FROM CONFIRMATION TO CHALLENGING.
ARTISTIC PRACTICES IN THE PUBLIC SPACE
[15 octombrie – 1 noiembrie]
MNAC – 4th floor
2-4 Izvor Street, the Palace of the Parliament, wing E4
Artists: Mihai Balko, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Tudor Bratu, Presidential Candidate, Iosif Király, Marilena Preda-Sânc, Studio Basar, Vlad Nancă, Vlad Petri & Gabi Basalici.
Curator: Judit Balko
Bucharest, as a research subject, is full of challenges, and the changes through which the city goes are analysed by artists through a vast number of projects and approaches. As the years pass, the initiatives of the organizations concerned with starting a discussion around these changes become more and more ambitious and constant, promoting the endeavours of the artists interested in this subject and contributing to the connection between the passers-by or the citizens and the problems of public space.
The exhibition focuses on the analysis of the relationships of power between the elements which contribute to the shaping of the public space. The latter is to be understood in agreement with what philosopher Chantal Mouffe calls the “agonistic” public space, which is seen not as an arena for obtaining consensus but rather as a “battleground where different hegemonic projects are confronted, without any possibility of final reconciliation”. In this context, the role of art is primordial in the analysis of power through the “unveiling of all that is repressed by the dominant consensus”. Mouffe considers that from the point of view of the outlook of hegemonic politics, all artistic practices are more or less political, because they can only occupy two positions: either that of confirming “the symbolic order” – which they do by simply not opposing it – or fighting against it.
The selection of the artists for the exhibition aimed to compose a complex image regarding the condition of the public space of Bucharest and the way in which this problem is approached through several artistic practices. The vast majority of the artists invited to the exhibition lives and works in Bucharest.
Mihai Balko lives and works in Bucharest, being active in the field of sculpture. He is a programme coordinator and a founding member of the Volum Art Cultural Association. Through the projects created within the association, he highlights the need for active participation in the shaping of public space.
Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan – artistic duo, concerned with subjects related to history, politics and economy. Their projects cleverly and precisely analyse the weak points of notions such as national identity, transferring judicial concepts in the context of the political, of the economic or of contemporary art.
Tudor Bratu lives and works in Amsterdam and Bucharest. His artistic practices include projects based on photography, video and installations. Aside from his artistic activity, he also teaches and is the director of a residence programme which he created in Bucharest (Bucharest Air).
Presidential Candidate is an artistic group whose projects dwell on the border between contemporary art, performance, theory and politics. The post-production practice which it develops aims to make use of the experience and of the knowledge of the group members on great scenes, such as the mass media, the political life, the corporations and the malls. The elections are a means of entering the official debate in order to ask the more difficult questions and in order to deconstruct the official solutions.
Iosif Király is an architect, artist and professor in the Photography and Dynamic Image department at the Bucharest National University of Arts. Alongside his individual artistic activity, he is a member of the subREAL group and of other collaborative formulas composed of architects, anthropologists etc. Since 2007, he coordinates the Ro_Archive project, which documents certain aspects of the Romanian society in its post-communist times.
Marilena Preda-Sânc is an artist and professor at the Bucharest National University of Arts. Public space is frequently analysed in her research and artistic projects, as one of the aspects she highlights is the lack of representation of female figures in the public space of Romania.
studioBASAR was founded in 2006 by Alex Axinte and Cristi Borcan, both as an architecture studio and as a Search-and-Rescue team, which acts as an observation and urban intervention agent. The studioBASAR projects vary from public space interventions to artistic installations, urban research, student workshops, contests and different types of residential and public buildings.
Vlad Nancă uses several artistic practices in order to reflect on the urban space, on the politics and on cultural symbols of recent history. Aside from his individual artistic projects, he coordinated several platforms promoting young Romanian art: 2020 HomeGallery (a gallery created in his own apartment in the early 2000s), the list of topics and the fanzine publication [incepem].
Vlad Petri is a director and a photographer, his projects are based on documentary films and on journalism, in which he mainly follows social and political subjects which develop in Romania and in the Middle East region. He is currently a master student in visual anthropology and media at the Free University of Berlin. “Bucharest, where are you?” is his first feature film.
Gabi Basalici has graduated the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography of Bucharest, in the department of “montage” and has worked as an editor for several projects (short films and documentaries) in Romania and in the United Arab Emirates. “Bucharest, where are you?” represents his debut in documentary feature films.
The fifth edition of Expanded Space is financed by Centrul de Proiecte Culturale al Municipiului Bucureşti – ARCUB, through the programme “You Are Bucharest”, Administraţia Fondului Cultural Naţional and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Romania.
Team: Judit Balko, project manager, Aurora Király and Mihai Balko, coordinators.