Interviews

ZGRADE SE RUŠE ZATO ŠTO NETKO ŽELI DA IH SRUŠI

Razgovarali: Nataša Bodrožić i Saša Šimpraga (16.04.2015.)

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Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija  nacionalna je sekcija Do.co.mo.mo. (Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement) Internationala. Do.co.mo.mo. International osnovan je 1988. godine u Nizozemskoj, kao reakcija na ubrzanu devastaciju i nestanak modernističkih zdanja, a danas ima 68 nacionalnih radnih grupa usmjerenih na afirmaciju i očuvanje modernističke baštine. Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija djeluje kao sekcija u okviru Društva arhitekata Beograda (DAB), a okuplja stručnjake i aktiviste koji se bave modernim pokretom u arhitekturi i urbanizmu Srbije. O sekciji Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija govore njen predsjednik Dobrivoje Lale Erić, tajnica Jelena Grbić i koordinatorica Jelica Jovanović.

Intervju je dio serije razgovora o Do.co.mo.mo. sekcijama koji nastaju u sklopu projekta MOTEL TROGIR s ciljem promišljanja uloge takve organizacije te eventualne potrebe osnivanja hrvatske Do.co.mo.mo. sekcije.

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Istočna kapija Beograda_ Rudo

U Beogradu je upravo srušena zgrada nekadašnje njemačke ambasade u Ulici kneza Miloša, djelo arhitekta Bogdana Ignjatovića iz 1979. godine. Kako to komentirate?

Objekat Nemačke ambasade u Beogradu izuzetan je primer nesrećne prakse u domenu zaštite i valorizacije modernističkog arhitektonskog nasleđa Srbije. Primetan je tu nemar nadležnih službi zaštite, pre svega Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda i drugih gradskih ustanova, koje su zanemarile prisustvo i vrednost Ignjatovićevog modernističkog bisera utkanog u najuže gradsko tkivo Ulice kneza Miloša.

Očigledan je, međutim, i potpuno ignorantski odnos investitora – nemačkog Ministarstva spoljnih poslova – koje se nije osetilo pozvanim da odgovori na brojne društvene apele, niti da javnosti predstavi cilj i ideje svog raspisanog konkursa za novu zgradu ambasade. Država koja predvodi Evropu u 21. veku trebalo bi da poseduje malo više sluha za nasleđe i kulturu druge polovine 20. veka, pogotovo što je i sama učestvovala u nastanku prvobitnog objekta sopstvene ambasade. Konačno, Nemačka nije slučajno odabrala Bogdana Ignjatovića za svoju zgradu. Iako u kasnoj fazi karijere, on je u tom trenutku bio autor nekolicine repernih objekata tadašnjeg pa i sadašnjeg Beograda: Hotel „Slavija“ na istoimenom trgu, Galerija fresaka u Ulici cara Uroša, Izvršno veće Srbije u Nemanjinoj ulici, tri od šest solitera na ulaznom bloku Novog Beograda na Ušću… Reč je, u konačnom, o arhitekti koji je dobar deo II svetskog rata proveo u zarobljeništvu u logoru Bergen-Belzen, pa je i istorijska pravda učinjena time što mu je poverena izrada projekta ovog objekta. Moramo priznati ovde da, poučeni ranijim iskustvima, nismo očekivali izuzetan odjek koji je rušenje ovog objekta izazvalo u javnosti. Pritom, situacija je takva da smo u ovom trenutku informacije mogli da plasiramo samo preko društvenih mreža i Dokomomo International mreže.

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Bogdan Ignjatović. Njemačka ambasada, 1979. g.

Zgrada nekadašnjeg Generalštaba u Nemanjinoj ulici jedno je najupečatljivijih djela srpskog i jugoslavenskog modernizma, autora Nikole Dobrovića, svakako jednog od najuglednijih srpskih arhitekata 20. stoljeća, i arhitekta čiji je dubrovački opus ne samo neizostavni, nego i jedan od najzanimljivijih u kontekstu hrvatske moderne. Dobrovićev Generalštab teško je oštećen za NATO bombardiranja Beograda, od tad stoji napušten i javljaju se inicijative za njegovo rušenje s obzirom na atraktivnu lokaciju. Koja su vaša stajališta oko te zgrade i koje je aktualno stanje?

Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija je možda i postao prepoznat u široj domaćoj javnosti upravo zbog brojnih akcija i pokušaja da se osvetli slučaj Generalštaba i da se, jednostavno, poštuje postojeći zakonski okvir. Svedoci smo, međutim, da aktuelnoj srpskoj Vladi apsolutno nije stalo do poštovanja zakletve koju je položila prilikom imenovanja, a u kojoj je poštovanje zakona Republike Srbije jedna od osnovnih odrednica. Štaviše, već godinama se zaobilaze sve inicijative za otvaranje bilo kakvog dijaloga o modalitetu zaštite ovog, ponavljamo, zakonom zaštićenog kulturnog dobra. Mi često na svojim tribinama citiramo Utu Hasler, čuvenu profesorku sa ETH u Cirihu, koja je još 2002. godine za DETAIL iznela svoja zapažanja iz prakse: “…Po pravilu, zgrade se ne ruše zato što su u jadnom stanju. One su u jadnom stanju zato što neko želi da ih sruši …”.

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Nikola Dobrović, Generalštab, uništen u bombardiranju 1999.

Na stranu drugi elementi i suštinska važnost Nikole Dobrovića pa i zgrade Generalštaba za identitet našeg naroda i njegove prestonice. Ovde, zaista, ne pričamo tek o jednom od velikana srpske i jugoslovenske (pa i čehoslovačke!) arhitekture – Nikola Dobrović je sam vrh, tu nema spora. Takvih erudita i znalaca čiji koncepti uveliko prevazilaze vreme u kome žive nažalost nemamo i verovatno ih nikada više i nećemo imati. Iza Dobrovića je ostala zaista znatna zaostavština, ali nažalost ona nije uređena i muzeološki obrađena, već je rasuta na više lokacija. Na sreću, ta građa je dostupna istraživačima, a često se pojavi i ponešto novo, što se nađe u antikvarijatima i na buvljacima. Osim takve zaostavštine u poslednjih dvadesetak godina publikovano je i nekoliko monografija i studija posvećenih Dobroviću.

No, ako vlast ostvari svoje planove i jednu od ključnih gradskih lokacija – ogromne dve parcele na uglu Nemanjine i Kneza Miloša – prepusti nekom od naših tradicionalnih, bliskoistočnih prijatelja da tu postave blistavi šoping mol, hotel, ritejl park, loft/penthaus/apartmanski kompleks… preostaje nam samo da kao turisti dođemo u Dubrovnik i u Prag, i da se tu divimo našem najznačajnijem arhitekti čijeg dela nema u Beogradu. Nadamo se da do toga, ipak, neće doći.

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Križanje Nemanjine i Kneza Miloša

U kojoj mjeri postoji formalna spomenička zaštita za značajne objekte izgrađene u vremenu socijalističkog modernizma?

Sarađujući i jednostavno lično poznavajući ljude iz branše, svesni smo da postoji dovoljni potencijal, odgovarajući broj istraživača, relativna dostupnost arhiva, velika privlačnost za mlade istraživače da se bave modernom arhitekturom, posebno onom nakon II svetskog rata. Kada je reč o institucijama, međutim, kao što je verovatno slučaj i sa drugim zemljama u regionu, njihova uloga je, nažalost, dominantno svedena na to da budu servis aktuelnih vlasti i njihovih interesa, a manje da postupaju u skladu sa svojim statutima i sa zakonskim ovlašćenjima koje imaju. Ima napretka, pre svega u vezi sa modernizmom Novog Beograda koji svakako jeste jedna izuzetna i autentična celina, a koji je sada i u centru pažnje međunarodnih stručnih krugova. Brojni eksperti sa mnogo znatiželje posmatraju šta će biti sa “evropskom Brazilijom”, ali isto tako i banjičkim i voždovačkim soliterima, Cerakom, ili soliterima „Rudo“ na Konjarniku.

Uprkos svim promenama i narušavanjima originalnih urbanističkih planova, ove celine su uspele da sačuvaju svoj originalni identitet u relativno podnošljivoj meri. No, dok vlast ne odluči kome će od svojih finansijera, saboraca ili partnera da ustupi određene lokacije, kvote i opcije, naši zavodi se uglavnom ustručavaju da sprovedu procedure koje bi, barem formalno, zaštitile pojedinačne objekte ili celine od takvih nasrtaja. Treba biti i iskren pa reći da oni trpe ogromne pritiske i kritike od bahatih eksponenata raznih nivoa vlasti u Srbiji, za šta je slučaj Generalštaba verovatno ekletantan primer.

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Ime „Rudo“ Istočnoj kapiji Beograda dao je beogradski arhitekt Dragoljub Mićović, koji je u vrijeme izgradnje ova tri nebodera vršio stručni nadzor.

Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija se s jedne strane bavi izradom baze podataka objekata modernog pokreta u Srbiji, a s druge kandidaturom tih objekata za međunarodni registar.  U kojoj je fazi izrada registra i možete li izdvojiti neke od objekata koje budete ili ste već kandidirali za međunarodni registar? Koje su još vaše aktivnosti?

Naš primarni cilj za 2015. i 2016. godinu, a prema programu rada i smernicama Do.co.mo.mo. International za isti period, jeste upravo formiranje i dopuna nacionalnog registra do ispune uslova “domaćeg zadatka”, kao i unapređenje online baze podataka sekcije. Postojeći registar će biti unapređen prema poslednjim odlukama i novim formatima dokumentacionih dosijea o kojima se nedavno raspravljalo na Do.co.mo.mo. internacionalnom seminaru u Lisabonu, a gde se trenutno nalazi njihovo sedište. Takođe smo u stalnoj potrazi za novim saradnicima koji bi nam pomogli u radu na formiranju nacionalnog registra, budući da se radi o veoma obimnom fondu objekata i celina.

Na našoj inicijalnoj listi se nalaze pre svega remek-dela nacionalnog modernizma, od perioda nakon I svetskog rata pa do sedamdesetih i osamdesetih godina prošlog veka: Astronomska opservatorija na Zvezdari Jana Dubovija, zgrada BIGZ-a i Komanda vazduhoplovstva Dragiše Brašovana, Dečija klinika Milana Zlokovića (iako odavno devastirana i ozbiljno narušene strukture) – sve u Beogradu, zatim Škola u Jagodini i Hotel Žiča u Mataruškoj Banji takođe Milana Zlokovića, memorijalne celine Bogdana Bogdanovića u Čačku i Kruševcu, memorijalni kompleks Šumarice kod Kragujevca, sa objektom muzeja 21. Oktobar Ivana Antića i Ivanke Raspopović, Muzej savremene umetnosti u Beogradu istih autora, Hala I Beogradskog sajma Milorada Pantovića, Branka Žeželja i Milana Krstića…

Mali deo toga se već može naći na našem sajtu docomomo-serbia.org koji, istina, takodje prolazi kroz neophodno osvežavanje i uskoro će biti obogaćen sadržajima koje realizujemo kroz više nacionalnih projekata: digitalizacija i javna dostupnost časopisa Arhitektura i urbanizam i Izgradnja, kao i praktično svaka vrsta arhivske građe iz ove oblasti do koje možemo doći i predstaviti je na ovakav način. Pored toga, u protekle dve godine smo, kroz saradnju sa institucijama i organizacijama raznih profila, sproveli niz tribina u nastojanju da pokrenemo javni dijalog i skrenemo pozornost na temu, pre svega, ugroženog modernističkog nasleđa, ali i njegovog tretmana u našem društvu u celini.

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Da li je bilo i u kojoj mjeri postoji suradnja s aktivističkim grupama?

Od samog osnivanja nacionalne sekcije 2010. godine, naše članstvo, ne preterano brojno, sačinjavaju pre svega profesionalci, ljudi angažovani na univerzitetu, mladi istraživači, doktorandi i studenti. Gotovo svako od nas je angažovan i u drugim grupama, udruženjima i organizacijama koje imaju uglavnom identične ciljeve, s nešto malo drugačijim poljem delovanja. S obzirom na disproporciju našeg broja i tema i konkretnih slučajeva koje zaslužuju punu pažnju i direktni angažman, kao i na veoma otežano finansiranje ovakvim bavljenjem arhitekturom, apsolutno su neophodni saradnja svih činilaca i zajednički rad i strategija, pa se nadamo da ćemo u budućnosti biti u mogućnosti da te saradnje intenziviramo.

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Centar za sport i rekreaciju “25.maj”

Razloge nepostojanja i moguće pravce razvijanja Docomomo sekcije Hrvatska propitujemo kroz projekt Motel Trogir kao jedne od rijetkih građanskih inicijativa za afirmaciju i zaštitu modernizma u Hrvatskoj. Kakva je suradnja Docomomo Srbije s drugim sekcijama?

Trudimo se, u meri u kojoj možemo, da budemo povezani sa što više sekcija, pogotovo zbog zanimljive činjenice da četvrtina naših članova (otprilike 5 od 21, da budemo sasvim jasni i iskreni) živi, radi, boravi ili studira van Srbije. Njihova veza s tamošnjim sekcijama je dragocena i korisna, posebno kada imamo u vidu apliciranje za projekte kroz razne programe Evropske komisije, što je naš dugoročni cilj za koji će nam biti neophodna dobra povezanost i umrežavanje s partnerima širom Evrope.
Ukoliko naš glas nešto znači na vašem lokalu, snažno podržavamo formiranje Do.co.mo.mo. radne grupe u Hrvatskoj i unapred nudimo našu logističku i moralnu podršku. U ovom razgovoru smo se najviše bavili Dobrovićem, a njegovo stvaralaštvo i jeste jedna od ključnih tema na kojima bi trebalo da sarađujemo.

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Kako općenito ocjenjujete kolektivnu svijest u Beogradu i Srbiji prema vrijednosti modernističkih zdanja, a time i vrijednosti koje one posreduju?

Nažalost, veoma slabo. Svojevremeno, kada je Generalštab bio u žiži naše javnosti, nekoliko članova – tada angažovanih na kampanji – se dogovorilo da sprovedu malo, interno istraživanje u svojoj porodici i među prijateljima. Mlađi rođaci, prijatelji, poznanici – dobro obrazovani, savremenih shvatanja, uglavnom su se zdušno zalagali za rušenje tog “komunističkog rugla”. A pazite, ovde je reč o obrazovanim, dobrostojećim pojedincima koji, naravno, nemaju nikakve profesionalne veze sa ovom oblašću. Kakva se onda tek reakcija može očekivati od šire javnosti? Uopšte je kod nas obrazovanje o arhitekturi, urbanizmu i prostoru vrlo skromno. U školama – izuzev onih usko stručnih – se uči  tek nekoliko vrlo formalnih lekcija iz likovne umetnosti, na primerima koji su većini učenika potpuno apstraktni, jer se nalaze u inostranstvu, u mestima koja oni nisu imali prilike da posete, niti da razumeju duh i kontekst takvih objekata.

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Muzej savremene umetnosti Beograd

Sa druge strane, dobar deo naših aktivnosti jeste okrenut edukaciji naših građana, pre svega onih mlađih – srednjoškolaca. Kroz program Beogradske internacionalne nedelje arhitekture (BINA) – manifestacije u organizaciji Društva arhitekata Beograda i Kulturnog centra Beograda koja je namenjena komunikaciji struke sa širom javnošću kroz javne događaje, realizovali smo veliki broj aktivnosti u koje smo direktno uključili đake i škole. To takođe nisu veliki brojevi u globalu, no – ne želeći da zvučimo otrcano – na mladima zaista svet ostaje i bilo bi besmisleno išta raditi iz viših, idejnih ili metafizičkih razloga, a da apstrahujemo ljude naše zemlje, koji moraju da budu svesni svog nasleđa i svog identiteta. Bez toga, bojimo se da će borba za vrednovanje i odgovarajući tretman kulturnog nasleđa biti u većem delu bez uspeha.

Aktivnosti Do.co.mo.mo Srbija pratite i ovdje .

Foto: Do.co.mo.mo. Srbija i drugi slobodni izvori

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Intervju s Natašom Bodrožić i Irenom Borić povodom izlaska knige Politics of Feelings/Economies of Love (Slobodne veze/ ONOMATOPEE, 2014)

POSVETA NEPLAĆENOM RADU

Razgovarao Saša Šimpraga

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Knjiga ‘Politike osjećaja, ekonomije ljubavi’ je objavljena u izdanju Udruge za suvremene umjetničke prakse Slobodne veze iz Zagreba, a nastala je kao rezultat projekta čitalačke grupe k.r.u.ž.o.k. koju su, uz Natašu Bodrožić i Irenu Borić, činili i Ivana Meštrov te članovi FOKUS GRUPE, umjetnici Elvis Krstulović i Iva Kovač. Knjiga donosi niz eseja i vizualnih priloga koji obuhvaćaju širok dijapazon tema: od kućnog porno uratka definiranog kao video umjetnost, preko arhitekture sovjetskog modernizma do analize odnosa umjetnika i institucija u Hrvatskoj. Knjiga je objavljena na engleskom jeziku u suradnji s nizozemskom izdavačkom kućom Onomatopee koja osigurava globalnu distribuciju. O knjizi govore urednice Nataša Bodrožić i Irena Borić.

Knjiga je rezultat rada neformalne grupe okupljene u projekt k.r.u.ž.o.k. Možete li reći nešto o tome?

Nataša Bodrožić: Početkom 2011. prvi put se sastajemo u Pogonu u Mislavovoj, kako bismo čitali tekst na temu političnosti berlinske Dade. Sastajemo se otprilike jednom, dva puta mjesečno, u početku intenzivno, po principu jedan od članova predloži i distribuira tekst bez obaveze da ga se pročita, iako je poželjno, s time da predlagač ima obavezu prezentiranja tj. prepričavanja. Kružok se sastajao oko dvije godine, a čitali smo tekstove autora poput Susan Sontag, Michela Foucaulta, Georgesa Bataillea, Artura Zmijewskog, Vjerana Katunarića, Jacquesa Rancierea, Mattea Pasquinellija itd. U nekoliko navrata smo pokušavali proširiti kružok, ali je o(p)stala samo inicijalna grupa. Negdje u vrijeme čitanja teksta Vjerana Katunarića ‘Politike sjećanja: Nacionalna povijest i različiti narativi’, koji se bavi devedesetima i analizira dvije suprotstavljene strane u tumačenju recentne (ratne) povijesti, istražujući odnos između ‘zdravorazumske mnemoničke zajednice’ i znanstvene zajednice, te njihov odnos prema istini, npr. dotičući se primjera Deklaracije o istini o Domovinskom ratu, polako se počela oblikovati ideja o užem interesu kružoka. Namjera nam je bila fokusirati se na analizu odnosa ideologije i procesa/mehanizama kreiranja društvenih emocija te statusa emotivne zajednice unutar nacionalističkog i/ili tržišnog fundamentalizma. Rad na knjizi javio se kao potreba dokumentiranja djelovanja grupe, ali ne kao sinteza dotadašnjeg rada već nastavak diskusije drugim sredstvima. Stoga, ova publikacija predstavlja mali eksperiment, uz uspostavljenu novu suradnju sa splitskom dizajnericom Rafaelom Dražić, koja je imala ključnu ulogu u definiranju izgleda završne publikacije.

Kako ste već naveli, pokušaj je to prikaza kako ideologija utječe na kolektivne emocije.

Nataša Bodrožić: Masovna politika strasti glavna je pokretačka snaga u suvremenom političkom polju. Čini se da emocije često ograničavaju naše kognitivne horizonte, svoje političke odluke ‘donosimo’ slijedeći emocionalni obrazac konteksta koji nas je oblikovao, daleko više nego što ih tretiramo intelektualno. Riječima Vjerana Katunarića, vladari društvenih emocija su ideologije i njihovi instrumenti masovne politike, prvenstveno mediji. Koji god se režim uspostavi nad nekim teritorijem, on uspostavlja i svoje ‘mehanizme masovne politike koji potiče strasti mase i poziva na identifikaciju novih prijatelja ili neprijatelja’. Polazeći od ovoga, u publikaciji smo htjeli ogoliti te mehanizme, sagledati ih u različitim situacijama. Možda su najplastičniji primjer takvog sagledavanja upravo sovjetske palače za vjenčanja i sprovode koje su dizajnirane u sovjetskim republikama krajem 60-ih, početkom 70-ih, u modernom stilu, kako bi se sakralni ritual vjenčanja zamijenio sekularnim. Građanski čin registracije braka trebalo je nanovo emocionalno i semantički osmisliti, pri čemu je arhitektura trebala odigrati značajnu ulogu. Domaćim čitateljima možda će biti interesantna analiza slučaja, sad već legendarnog, Severininog privatnog porno videa kojega je na sudu branila kao video umjetnost, pri čemu je isti postao točka artikuliranja nacionalnog ponosa. Naime, za Severinin video se govorilo da je primjer jednog od najboljih porno filmova u međunarodnim okvirima, a Hrvati su konačno postali priznati ne samo po sportskim uspjesima. Kada je nedugo potom procurio porno materijal Suzane Mančić, stvar je postala politička činjenica par excellence, kako tvrdi autorica teksta Ana Peraica, gurajući u prvi plan ‘skandaloznu ideju da su Srbi bolji u seksu’, a Severina je nedugo zatim izbacila hit ‘Hrvatica’ s popratnim videom u kojem se pojavljuje omotana državnom zastavom.

Pitanje nacionalnog identiteta dotaknuli ste i pričom o slovenskom endemskom kukcu čiji je službeni naziv Anophotalamus hitleri. O kakvom se slučaju radi?

Irena Borić: Vizualni prilog Jasmine Cibic dio je znatno šireg projekta ‘Za naše gospodarstvo i kulturu’, a predstavljen je na venecijanskom Biennaleu 2013. Polazeći od arhitektonskih i značenjskih propozicija nacionalnog slovenskog paviljona, tematska okosnica rada je pitanje nemogućnosti izbjegavanja nacionalne reprezentacije. Umjetnica o načinima razmjene, recepcije i konstrukcije identiteta govori kreiranjem multimedijalne instalacije koja je sadržavala dva videa, povijesno slikarstvo iz zbirke slovenskog parlamenta, te ručno crtanih kukaca, multipliciranih i otisnutih na tapete svih zidova paviljona. Slika kukca Anophotalamus hitleri predstavlja propalu nacionalnu ikonu zbog imena problematičnih ideoloških konotacija. Kukcu je ime dodijelio amaterski slovenski entomolog 1937., kada je Hitlerovo ime mnogima drukčije rezoniralo nego danas. Isticanjem ovog motiva Jasmina Cibic ukazuje na kontradiktornu i paradoksalnu poziciju umjetnice koja predstavlja svoju naciju.

Na specifične ekonomije umjetničkog svijeta ukazali ste i na primjeru istraživačkog rada autorice Tihane Puc ‘Karta izložbi’. Što istraživanje pokazuje?

Irena Borić: Karte izložbi samo su isječak doktorskog istraživanja Tihane Puc, a zorno prikazuju veze između umjetnika iz Hrvatske i javih i komercijalnih institucija u kojima su izlagali u razdoblju od 2002. do 2012. Pritom sve kartografski gusto naznačene veze imaju jednaku vrijednost bez obzira na vrstu izložbi ili umjetničkih institucija, tj. ne radi se o rangiranju umjetničkih pozicija unutar tzv. ‘ekonomije pažnje’. Autorica je do podataka došla analizom umjetničkih životopisa, a ta joj je analiza poslužila za znatno šire istraživanje popratnih procesa integriranja umjetnika i umjetnica iz Hrvatske u ‘globalizirani’ sustav suvremene umjetnosti nastao nakon 1989.

Knjiga je ujedno i svojevrsna posveta neplaćenom radu?

Nataša Bodrožić: Francuski filozof Charles Fourier, ‘rani socijalist’ koji se i sam dosta bavio pitanjima rada i njegovog prevođenja u zadovoljstvo, a kojega spominje FOKUS GRUPA u svom tekstu, predlaže da u okviru širih kolaborativnih društvenih struktura, kompenzacija za rad bude obrnuto proporcionalna zadovoljstvu koje taj rad proizvodi kod samog radnika. Čini se da tretman rada u umjetničkom, ali i širem kulturnom profesionalnom polju, danas, i to ne nužno vezano uz Fourierovu teoriju, perverzno počiva na ovoj tezi. Pitanje neplaćenog ili potplaćenog rada u umjetničkom polju ne može se promatrati izolirano od ekonomskog i društvenog konteksta u koji je upisano. Opet se vraćajući na Fouriera, ali i citirajući kolegicu Vesnu Vuković, možemo reći da ‘s jedne strane, kreativna autonomija podrazumijeva da umjetnost ne nastaje zbog novca, stoga je umjetnički rad neovisan po određivanju svoje cijene: ne može se formirati opća cijena radne snage i posljedično uspostaviti solidarnost s drugim umjetničkim proizvođačima’. S druge strane, mistifikacija kreativnog procesa u umjetničkom radu, još jednom skriva konkretne uvjete proizvodnje. U posljednje vrijeme pitanje naknade za rad umjetnika i ostalih radnika u kulturi dosta je aktualno unutar profesionalnih krugova, proporcionalno je sve većem rezanju javnih sredstava za kulturu, ali i dosta kontraverzno. Dok se kod nas javlja određeni broj malih kulturnih proizvodnih jedinica koje inzistiraju na naknadi umjetniku, sve češće se susreću umjetnici koji i kad izlažu u velikim institucijama poput muzeja, niti ne očekuju financijsku naknadu, zadovoljavajući se simboličkim kapitalom koji ‘dobivaju’ takvim okvirom, nadajući se da će ga jednom moći tržišno kompenzirati.

* KNJIGU POLITICS OF FEELINGS/ECONOMIES OF LOVE možete nabaviti u Muzeju suvremene umjetnosti u Zagrebu, pisati nam na adresu slobodne.veze@gmail.com ili je naručiti preko interneta: http://www.onomatopee.net/project.php?progID=e146eec350ae43c196923e3d0211352a

**Intervju je prethodno objavljen u zagrebačkom Tjedniku Novosti

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Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair i Alexandra Wachter, kustosice izložbe „Sovjetski modernizam 1955. – 1991.“

SOVJETSKI MODERNIZAM 1955.- 1991. MANJE POZNATA PRIČA
Razgovarali: Saša Šimpraga & Nataša Bodrožić

sevan
Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair i Alexandra Wachter kustosice su izložbe „Sovjetski modernizam 1955. – 1991. Nepoznate priče“  koja je otvorena krajem studenoga u bečkom Centru za arhitekturu, a traje do 25. veljače 2013.

U sjeni socrealizma i staljinističke arhitekture, sovjetski modernizam manje je poznat i zastupljen u zapadnim povijestima arhitekture. Istovremeno, zapadne su predrasude da je Istok bio preplavljen isključivo takvom arhitekturom i npr. nezanimljivim stambenim zgradama tzv. commie-blocks, dok istovremeno upravo takve zgrade, poznate i kao projects,  u jednakoj mjeri postoje u većini zapadnih zemalja. U zemljama poput Velike Britanija ili SAD-a one su još i odredile fizički okvir siromašnih geta. Koliko se izložba bavi razbijanjem takvih predrasuda?  

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair: Svakako je jedan od ciljeva izložbe bio riješiti se tih predrasuda. Zanimljivo je da smo spoznali i da to nisu samo zapadne predrasude, već i one iznutra.
Činjenica je da su jedan od glavnih graditeljskih zadataka kasnih pedesetih i 1960-ih bila stambena naselja i to upravo zbog ogromnog nedostatka tih kapaciteta nakon rata.  Činjenica je i da se u oko 70 posto izgrađenih objekata radilo o standardiziranim projektima. Prve velike serije, tzv. Camusov sistem, uvezene su iz Francuske i bile primjenjene za masovnu proizvodnju stambenih jedinica diljem SSSR-a.  Također je važno istaknuti da su debate oko novih formi stanovanja i stvaranju novih centara bile zapravo vrlo slične i na Istoku i na Zapadu.
No, za razliku od Zapada, sovjetski je planski sustav bio centraliziran i reguliran, ali smo na periferiji te nekad ogromne unije detektirali lokalne razlike. U suprotnosti s uobičajenim značenjem periferije, u sovjetskom slučaju je ispalo da su upravo to bila mjesta gdje su se kulturne i društvene inovacije mogle dogoditi, budući da su se ta mjesta manje identificirala sa stilskim diktatima centra što je omogućilo procese emancipacije.

Utoliko se izložba ne fokusira na standardizirano oblikovanje, iako je i to dio izložbe i rasprave, već se koncentrira na mnoge varijacije i različitost koje su se dogodile sa “stvaranjem sovjetskih glavnih gradova”. Izložba i katalog daju uvid u mogućnosti rada oko strogog sustava, a sve kako bi se postigli određeni ciljevi i realizirale posebne zgrade.

Apartment block, Tbilisi, georgia

U kojoj su mjeri regionalne specifičnosti bivših sovjetskih republika uvjetovale oblikovni jezik arhitekture?

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair: Lokalne ili regionalne specifičnosti imaju nekoliko i to vrlo različitih ishodišta. One su usko vezane uz individualne povijesti svake od republika.
Ovdje je važno imati na umu da u sve četiri regije – baltičkoj, istočnoeuropskoj, kavkaskoj  i srednjoazijskoj – na “politike sovjetizacije” treba gledati kroz postkolonijalni diskurs. Članstvo u Sovjetskom Savezu je, više ili manje, bilo prisilno, ovisno o pojedinoj političkoj konstelaciji.
Dok su baltičke države i one na Kavkazu, bile zemlje s dugom nacionalnom tradicijom, pet srednjoazijskih republika rezultat je više ili manje umjetne podjele od strane Sovjeta 1920-ih. Utoliko se neke republike smatraju okupiranima, neke saveznicama i to barem u početku, a neke koloniziranima.

Što se tiče baltičke arhitekture, orijentacija prema Europi ili točnije Skandinaviji, vrlo je očita. Jednostavne, funkcionalne forme, precizni detalji i relativno visok stupanj kvalitete izvedbe  imaju malo zajedničko s onim zgradama koje se u općem poimanju nazivaju “sovjetskima”.
“Rusifikacija” arhitektonske profesije je npr. u Estoniji bila vrlo niska. A i ljudi s Baltika se u visokom postotku samoidentificiraju s konceptom moderne, i to prije i nakon rata. U tome se smislu staljinistička arhitektura smatrala ruskom i stranom.

07_Soviet-Modernism-Unknown-Stories_ Song Festival Stage, 1957-1960, Tallinn, Estonia

Istočnoeuropske zemlje su i inače najbliže vezane uz Rusiju, a sveprisutna destrukcija nakon rata uvjetovala je da je rekonstrukcije bila jedan od najhitnijih zadataka.
Ponegdje je gotovo potpuni nedostatak povijesnih zgrada koje bi mogle poslužiti kao ishodišne točke u uspostavi lokalnih identiteta, pa i uništenje čitavih područja gradova, omogućilo implementaciju arhitekture koju je favorizirala Rusija u većoj mjeri nego u nekim drugim regijama.

Slično sa situacijom na Baltiku, brojnost lokalnih arhitekata na Kavkazu bila je prilično visoka, ali je ondje i prihvaćanje novog režima bilo relativno veliko. Dolazeći iz različitih “škola” arhitekture ti su arhitekti prihvaćali lokalne tradicije i vezali ih uz ideje modernizma u potrazi za sintezom.
Ondje je zamjetan i snažan utjecaj nekad jakog konstruktivističkog pokreta koji je imao vidljivi utjecaj na razvoj nazavisnog jezika arhitekture.

U Srednjoj Aziji potraga za nacionalnom komponentom arhitekture središnja je tema kroz čitavo sovjetsko razdoblje, ali je često bila ograničena na imitiranje orijentalnog ornamenta. Većina arhitekata koji su su gradili u Srednjoj Aziji nisu bili od tamo, a trebali su unijeti novi socijalistički način života “zaostalim” narodima srednje Azije.  Ondje je pitanje kolonijalnoga pristupa orijentalizmu delikatna tema koja se uveliko reflektira u arhitekturi i njenim interpretacijama.

10_Soviet-Modernism-Unknown-Stories_ Lenin palace, 1970, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Za primjer, erevansko „Kino Moskva“ recentnije je jedna od ključnih točaka civilne inicijative i aktivističkih pokreta nastalih u obranu javnog prostora i zajedničkih dobara koja je u sebi nosila i potencijalni začetak novog lijevog pokreta u Armeniji. Da li se izložba bavi tim suvremenim posljedicama arhitekture i njenim potencijalom oblikovanja opozicijskih politika i pokreta? Drugim riječima, koliko je projekt političan?  

Katharina Ritter: Arhitektura je uvijek politična pa su tako kroz povijest i svi stilovi refleksija političkih okolnosti u kojima su se dogodili.
U dosadašnjem istraživanju posebno smo nastojale držati neutralnu poziciju kako bi izbjegli “jezik Hladnoga rata” i kako bi zaobišli rastući val nostalgije.
U katalogu se mogu naći tekstovi autora mlađe generacije koji temi prilaze manje opterećeni prošlošću, ali i oni koji su obilježeni sovjetskim tonom.
I konačno, sam 19. bečki arhitektonski kongres koji se nadovezuje na aktualni međunarodni diskurs o postratnom modernizmu koji je, sve do sada, jedva i bio istraživan. Politička pitanja bila su puno više prisutna na kongresu nego na samoj izložbi.

Moscow Cinema Theater open air hall_ archive photo_ Ruben Arevshatyan

Koje su posljedice toga da se svojevrsna kanonizacija sovjetske moderne arhitekture događa u Beču, a ne zemljama bivšeg SSSR-a gdje se ta arhitektura dogodila?

Alexandra Wachter: Činjenica da je projekt realiziran u jednoj zapadnoj zemlji svakako podiže međunarodnu pažnju spram teme i na neki način garantira kritičku valorizaciju. Od sada se ove povijesti više ne mogu ignorirati.
Vjerujem i da projekt u tako velikom mjerilu, te s takvim fokusom na regionalnim razlikama, nije mogao biti realiziran na isti način u Rusiji ili nekoj drugoj od bivših sovjetskih republika. Iskustvo kongresa pokazuje i da kritički pogledi koji dovode u vezu povijest arhitekture SSSR-a s postkolonijalnim diskursom, još uvijek ne dolazi iz Rusije, već od znanstvenika koji su iz ili su vezani uz druge bivše sovjetske republike.
Istovremeno se istraživači iz ne ruskih republika obično koncentriraju samo na njihove zemlje, ili u boljem slučaju, regije. Npr. izložba “Modernizacija – baltička umjetnost, dizajn i arhitektura” koja je bila organizirana 2011. u Nacionalnoj galeriji u Vilniusu, tematizirala je specifičnu povijest baltičkih republika, bez šireg konteksta.
U mnogim bivšim sovjetskim republikama, uključujući Rusiju, naš je projekt inicirao žustre rasprave. Činjenica je da na Zapadu postoji interes za ovu temu i da je na 19. bečkom arhitektonskom kongresu usvojena rezolucija o potrebi očuvanja modernističke baštine, što svemu daje i veću težinu.

*Intervju je prethodno objavljen u zagrebačkom Tjedniku Novosti

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlCEUGg6qzE#t=174

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Angažman treba biti više posljedica nego polazište umjetnosti?

Intervju s Tonkom Malekovic // Razgovarao: Saša Šimpraga

tonka malekovic, working process, chisinau 2009

Pokretačica ste novoga zagrebačkoga izlagačkog prostora, u dvorištu u Jurišićevoj ulici. O čemu je riječ i kakvi su planovi?

Riječ je o umjetničkom projektu u formi haustor-galerije. Na poziv Rajka Pavlića iz plesnog studija Liberdance da realiziram umjetničku instalaciju na navedenoj lokaciji, predložila sam projekt čiji su koncept i forma u duhu propitivanja ekologije i ekonomije ili ekonomičnosti umjetničkog rada te umjetničkog djela kroz prostorno i kontekstualno specifični pristup. Sve se pokazalo kao prilika za jedan drugačiji, simbiotski odnos s plesnim studijem, u kojem je moguće umjetnicima osigurati i simboličnu naknadu za njihov rad. Tako je naglasak stavljen i na obrtanje uobičajene hijerarhije produkcija-honorar. Dosad su realizirani radovi troje umjetnika: minimalistička performativna intervencija Marijana Crtalića na staklu vrata haustora, “Most” Aleksandra Bedea iz Novog Sada, kao privremena intervencija koja je markirala trasu kojom je nekad prolazio potok Medveščak, te relacijski projekt talijanske umjetnice Tatiane Villani u kojem zajedno sa sudionicima izrađuje skice i potom za njih izvodi crteže šivaćom mašinom. Do kraja godine planiramo još četiri intervencije, a program se nastavlja i u 2013.

Umjetnički čin kao refleksija

U vašem je umjetničkom radu često prisutna participativnost. Koliko je za vas, u tom smislu, važan izlazak u javni prostor grada?

Neki su moji radovi participativni, neki nisu. Zagovaram umjetnički čin kao refleksiju. Umjetničku reakciju potaknut će kontekst, situacija, mjesto itd., pa je ona ponekad u formi participativne akcije. Kako je promišljanje šire društvene stvarnosti direktna posljedica kretanja od malih uzoraka i intimnih preokupacija, a protagonisti te društvene stvarnosti su ljudi, participativnost mi se čini nekom logičnom posljedicom. Čitavu zatečenu okolinu gledam i koristim kao oblikovni materijal. Veseli me i deteritorijalizacija subjekta kroz sudjelovanje; krećući se relacijom distanca-uključenost, pogled se pomiče, izoštrava, izmješta – ukratko, (po)ostaje aktivan i fleksibilan, a energija sudionika se transformira. To je interesantna i konkretna ili direktna posljedica umjetničkog čina, koju je inače teško detektirati i izmjeriti. Izlazak u javni prostor grada mi je bitan, a kreće više iz afektivnog i emocionalnog nego namjernog. Sviđa mi se rečenica Orhana Pamuka u “Istanbulu”, gdje kaže da “grad nema središta izvan nas samih”. Moje preokupacije i način stvaranja proizlaze iz sprege tihoga, intimnoga i šire društveno relevantnoga. U procesnom arhivu rada na temu urbane divljine i gradskih livada, više se bavim čitavom tom ontogenezom afiniteta prema javnim prostorima grada.

“Pametne” a loše izložbe

Biste li svoj rad opisali kao angažiran i koga biste izdvojili u kontekstu angažirane suvremene umjetnosti u Hrvatskoj?

Što uopće znači biti angažiran? Drugo je pitanje što, na kraju priče, direktni angažman proizvodi – to je praktički nemoguće izmjeriti. Smatram da biti angažiran znači aktivno gledati i promišljati, pa djelovati ili, preciznije, izraziti se. No, to ne mora nužno biti kroz eksplicitne iskaze. U tom bih se smislu voljela smatrati angažiranom. Istovremeno mi je osobito problematičan direktni angažman unutar “bijele kocke”, s tim da “bijela kocka” može biti i ulica. Čini mi se da često najkonkretnije posljedice takvog angažmana ostaju tek na karijerama umjetnika. Angažman u umjetnosti sad je veliki trend i učestalo polazište kustoskih koncepcija. Imam često dojam da što je rad plošniji i jednoznačniji ili dovoljno eksplicitno progovara o nekoj aktualnoj društvenoj problematici, to ga je lakše uklopiti kao ilustraciju počesto vrlo pretencioznih koncepcija. Takvi radovi i umjetnici svakako brže nalaze put do nekog etabliranog mjesta u svijetu suvremene umjetnosti od nekih suptilnijih, ali umjetnički zapravo kompleksnijih i snažnijih umjetničkih iskaza, koji se upravo radi svoje slojevitosti teže uklapaju u strogo određenu problematiku. Kompleksnost postaje vrednota kao kompleksnost diskursa u sferi kustoskih koncepcija, a od radova kao da se traži da budu plošni, da bi ih bolje i zapravo jednostavnije ilustrirali. Zato imamo niz “pametnih”, ali loših izložbi.

Smatram da je direktnom angažmanu mjesto u građanskim inicijativama i drugim društvenim organizacijama koje se u svom predanom radu mogu služiti i kreativnim alatima i jezicima, što nije nužno umjetnost, te na taj način doprijeti do većeg broja ljudi. S druge strane, umjetnost treba biti ona koja si ne zadaje pragmatične ciljeve, pa ni u najplemenitije svrhe. Mišljenja sam i da bi trebalo opet malo zaviriti u fenomenologiju estetskog iskustva i pokušati detektirati gdje izvire snaga djelovanja umjetnosti i upravo tu snagu možda također nazvati angažirajućom. To nipošto ne znači da zagovaram puku estetizaciju, autističnu umjetnost ili da u vlastitim radovima ne dotičem socijalnu problematiku, upravo suprotno. Aktivno gledanje koje sam spomenula podrazumijeva osviještenost o društvenom kontekstu i to se uvijek, kao uostalom i cijela osobnost, negdje odražava i kroz sam rad. Kad govorimo o umjetničkom djelovanju, smatram da angažman treba biti više posljedica nego polazište za stvaralaštvo i da, umjesto strogih i eksplicitnih pozicija i društveno korisnih imperativa, treba u umjetničkom polju dati prednost prostoru za eksperiment, proturječnost, zbunjenost, iznenađenje, promjenjivost, slojevitost, višeznačnost, zabune i pogreške, nova pitanja… Takav pristup pažnju održava budnom, odnosno perpetuira aktivno gledanje i mišljenje, koje se posljedično može odraziti i na široj društvenoj stvarnosti.

Intervju je prethodno objavljen ovdje:

http://www.novossti.com/2012/11/angazman-u-umjetnosti-sad-je-veliki-trend/

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ARTLEAKS (2012)
interview by Natasa Bodrozic for Ve.Schheft

ArtLeaks is collective platform initiated by an international group of artists, curators, art historians and intellectuals in response to the abuse of their professional integrity and the open infraction of their labor rights. In the art world, such abuses usually disappear, but some events bring them into sharp focus and therefore deserve public scrutiny.  Our project was born out of a particular situation of conflict with Pavilion UniCredit a contemporary art center in Bucharest, Romania. Over the course of 2 years (2009-2011) the core members of ArtLeaks collected evidence of several instances when this center acted against the interests of the workers and public it pretends to serve – and considered it our civic and political responsibility to not let these accounts be suppressed but subject them to public scrutiny.

Our initial protest led to larger discussions that made us realize that we are not only dealing with a particular case of abuse and infringement of cultural workers’ rights (not just artists but also curators and critics are usually involved) but general conditions of inequality, precarity, abuse that affect all of us, whether you’re an artist or critic in Romania or working in the field of culture in France, Italy, Russia or the United States. All of us had experienced and vocalized protests against the pervasive corporatization of contemporary art and culture, the accumulation of cultural capital by banks or foundations through the labor of cultural workers that are not compensated in return – and what is more troubling the suppression of any kind of debate around these conditions of exploitation and the politics of corporate sponsorship.

More about ArtLeaks: http://art-leaks.org/about/

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N.B: In the text on the web site: http://art-leaks.org/ you state that one of your main goals is to stand against open infraction (of cultural workers´) labor rights. Given that the remuneration to the artist for his labor imposes as one of the main questions that initiate reflection and criticism of the functioning of the entire system of art, I am interested in- what model does ArtLeaks consider/find adequate in the case when an organization/off space/curator who employs/invites an artist is also dependent on public funding that (in many cases) does not foresee ARTIST´S FEE as a budget line. In short, how to deal with the situation when both curator and artist are precarious workers and only curator/organizer gets (anyway) insufficient remuneration for his/her work by the public fund?

David Riff: The question you describe is very common. Legislations and practices with regard to artist’s fees vary from country to country, and in an increasingly precarious world, curators are very lucky if they can pay a fee or keep their promises as to payment. Symptomatically, requests by artists for payment are usually followed by silence. From the curatorial side, it’s a cause for much agony. Under those circumstances, we can say quite clearly: curators who use public-private funding and political agendas to self-aggrandize without ever foreseeing a fee are bastards. Especially while others are forking out their own hardearned money to save underfunded projects. It sometimes happens under those circumstances that you can’t pay or don’t get paid. And then? Could this be the end of a beautiful friendship? It always depends, and we cannot give you the perfect solution under such variable conditions. How to organize? Any initiative today must include not only artists, but also curators and other lesser “reproductive” workers in the art system, and must articulate demands for all agents involved. But most importantly, there must be an understanding that things are appalling and they could be different and that only pressure exerted together will help, if curators are not villified but included in the discussion. There must be solidarity when the museum workers realize that they are getting paid more than the artists, and our goal would be to find a base for that, a language to talk about common problems. We hope that Artleaks will be a platform where we can develop such an idiom.

N.B: We all probably agree that such a practice (public budgets not supporting ARTIST FEE) is intolerable, but many of us still are in such a system and work within this framework. Naturally, we are finding different ways to solve the problem of artists´ fees (often semi-legally-making minor misdemeanors, but referring to the legitimacy of such actions). What is ArtLeaks attitude in the framework of the situation we have now?

Vladan Jeremić: One of our ideas is to formulate public demands through a Union of precarious workers. We believe that is not so easy to organize public pressure through NGOs, as they can be very easily corrupted by neoliberal politicians, not to mention the fact that NGOs often adopt atomised strategies, which fail to address the systemic exploitation which you mentioned. We think that a Cultural Workers and Artists Union of precarious workers can formulate relevant standards and exert international pressure – with the help of ArtLeaks’ online campaigns and public visits and assemblies. This strategy may help when dealing both with local contexts and linking these struggles from a geopolitical dimension of political and economic relations.

N.B: Many artists are dealing with the above mentioned issue, in different ways. For example, as a reaction to the impossibility to get her honorarium through Croatian public funding channels, Zagreb based artist Tonka Malekovic started a doorway gallery- a space to provoke transient, non lasting form/practice. She did it in collaboration with a dance center which invests some money in the project. Artists are invited to intervene following the logic of maximum performance through minimum (production) input, in the material sense – to reflect the realization of as minimal, as ecological, as ephemeral work possible. By switching hierarchy (determined by the public funds):
– Means for realization of an art work
– Remuneration for the work of artist
she promotes the scarcity of the conditions into a challenge (…) into chance to rethink social and economical  position of the artist in the given reality. Basically, she gives honorarium and cancels the need to build/invest (material) into an art work. Is this one of the solutions? To cancel the materiality (and durability) of the art work?

Bureau of Melodramatic Research: This example is very interesting and it would be important to include it in ArtLeaks agenda, but we think it is not crucial to cancel investment in order refund artists fee. Example of Tonka Malekovic is relevant but concrete practice is always context related and ArtLeaks sees their role more as political actor then as a producer of alternative practices.

A potential strategy for such situations is to use the “No Fee Statement”, developed by the Bureau of Melodramatic Research in collaboration with Paradis Garaj, which is available on our website. The document is a form to be filled in by representatives of both public and corporate funded institutions whenever the payment of an artist fee is denied. We encourage cultural workers to demand the managers of these institutions to take public responsibility for their financial policies, and make these forms available to the international cultural community and the media. On the other hand your example of Croatia is in a way similar to what is happening with the Romanian Cultural Institute at the moment, when artists are faced with the impossibility of getting remunerations they have earned through public contest (not because of restrictions in the budget distribution but because of government cuts altogether in the budget for culture). This shows once again that a struggle targeted solely towards the art world and art institution is not enough, an extended political solidarity is necessary, whereby cultural workers and other disenfranchised categories mobilize together to resist the neoliberal assault that we are confronted with.

N.B: In order to grasp the market system too… what is ArtLeaks position towards the art market and do you think that artist (as a worker)´s rights are guaranteed by the contract one signs with a commercial gallery? As we know gallery contracts are often not so beneficiary for the artist as he/she is obliged to give away 50% or more (depends on the contract) to the Gallery even if he/she sells the work through other channels. On the other hand Gallery is not obliged in any sense to sell certain amount of your work. So, as someone noticed: basically you have obliged yourself to them but they have not done the same to you.

Ştefan Tiron: ArtLeaks strives to achieve this, as fairness and justice are one of our founding goals. But at the same time, we need to take into account the fact that a sort of domino effect of exploitation happens down the chain. If we just secure artists’ position and fail to address the condition of many others who perform unpaid labor, and who may endure even more abuse and humiliation, then we just scratch the surface of the inequalities in the contemporary art world. It is not just about these exclusive, linear contracts, but also non-contractual art sweatshop practices which directly affect different subaltern cultural workers. It is important to also consider the role of these “plain-artisans,” who work in a nearly feudal relationship to blue-chip (or superstar) artists or their overlords. As we know, the art market is not constituted by just galleries and artists, but also by people who guard or move the works, clean the floors, do all sorts of unwaged or badly paid work inside cultural institutions. This exploitative landscape extends into the “voluntariat”: from unpaid translations to front-desk volunteers.

N.B: ArtLeaks held several conferences/meetings so far (Berlin, Moscow & Belgrade recently) where you were examining specific cultural contexts and certain cases of artists rights abuse submitted to your platform. Your aim is to create an international front of solidarity to struggle for cultural workers’ rights. What are the next steps?

Corina L. Apostol: Some of our goals are to continue organizing these assemblies, workshops and on the ground investigations  of different contexts around the world.  Also, we plan to strengthen alliances with international groups with tangent concerns such as W.A.G.E., Arts&Labor, Occupy Museums, Haben und Brauchen, PWB, Critical Practice, Art & Economics Group. It is in this sense that we emphasize that only an internationally coordinated front of solidarity would be able to expose and denounce exploitation and censorship in contemporary culture, and collectively imagine new types of organizational articulations which would respond to the needs and desires of political subjects constituted at the crossing points of the current economic, politic and cultural transformations.  Last but not least, we are very excited that we will be launching the ArtLeaks Gazette at the beginning of 2013. It will be a publication entirely dedicated to issues of censorship, cultural workers’ rights and formulating and strategies of organizing cultural workers.
*(graphics by Zampa di Leone)

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EVERYONE IS A CITY MAKER (2010.)

mini interview with Alex Axinte & Cristi Borcan // StudioBasar (Bucharest, Romania) on the occasion of their lecture SEARCH AND RESCUE:CITY at Zagreb Architects Society (DAZ) on September 28, 2010. The lecture was part of the program Loose Associations:Lines of Movement.

Your credo?
Everyone is a city maker.

Your influences (these aren’t necessarily architectural)?
The range is wide, and the selection is seasonal, but we took some lessons from Woody Allen, The Situationist Movement, Orhan Pamuk, Yona Friedman, Oblomov, Team 10 and even Corto Maltese.

Your favorite tools?
Whatever works in getting us from square one to a new logic.

You are keen on..?
Translating the environment prior to any Intervention.

Message to architecture students?
Have a taste from everything around, because history of architecture is not enough.

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TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STUDIO BASAR´S  PROJECT “EVICTING THE GHOST”, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

studioBASAR_evicting_the_ghost

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FUTURE WAS YESTERDAY (2009)


an interview with the R.E.P. group (Kiev, Ukraine) on the occasion of their two exhibitions in Zagreb, in Galleries SC and PM, in November 2009.
The interview was first published in Croatian at
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You are coming to Croatia to present self organized art scene from Ukraine that has been developing from 2004/2005 on. The exhibition’s title is FUTURE WAS YESTERDAY. The title referes to 1999 Zagreb exhibition FUTUR IS NOW (curators Tihomir Milovac and Branka Stipančić) presenting Ukrainian artists from 1990’s. Can you explain us the link between the titles? What happened in between 1999 and 2009?

R.E.P: Next generation came to Ukrainian social life and art scene as well. People are more disillusioned regarding advantages of neo-liberal regime and possibilities of becoming part of western world. Less believe to “democratic rituals”, to parliament representative function and higher level of horizontal self-organization. There is less delight among artists about “new media” and “freedom of expression” in art; a “realistic” turn.

FUTURE IS NOW title presents post-socialist lovely phantoms about time which is new in essence, and non-critical taking the concept of “end of history”. FUTURE WAS YESTERDAY is about disillusioned position towards “brave new world”, about return of memory, about some kind of social and artistic restart. It is a kind of manifest of new disillusioned optimism.

What is the relation between your generation of artists and those that were active in the 1990s, is there continuity between those 2 generations?

R.E.P: For some of us that are family relations. But if there is any continuation of some tradition – it is not visible for us. We pay more attention to differences. Probably whole situation will be evident much later.

After Soros left Ukraine, it seems that the contemporary art significantly “suffered”. How do you explain the fact that the state did not find relevant to support it? Does it mean that Soros introduced contemporary art practices in Ukraine? Is there a relevant cultural continuity between today’s art in Ukraine and some other epoch in Ukrainian art history or Soviet system managed to prevent all the possible attempts?

R.E.P: The process didn’t stop. Artists just removed to commercial galleries and then to private art centers. A lot of artists become dependent from the support of Ukrainian new rich and from their tastes. That mad a bed influence on a quality of artistic life. But then a new generation of internationally active Ukrainian artists came.

Soros centre started to work in Ukraine (1993) when young contemporary artists from “Paris commune” squat, from Odessa conceptual art movement, from Kharkiv “social photography” school already widely represented their works even collaborating with later-Soviet and post-Soviet official art institutions.

These institutions are still active but since early 1990s they become more and more conservative. So Ukrainian contemporary art exists on the territory of local private or western (or those of western origin) institutions or it survives and develops through self-organization of art community.

The “number 1” contemporary art institution in Ukraine today is definitely Pinchuk Art Center, opened in 2006 in Kiev. It is a strange mixture of art as part of PR, serving for some kind of image building of the Ukrainian oligarch? There are some opinions that Pinchuk appeared to fill the gap of what were presumably the hopeful expectations of George Soros’ efforts to institutionalize art and culture in Eastern Europe, i.e. neo-capitalists pointing capital towards art. What do you think of that and what is your relation towards the Pinchuk center?

R.E.P: This institution is really autonomous on Ukrainian scene. It is not a part of local institutional infrastructure. Somehow it acts more as attraction centre, kind of Disneyland. Also invited western specialists create for Pinchuk a collection on luxury and glossy art.

But same time this centre works instead of absent state centre of contemporary art forming strong collection of Ukrainian art of elder generation and sometimes supporting young artists.

In 2008 we made there a work, trying to analyze the place and role of this institution in a context of different forms of socialization of art. This installation called “Art as a present” presented a critical position towards Pinchuk Art Centre as phenomenon of wild post-Soviet capitalism. But the fact is that PAC was able to show this work.

The need of Ukrainian situation is not a monopolistic private institution but a lot of different ones and not-for-profit public institutions which could produce an independent expert function.

Kiev is a 3 million inhabitant city. What are the main tensions within the city? What is specific for the city in this very moment?

R.E.P: The most evident is the attack of big building companies on public spaces. Children playgrounds, parks are in danger. City power often is on the side of builders.

Communal services become more and more expensive, for poor social groups it is catastrophe.

Kiev is mostly Russian speaking, as well as Odessa and Harkow while western Ukraine speaks Ukrainian mostly. Is there a tension between those two languages/ language groups?

R.E.P: Professional politicians from nationalistic and from pro-Russian sides create artificial tension – especially before elections. To use language issue in agitation and promises which are always given before elections – people call it “to show the tongue”.

There are no natural obstacles for coexistence of two languages in Ukraine. But xenophobes from both camps always in search for occasion for conflict. This occasion can become a reason to divert from real social problems.

What is Ukrainians’ relation with Russia today and how do you look at soviet cultural heritage from today’s perspective?

R.E.P: Do you ask about our personal relation? What is “Russia” – people or regime?

Regime is really shitty. But it is not a reason to idealize “democratic west”.

Regarding people and personal relations, we have plenty of friends and colleges. There is a strong cultural proximity. And common Soviet is experience really conducive for this.

What changed after the Orange revolution?

R.E.P: People got valuable experience of mobilization and self-organization. Regarding system of power – nothing changed in essence.

In an article in an Ukrainian magazine I read about «appropriation of protest» by different power groups, and that there are so called «professional protesters» people hired to protest paid by an hour. You also used the language of the protest in your earlier works. How do you perceive the power of protest today, within the political system? Can people in the street today really change something? And on what it depends?

R.E.P: Yes, power really appropriates the language of protests, creates groups of fake independent protesters. When people can not distinguish truth from lie, they become passive.

But those who want to change the situation create new methods. If you know who are people who protest and if you can suppose the results – you can understand the motives. At least real activist scene is not so big.

I always ask this question lately: when you mention self education versus the old art education system, whom/where do you learn from?

R.E.P: From art schools and academies which keep a lot of elements of Soviet system of art education, from books, from Internet, from traveling, from communication, from theoretical events we participate in.

What do you know about Croatia(n art)?

R.E.P: It is the first in a line of applicants for EU. Beautiful landscapes, ancient history, strong corruption, popular tourist place, radical nationalism.

Strong conceptual artists: Mladen Stilinovic, Sanja Ivekovic, Braco Dimitrijevic, Tomislav Gotovac. Stilinovic work is important for us, particularly his text “Praise to laziness”. We also appreciate the practice of WHW curatorial group.

Another thing that we see is well-developed non-commercial institutional scene. But maybe we are somewhat idealistic.

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EXHIBITION REVIEW (hr):

http://www.tportal.hr/kultura/kulturmiks/43001/Revolucionarni-eksperimentalni-prostor-u-Zagrebu.html.

 

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THE NEED TO DISCONNECT (2009)

an interview with the artist Vlad Nanca (b.1979, Bucharest, Romania) on the occasion of his presentation within Loose Associations: Lines of Movement program, in Zagreb, May 2009. The interview was conducted by Ivana Meštrov and Nataša Bodrožić

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One might say that you are one of several Romanian artists quite present internationally. How did this happen? Was it the strategy of networking that you specially focused on or you were lucky that the West (and the rest) at some point had the particular interest in Romanian up to date art?

V.N: I don’t think I’m that present internationally, but I agree, for a while I have been involved in networking projects but rather locally and anyway, it was never done in a structured way, I never told myself “I must do networking!”. It all happened naturally, mostly coming from my constant need to be in contact and dialogue with artists of my generation. Looking at the way things are at the moment I realize that I am in as good relations with fellow artists from Bulgaria or Poland as with Romanian ones, but I don’t think that makes me present internationally. Otherwise I agree, for some years there might have been an increased interest in Romanian art but I think that in this case, unlike with Romanian Cinema for instance, it has more to do with business and art investment reasons than with interest on Romanian creativity.

You were attending the National University of Arts in Bucharest, Department of Photography and Time-Based Media Arts. You said once that you came there because you wanted Iosif Kiraly, one of the most prominent figures in today’s Romanian contemporary art/photography, to be your tutor.  He was the member of the “subREAL group”, rooted in Romanian conceptual art of the 1980s and focused on the new realities of post-Communist Romania, in the same time. Some of the theorists point out this “subREAListic” moment in your photography. Could you describe what those elements in your works are? What is “subREAL” in your photography?

V.N: As a high school student my interest in sciences decreased as my connections to the art high school students and the number of visits to the galleries in Bucharest increased. It was during a period when the National Art Museum in Bucharest did some wonderful retrospectives of Ion Grigorescu, Horia Bernea and Paul Neagu that I came across a subReal catalogue… These were all events that made think more and more about taking on an artistic journey in my life.  If at one point I was more interested in cinematography, after studying in the film school for a semester I quickly moved on to the Art University knowing that Kiraly (who was then active within the subReal duo) was teaching in the photography department. I would say that the subReal influences might be visible in my installations rather than my photography. There is always a small provocation, irony and humour but also serious questions that I try to stir up.

Do you see photography as a document for anthropological research i.e. as a tool for documenting changes in urban landscape as representation of changes in social context, or you are looking for something else?

V.N: As years are passing and I look back at my photographs I start to understand more and more the importance of their documentation value. I would say that now more than ever, the everyday photographs that I take are done with a sense of awareness of their future documentary value. Up until a few years ago I wasn’t really thinking of it this way (except for the street art and graffiti photographs I was taking which were for pure documenting reasons), I would just take pictures of the everyday environment I was living in, just as simple daily observations.

When speaking of post-Ceausescu public space in Romania, there is a common observation about exclusion from collective use of space, a sort of „dispossession of the city“. One of the projects by Calin Dan (entitled „Sample city“ in which he walks the city of Bucharest carrying door on his back) shows those discontinuities of the urban tissue, areas that most systematically suffered from the interventions of communist urbanism. How do you perceive your home city today, besides the fact that it has been overtaken by cars (as your DACIA project/Dream of Bucharest shows)?

V.N: After years and years of living in constant fear, in a police and secret polices controlled society, where almost nothing was allowed in public space, now there is a constant feeling of uncertainty when it comes to think to whom the public space belongs to. On one hand there is still a general paranoia about photographing anything from buildings to cars to a piece of graffiti on a wall but on the other hand people go out and fix their cars on the street, bring out chairs and play backgammon listening to their favourite turbo folk songs. One might put a fence in front of their garden or build a contraption to mark a parking space without any approval from the council, or the city council might build a horrendous fountain or bring in some beyond kitsch street sculptures without any consultation of the public, the architectural guild or anybody. In this picture everything is paved with huge billboards advertising anything and everything. There are adverts on buildings, on the pedestrian crossings, on the public transport, on huge led screens, everywhere. It is a total mess which might be extremely inspiring for creative types but a daily torture for the Bucharest citizens.

When you speak about your projects you tend to make a clear distinction between personal artistic projects, and collaborative projects that you do not perceive as artistic. Or, you talk about me and us. We would like to know who constitues the «we», and why do you think that the collaborative projects you’re involved in are not the artistic ones?

V.N: I’m not sure I understand the question. I suppose it depends if there are projects done under 2020.ro umbrella then there were different people involved (Kate Smith, Stefan Tiron, Valentin Chincisan, sometimes Ion Cotenescu and myself) or other common projects but sometimes it can be just a manner of speach, I wouldn’t give that too much importance.

Scoala Generala is one of the collaborative projects you’re involved in. How would you define your role within this project, and could you tell us more about its modus operandi?

V.N: Scoala Generala is a free school based on the model of the free universities in the ‘west’, it involves meeting on every Monday evening where a certain person from within the usual attendees of the school or sometimes a guest (though we never want to make people feel as guests within the school) is giving a lecture, presentation, showing a film or simply proposing an issue for debate. My role is what I would like to be everyone’s role, that of a coordinator and active member of the free school.

You are, quite often, the total producer of your own artistic projects which is in a way a self-sufficient role? How do you define yourself in relation to the curatorial practices, and do you really need a curator?

V.N: Quite often working with do it yourself methods can exclude a curator, (it’s full on diy!) but even if in some of the self produced shows I give the impression I’m totally on my own it is never the case. I could not and would not want to put on a show without talking through the creation / production process with other artists, curators or philosophers. I don’t necessarily see the process as a curatorial one, but a constant dialogue around the works certainly exists before, during and after each show I do. That doesn’t mean I don’t like working with curators, I actually really like it as I see them as an important part in a creative process and for me coming up with a new work from an exchange of ideas with a curator is an ideal situation.

Majority of your works involve the idea of reclaiming the personal (artistic and citizen) space/sphere within the broader public/ideological field. What strategy or urge drives you towards them?

V.N: It’s funny that you say that because for a while I’ve been getting a bit frustrated with my role as an artist as citizen and would prefer to be more focused on the artist as creative person situation rather than the politically/socially/environmentally involved figure. I still think an artist, just like any other person should be socially engaged and a responsible citizen but somehow I get a bit tired of the social and geo political imprint in my art discourse. That is why at the moment I am happy to be away from my usual context in Bucharest and I enjoyed my time away in London and nowadays in Vienna. It gives me the needed distance to disconnect more than just physically and I am also curious to see in what way this will influence my work.

How would you describe the situation in Romanian art nowadays? What are the major preoccupations, structures that support the artistic productions and projects, and how do you position your 2020 Home Gallery towards it?

V.N: 2020 Home Gallery is a closed project, it all ended with the 3 week long performance when I moved in a gallery with my family and we used it in reverse to the situation when we were doing exhibitions in our apartment. The art scene is ever changing… I am happy to see more and more young artists coming from everywhere, after a period of quietness, more new spaces, the former Soros Centre is working again after a few years of inactivity, the contemporary art museum in Bucharest seems to have found a certain rhythm and puts on some good shows but the most interesting situation is in Cluj. Since a few years the art scene in Cluj has called wide international attention especially because of the painters based there. Up until recently the situation was that with all the fuss about Cluj if one had travelled there they would have had good chances to find almost nothing going on. The situation hss changed and now Cluj is the first city in Romania to have an artists’ community working together for a certain goal. All the contemporary art galleries, some artist studios, arts associations, fashion studios etc have all moved on the building of the former paintbrush factory…  There is also an auditorium, some offices for the cultural managers running the space but most importantly there is plenty of potential. The initiative is unique, especially as they are all very good galleries and good artists. It’s simply wonderful!

How do you position the project of the ongoing network of home exhibitions within the larger art historical frame?

V.N: 2020 Home Gallery came out more or less from the need to be active as artists at a time where there was almost no interest towards the young art scene. At that time opening up our flat for exhibitions was a very handy solution and we did it without much thinking about the historical situation. Later on I found out that there were some artists in the 60’s who were doing home gallery exhibitions as they were not accepted in the artists’ Union – the only institution that was allowed to do art shows apart from the foreign cultural centers, and also I learned about some home exhibitions and performances done by Lia and Dan Perjovschi. As for the international situation I’m still not so aware of what was or still is happening but I never imagined we were doing something unique. However, I am a big supporter of using every available space, private or public, for dialogue, public expression and the arts. That is why even though 2020 Home Gallery stopped working, I have always supported initiatives of this kind.

You once mentioned that the Romanian Ministry of culture operates in parallel with the Ministry of religious affairs. You were dealing with this kind of issues in your work…

V.N: This is one of the only weird situations in Romania and as far as religion is concerned the most ridiculous thing is that in 2009 when the whole world celebrated the Darwin year, the Romanian authorities proposed the suspension of the evolutionist theories from all the school books. Another amazing thing is the result of a recent study which shows that from 1990 until now there has been build one church every day, not literally but anyhow, imagine the amount of resources spent for that… These are situations that need to be reacted to and challenged one way or another. Whether this should be done through the arts or through proper citizen action is something I ask myself more and more.

 
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (2009)

an interview with the curator Cristian Nae (Iasi, Romania) on the occasion of the exhibition “While You Were Sleeping” in Student Center Gallery in Zagreb in April 2009. The interview was conducted by Nataša Bodrožić.

With the exhibition „While you were sleeping“ in SC gallery, Zagreb audience had a rare chance to have an insight into the Romanian contemporary art scene (although few of the Romanian artists were represented through the projects by the local curators such is WHW (Normalization- Dan Perjovschi, Joanne Richardson) and the very recent Zagreb Salon „The Salon of Revolution“ by curatorial team Majaca/Bago (Mona Vatamanu, Florin Tudor, Ciprian Muresan etc). As you said before, your curatorial conception was based on the choice of younger generation of artists, basically from Iasi (with few exceptions). Can you explain the title of your exhibition,  in relation to the tendencies on the art scene/generation you were interested in?

C.N:  There is maybe an ironic suggestion in your question which I really didn’t intend – the idea that somehow, a younger generation of artists has occurred unnoticed. In fact, the title of my exhibition, which indeed presented a selection of works by really young artists, referred to a state of what I called ”generalized numbness”, to lack of awareness and participation to the everyday public sphere. It may seem odd to consider this a shift of perspective or interest, since criticality has been in the center of art discussions and production in Romanian art for the last 10 years, I could say. But today it has also become an easy label and comfortable positioning – almost an ideological and void term used to cover up singular projects and give them a sort of immunity and authority. That is precisely why I also wondered if the younger generation of artists, most of them developed around the ”Vector” Association in Iasi and most of them also young students until recently, still relate to such a theme. Are they still interested in such a theme, such as the “sleep of reason” in recent Romanian public sphere? And of course, I also wondered if they approach social content, and relate to questions of intervention and opposition, in a different manner than the older artists and the already established ones. Secondly, nationalist representations and retrospections tend to leave place for a cosmopolitan and globalized discourse. That is also why I was interested if this type of self-questioning is still important for the young generation. The works I have selected are all connected among them by an obvious interest in debating the question of public space from a subjective perspective, and I considered they illustrate a chaotic state of affairs in Romanian society, where a new class of rich people exhibiting sheer economic power is emerging.

As for other aspects of the young artistic scene, I can say that it also shows a great interest in working with subjectivity and intimacy in an expressive, sometimes theatrical way, often using powerful aesthetic devices. I am now more and more interested in this tendency – but this is already a future project.

What constitutes Iasi contemporary art scene? What is its’ specificity, in what relation is it with Bucharest (art scene)?

C.N: I think that the part of the Iasi artistic scene which is visible internationally today was and is still less exposed to commercialism than other Romanian centers, such as Bucharest and Cluj. And that is why it is maybe more closely connected to direct criticism than the polymorphic Bucharest art scene, of which there is, of course, a similar group of artists with similar approaches. Young artists from Iasi are also used to work with low-budget, unlike many of the Bucharest-based ones – and this could also be seen in my exhibition. They have turned this situation into a conceptual choice. As for the already established ones, they grew out of a powerful conceptual expression and social thematic – and they still work with minimal devices, although, they do not necessarily low-budget today, in terms of materials and aesthetic devices used in their works. On the other hand, there is still a profound gap in Iasi between local artists around the Artists Union, practicing traditionalistic modernist painting and sculpture, on the one hand, and those grew out of the oppositional tendency which Vector group represented in the nineties.

As for the relation with Bucharest- I think there are unavoidable connections. Still, Bucharest-based art galleries keep on focusing on Bucharest-based artists.

Recently more people heard about the city of Iasi through the Periferic biennial. It seems that through the last edition (2008) it gained international recognition. Can you tell us something about this particular biennial, its history, subjects who started it, this new strategy that was applied with the choice of Dora Hegy for an artistic director, last year?

C.N: First of all, I think Matei Bejenaru should say more about this. But first, I have to say that I think the international recognition of the Biennal came earlier. Maybe it came with the 7th edition, which followed the first biennial as such, called ”Prophetic Corners” and curated by Anders Kreuger. The choice of Anders Kreuger for the 6th edition already announced the biennial on the European map, and it was indeed a major turning point for the ex-performance festival which grew into an international contemporary art exhibition and then into a biennial.

Secondly, it is very simple to describe ”Periferic” in terms of artistic initiative and its history: it is mainly the work of Matei Bejenaru, and it owes much to his personal charisma and energy. Many people may feel upset by the fact that ”Periferic” always meant, at least in Romania, ”Matei Bejenaru”, like a sort of one-man-institution. But it is due to his personal energy that it grew out in the nineties, first, as a performance festival and then, as a biennial. I think it started out of the acknowledgment of an isolated and peripheral condition of Iasi on the international art scene, despite its cultural importance. Shortly, I think Matei Bejenaru tried to create a platform for fostering artistic interest and critical attitude – which, strangely enough, had a sort of avant-garde look and atmosphere in the late 90’s. But again, he should say more about it… As for the last edition, Dora Hegy certainly succeeded to expand this self-awareness – but I am not entitled to appreciate it. All I can say, as someone who took part of it, is that she is a really great person and a really professional curator.

What is the influence of the Periferic biennial on the local art scene? How is it perceived locally?

C.N: It is hard to discuss this. I only worked as assistant curator for the 7th edition and for the last one, in the mediation team of the biennial, where I collaborated with Catalin Gheorghe in order to create an almost autonomous curatorial/artistic mediation project. So, paradoxically, I cannot tell you much about this, and I can. Strangely, enough, what it is obvious is that the large public is scarcely present and also treated the event as a sort of elitist manifestation. I can also say that the last edition was somehow better in terms of public attending the biennial and approaching it. But I am always sorry to realize that, if this biennial succeeds to be really different from a spectacular event such as the Venice Biennial etc., being open to the public sphere and also free in terms of commercial interests, it also remains somehow “elitist” for the large public.

What are the basic preoccupations of the new generation of Romanian artists, the one you chose for Zagreb show and their colleagues from other parts of Romania? Do their practices present certain continuity in respect to some of the previous generation? Who are their role models?

C.N: I do not think there are role models today anymore, even for the young artists. One can perceive continuity, for instance, in relation to a persistence of documentary practices and intervention. But the major change comes, in my opinion, in respect to a new accent on aestheticism and detached irony in relation to the present, and a more relaxed approach of a ”post-communist condition” they no longer seem to be interested in. Simply, I think they are interested either in subjectivity and intimacy, either in social and political features – like everybody else, isn’t it?

Does the Romanian contemporary art starts after Ceausescu or before? Many people mention the year 2000 as a turning point for Romanian art?

C.N: Well, it depends a lot on how you define the term ”contemporary”. The communist regime and its modernist legacy certainly created artificial history and hierarchy of values, which also isolated Romania a lot on the European art map and in relation to western art history. And it is well known that this also gave birth to the oppositional, “underground” art practices in the eighties. Today, these may become, of course, the starting point for defining “contemporary art” in Romania. But also, we should reevaluate well our modernist legacy. Do we have modernity as such? What type of modernism did we create? How many modernities are there? What comes next, if modernism is really over? As for the 2000, I think I could agree with this year as a turning point only from an institutional point of view.

There were some underground artists who were active even during his totalitarian regime, from Ion Grigorescu to Dan and Lia Perjovschi etc. What is their position today within the (art) society?

C.N: I think they are commonly respected figures, really respected artists – and they deserve this position. These names you quote are among the ones that managed not to get discredited after 1989 – on the contrary. I think it is also their moral integrity and authenticity which helped them achieve the importance they have for Romanian contemporary art today. These are strange values for a market oriented cultural industry. Even though they are also among those names best known internationally, which maybe only highlights their position of leading figures on the international scene. But they are also very different figures and personalities. And I think it is less their ”underground” position in communist times, but rather their authenticity which makes them important today, on the so-called ”local” scene, to which their previous art has contributed, of course, in a significant way.

What is the main specificity of Romanian context today? How do Romanians perceive their new position within the EU? Is there some sort of  nostalgia present in Romania today, in respect to the general instability of today’s neo- liberal/capitalist/transitional(?) context?

C.N: This is such a difficult question… I think there has been time enough – on the contrary, things are perceived to have changed too slowly. Changes are superficial. And superficiality is, of course, one characteristics of late capitalism, according to Jameson. I also think there is no longer nostalgia of a past. Moreover, we are facing a deeply unstable society, as you said, but I think that the key term here is transition: transition towards what? I think we should better speak about a society which is deeply ”amnesiac”, instead of calling it ”transitional”. The most important problem of Romanian society is corruption and hyper-individualism. There is no past and no future, except for the thinner and thinner group of ”intellectual” or ”cultural” people. That is all.

We were witnessing the boom of the Romanian cinematography in recent couple of years. Does the cinematography treats similar issues as contemporary visual art scene? Do they interrelate?

C.N: Hm, this certainly is a tricky question, since it supposes a comparison between the neo-realistic artistic style of the cinematography and the multiplicity of approaches and styles in the visual arts. For some Romanian artists, the comparison might work broadly speaking, since it is also the observation of society that connects them. But honestly speaking, this happened much more at the beginning of the 2000 than today, where a lot of Romanian artists relate more to the present-day condition and also to themes which are by no means specific to the communist/post-communist condition.

Could you single out several  Romanian artists that you personally find important in this moment?

C.N: It is simple and complicated. Shortly, except for Dan Perjovschi, of course, I can quote Ciprian Mureșan who is really keen and subtle in finding deep social issues in the most banal and unusual everyday-life gestures. He works a lot with signs and their power to manipulate as a means of creating reality. Cristian Pogacean, too. Mircea Cantor and Daniel Knorr are among the best-known, active today in various international contexts – but they are Paris or Berlin-based artists. Somehow, all these artists are also all connected to the same thematic interests in relation to the public sphere. Among the Bucharest-based ones, I also find some of Alexandra Croitoru’s projects to be inspiring related to a feminist critique of photography and representation in general, and its power to create identities and effects – but there are a lot I do not have time enough to mention here. Among the Iasi-based ones, Dan Acostioaei and Cezar Lazarescu are also interesting in their humor and keen irony towards absurd practices and habits of Romanian society and the local context. The latter is one of the most underrepresented Romanian artists today, I think, although he has a terrible potential to produce subversive interventions with maximum effect and minimal costs-a sort of ”conceptual efficiency”.

What art happenings/events/spaces in Romania today would you single out? What about the position of the Bucharest Biennial?

C.N: In Cluj, there was until recently Protokoll Gallery, run by Attilla Tordai-S and also Plan B gallery, with very important artists. Then, there is also a Biennial of Young Artists, which is growing bigger in terms of artists and big curatorial names, although it also received several harsh criticisms for its last edition… Bucharest has now an important newly emerged commercial gallery with a non-commercial discourse featuring important Romanian artists, run by Andreiana Mihail. And there is also the Center for Visual Introspection Alina Serban opened last year.

Bucharest Biennial is important too, since it is a major event like any other biennial, isn’t it? And I think it would always be better to discuss and criticize or praise a specific edition, a specific curatorial choice etc. than to discuss an institutional event as such.

You were mentioning some other art scenes active in recent period: Cluj, Bucharest, Sibiu, Iasi… Can we talk about certain polycentrism in the development of the art scene in Romania or this is only sporadic, an effort of few enthusiasts? How much does the state recognize contemporary art in Romania?  What is the general situation with funding contemporary art?

C.N: I think Romanian scene is polycentric, too polycentric I should say. As for the State, except for the Romanian Cultural Institute, financing several projects, there is also the MNAC. Art institutions, like galleries and NGO-based initiatives have to hire good cultural managers in order to apply for funding permanently. This takes over the ideological pressure of centralized regime and state funding and turns it towards the commercial sphere. It is nothing special as such, but something new for Romania, indeed.

What does a Romanian curator know about Croatian art scene today and vice versa?

I must confess that have no clue about what do Croatian curators know about the Romanian scene. And also, I have no idea what other Romanian curators know about the Croatian scene. Maybe, to make a joke about the so-called ”tyranny of the curator” in contemporary art, it is better for you to ask what Croatian curators know about Romanian curators and vice versa…

.

While You Were Sleeping curated by Cristian Nae (exhibition detail). SC Gallery, Zagreb 2009.

Cristian Nae (b.1979) is a current lecturer at the ‘George Enescu University of Arts, Iasi, Department of Art History and Theory, teaching Aesthetics and Art Theory. He is an editor of ‘Vector-Art and Culture in Context’ Magazine.

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