Expanded Space 2014

The fourth project in the framework of the Expanded Space programme has been opened on the 30th of July, 2014, bearing the theme of “Insider and Outsider”. Drawing on the belief that art does not only become public through its placement, since the public dimension has social and political connotations and is given by the choice of the questions it investigates or brings up, this year, the organizers have suggested the artists to question the issue of social definition of the individual through the lens of access to a particular group, community, position or culture. The choice of theme was closely bound to the place suggested for the achievement of the interventions, Izvor Park, Bucharest, since the organizers wished that one of the directions of exploring this theme would regard one of the most controversial buildings of Romania, which is the “House of the People” and which today is known as the Palace of the Parliament.

Insider and Outsider brings into the public space of Bucharest four artistic interventions: “The House of the People style armchairs,” author Mihai Balko, “Uranus chronic(le),” accomplished by the team made out of Ioana Ciocan and architects Bogdan Ciocodeică and Diana Roşu, “Dead Megaphone with a Swing,” author Adela Iacoban, and the work of subREAL group “Mulţumiţi/Nemulţumiţi”. Situated in the immediate vicinity of The House of the People, in an area where the Uranus-Izvor neighbourhood had stood before the demolitions from the eighties took place, the artists’ interventions question and place the spotlight in equal measure on the past and on the present of this place, situated under the shadow of one of the greatest buildings in the world, built for the people, but which was and still is, actually, separated from the people by a thick wall, whose existence speaks about the true relationship between the locus of power, which is inside and the people, which are outside.

The installation “Mulţumiţi/Nemulţumiţi” (Content/Discontent), accomplished by the artist-duo Călin Dan şi Iosif Kiraly uses as a starting point the well-known metallic boxes placed outside the entrances in Orthodox churches, where one can light candles for the souls of the living and of the dead. The work refers to opinion polls which declare the Romanian Orthodox Church as the institution which enjoys the highest degree of trust among Romanians, whereas the parliament enjoys the lowest. Ironically, the artists invite the public to express their subscription to one of the two institutions while fencing in and conditioning the access to the work of art, making it possible only in the presence of one of the artists.

Mihai Balko proposes a series of different sized armchairs in the form of the House of the People on which the passers-by can sit, relax, and reflect. Through his intervention the artist draws attention to the fact that the people, for whom the Palace was built, (at least, on the propaganda speech level) are still left outside, excluded from the forum of decision, for which reason the artist turns this building into a piece of furniture destined for the interior, for the private space, thus offering the people a way to make The House theirs.

Adela Iacoban’s Dead Megaphone explores another direction of the proposed topic, the author seeking to draw attention to the consequences drawn in time from the individual’s lack of reaction, participation and assumption of their role in the public life.

The team made up of the artist Ioana Ciocan and architects Bogdan Ciocodeică and Diana Roşu bring into foreground through the intervention “Uranus chronic(le)”, the tragic history of the site, known today only by few people, the fact that in order to build the House of the People the Uranus-Izvor neighbourhood had to be demolished, a practice that was unfortunately usual in communist Romania.

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