COLLEGIUM: Art and Society in 1990s’s Romania

IPThe Institute of the Present (Bucharest) organises the second edition of the residency programme aimed at researching and rediscussing artworks created in the early 1990s in Romania, Hungary and Serbia, together with their contexts, the (temporary) artistic collectives or solitary initiatives conceived as solutions for new gestures, sometimes utopic at their time. The artists selected for the May 2023 residencies are Gavril Pop, researching the activity of group Alb16 from Timișoara (artists Simona Nuțiu, Sorin Vreme, Marcel Brăilean, Tiberiu Giucă and Ion Oprescu), and Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu, researching the action “The Appropriation (of Land) Committee” (Dan Perjovschi, 1992, Timișoara, performance in the frame of the “Pămîntul [Earth]” festival, curated by Ileana Pintilie). The residencies include a research period, open process laboratories and discussions, as well as an informal presentation/ artist talk on May 27. 

GAVRIL POP x ALB16 (1991)

The Alb16 group consisted of Simona Nuțiu, Sorin Vreme, Marcel Brăilean, Tiberiu Giucă and Ion Oprescu, who were also co-founders of the “State without Title” festival, 1991, a landmark event of those years, organised by Ileana Pintilie at the Art Museum in Timișoara. Limited documentation is available in regards to the history of the group, although its activity was important for that period. Probably the best known performance of the members consists of a group walk across the city, holding hands and blindfolded. The action could be joined by any passer-by and was part of a series of performances created as part of “State without Title”, which embodied a collective state of general oppression and confusion in an uncertain and unstable political context.

The research process undertaken by artist Gavril Pop proposes to explore the following tracks: development of a set of skills related to sight/comprehension, which are related to generating knowledge; the artistic group as a pretext, with reference to the context of the early 1990s, which added a lot of uncertainty to an even greater enthusiasm, but also to extremely limited resources. During the research, the artist aims to create social contexts that will include film screenings, drawing or domestic activities, city walks, aiming to contextualise what happened in 1991, in order to highlight an affective level related to memory.

GAVRIL POP is interested in visualising cognitive processes and the conjunction of knowledge elements. He is also concerned with the relationship of the general public with art processes and constantly collaborates with foundations and associations in Timișoara in cultural mediation programmes attached to contemporary art exhibitions. He published critical texts in magazines Arta and 22. As an artist, he has collaborated with independent spaces and artistic platforms such as Lapsus, Draft, Secret Garden (Timișoara), GAEP (Bucharest), Camera (Cluj). He has recently participated in the artistic residency programme of the niki e.v. venue from Hanover.

DAN PERJOVSCHI: “The Appropriation (of Land) Committee”, 1992

More than 30 years ago, artist Dan Perjovschi reacted through “The Appropriation (of Land) Committee”, a performance proposing a politically inflicted work, to the government’s procrastination, or incapacity, to return the private properties that had been nationalised in the aftermath of World War II back to the rightful owners. By giving out 10 x 10 cm packs of soil, the artist intended to mock the tardive bureaucratic process of the state. The action was presented in the frame of the “Pămîntul [Earth]” Festival (1992), curated by Ileana Pintilie at the Museum of Art in Timișoara. 

Artists Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu (SABA) aim to deconstruct this work through a process of collective reflection and a series of discussions. Through dialogue and sharing subjective experiences in relation to this work and the historical period to which it belongs, the artists aim to outline a broader picture of the artistic strategies and tools used. SABA not only want to better understand the cultural context in which this artistic action was presented, but also to extend these critical strategies in the contemporary social context, speculating together a potential new analysis and revisitation of the work. 

SABA—Silvia Amancei și Bogdan Armanu b. 1991, Iași and Timișoara) is an artist couple working together since 2012. Their artistic practice could be positioned at the border between social studies and visual art, researching for methods and examples where art and artistic means can be instrumentalised in order to overexcite the ability to look beyond capitalism and create a (common) future. Among their recent solo shows are “Hope dies last…They say…” (2022, Zagreb, HR), “Together. Forever. In Debt” (2021, Berlin, DE), “s.a.b.a 1979-####” (2020, Ljubljana, SI), “It was always in plain sight” (2020, București, RO), „If Then What After” (2019, Baden, AT), “What Past? What Future?” (2017, Linz, AT),  while their works have been present in many group exhibitions, among which “Protozone7: Zones of Kinship, Love & Playbour” (2022, Zurich, CH), “Gangwon Triennale” (2021, Gangwon, KR), “Rewriting Our Imaginations” (2020, Basel, CH), “Displacement and Togetherness” (2019, Brussels,  BE), “STRIKE GENTLY AWAY ____” (2019, Salzburg, AT), “Baywatch” (2018, Berlin, DE), “Alternative Facts” (2018, Stuttgart, DE), ”Odessa Biennial” (2017, Odessa, UA), to name just a few.

IP—The Institute of the Present is a research and an artist and theory resource platform in the field of visual and performing culture conceived by Ștefania Ferchedău and Alina Șerban.

The “Uncensored Act” programme, which features the event, dwells on the idea of community, collective action, collaboration and solidarity in the spirit of shared values, with a route that is triggered by the history of Timișoara in the 1989 context, connected regionally and internationally through the proposed artistic content.

The residencies are organised in the frame of the projects Uncensored Act” and COLLEGIUM. A Possible History of the Invisible”.

Partners: MV Sci-Art Center, Indecis artist run, The Secret Garden Bookshop

Image: Dan Perjovschi, “The Appropriation (of Land) Committee, Museum of Art, Timișoara, 1992. Courtesy of the artist

This project is part of the national cultural programme “Timișoara—European Capital of Culture in the year 2023” and is funded by the Municipality of Timișoara, through the Center for Projects.

Part of

Uncensored Act 2023

Uncensored Act 2023