00 Hans Van Houwelingen: Liquid Bronze and Kneadable Stone

15:00 – 15:30 Luchezar Boyadjiev: 1 horse power

Coffee break 

15:45 – 16: 15 Cătălin Gheorghe: Things Activism: A Political Aesthetics of Things in a Posthuman World

16: 15 – 16: 30 Concluzii/Closing Remarks


Speakers’ Biographies:



Judit Balko is an artist, cultural manager and holds a Ph.D. from Centre of Excellence in Image Study, the University of Bucharest with a thesis on public art in Romania after 1989. She is the coordinator of public art program Expanded Space, being interested in redefining the notion of public space and its relations with artistic practice.


Jeroen Boomgaard is an art critic and historian. He teaches art in public space at the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy and is coordinating the MA program in Artistic Research at the University of Amsterdam. Boomgaard also directs the research group Art & Public Space (Lectoraat Kunst en Publieke Ruimte) and regularly writes on this topic in journals such as Open. Cahier on Art and the Public Domain.


Luchezar Boyadjiev is an artist and art theorist based in Sofia, Bulgaria. His works focus on the private interpretations of public space and visuality in global cities, on the relation between public and private space and on the transgression of the distinctions between artist and public.


Dan Drăghia holds a Ph. D. from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Bucharest with a thesis on the history of the workers’ movement in Romania. His researches included political aspects of the system of state-funded artistic commissions during the communist regime.


Cătălin Gheorghe is a Ph. D. associate professor at George Enescu National University of the Arts in Iași, and works as an art critic, theorist, and editor. He teaches aesthetics, theories, and practices of art criticism, cultural studies and theories and practices of artistic research. He is also an associate curator of the Center for Contemporary Photography, Vector Association, and Borderline Art Space in Iasi.


Dorothee Hasnaș is a cultural manager and an architect who graduated from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Architecture Department. As a member of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, she participated in the Campaign for earthquake-resistant construction with local materials in Haiti in 2011. She works as an editor for Zeppelin magazine and since 2012 she is Project Coordinator at the creative hub “The ARK Bucharest”.


Hans Van Houwelingen is a visual artist living and working in Amsterdam. His artworks investigate the relation between art, politics and ideology and were presented in the form of public art interventions, exhibitions, lectures and publications.


Diana Mărgărit is a lecturer at the Faculty of Political Sciences of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, where she teaches courses on globalization and social movements, political ideologies or international organizations.


Vladiya Mihaylova is a curator and cultural theorist who is in charge of the contemporary art programs and young artists at the Vaska Emanouilova Gallery in Sofia. She has collaborated as a curator with artists for projects in public spaces, self-institutionalizing platforms, educational initiatives, and has participated and curated art projects in Night/Plovdiv 2010, 2015 and 2016, and was a chief curator of the festival NIGHT/Plovdiv 2017.


Cristian Nae is a Ph. D. associate professor at George Enescu National University of the Arts in Iasi, where he teaches contemporary art history and theory. He is an associate curator of the Center for Contemporary Photography, Vector and Borderline Art Space in Iași and regularly writes art criticism. He works at the intersection between visual studies, aesthetics, exhibition studies and the geo-history of art.


Veda Popovici works as a political artist, politically engaged theorist and local activist. She is interested in identity representations in art, intellectual genealogies of power, colonial and patriarchal histories and the political in/efficacy of art.


Katalin Timar is a curator and theorist who works at the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest. She curated, among others, the Hungarian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale where she was awarded the Golden Lion for the Best National Pavilion.



Team: Cristian Nae, curator; Judit Balko, project manager; Mihai Balko, Radu Boeru & Irina Enache, coordinators.

Project financed by Primăria Municipiului București, Centrul Cultural al Municipiului Bucuresti ARCUB in the framework of București – Oraș participativ programme and by Administrația Fondului Cultural Național.

Partners: Institutul Balassi (Institutul Maghiar din București)Centrul de Excelență în Studiul Imaginii (CESI)Radio GuerrillaMNAC

Media Partners: Zeppelin, WebCultura, VeiozaArte, Modernism

The project doesn’t necessarily represent the position of Administrația Fondului Cultural Național. AFCN in not responsible of the content of the project or the manner in which the results of the project can be used. These are the full responsibility of the recipient of the funding.


For additional info, please contact:

Roxana Crișan

+40 745 032 186