THE DIPLOMATIC TENT
20 october – 27 november 2011



Artists:
Anetta Mona Chișa & Lucia Tkáčová and
Ion Grigorescu


















The exhibition is built around a structure made up of a nucleus of images realized by Ion Grigorescu, corresponding to a constellation of recurrent themes in his practice that can be analysed at different levels of interpretation. One of his central concerns is the exploration of the relationship between individuals and political authority; Ion Grigorescu either comments upon the status of the artist within social hierarchies – apparently enjoying unrestrained freedom but in reality being unable to alter or influence in any way the political authority – or conjures up historical references that echo his personal biography, interrogating the limits of psychoanalysis or reflecting upon the fate of ideologies in the contemporary world.

The last point establishes a particular direction which intersects the problems investigated by Anetta Mona Chișa and Lucia Tkáčová whose artistic endeavor adopts a critical turn against power structures and against the main discursive practices that shape the social apparatus. Chișa and Tkáčová have thoroughly analyzed the iconography of the human pyramid, as manifest in different contexts, bearing various significances – from the celebratory spectacles orchestrated by the socialist propaganda that mimed the triumph of illusory utopias, to critical representations of capitalist social hierarchy or to the idea of solidarity inspired by the human collective effort. References to the recent past are invoked for their contemporary relevance. The pyramidal structure continues to be emblematic for the social configuration nowadays: it perpetuates discrimination and it proves to be completely unjust for those placed at the basis of the social pyramid. Before or after the political changes in 1989 the social organization reproduces the same pattern of exploitation. Here are some of Grigorescu’s remarks recorded from 1978 extracted from his diary (remarks that reappear in his fictional dialogue with “comrade” Ceausescu): “The people who are exploited in the context of the new power relations – the proletariat – were destined to defeat exploitation order to become the rulers of the future, but the reality is different now. Now, the proletariat is too tightly connected to the bourgeoisie to be able to come up with anything else besides exploitation”.

The Diplomatic Tent is an installation especially conceived for this exhibition and it consists of a perimeter formed by a series of adjoining images belonging to the three artists. Some are appropriated images, some are connected to previous works, while others are autonomous pieces made for this occasion, all forming together, in this context, a common work. The central reference which generated the idea of making this “tent” represents the Orient – conceived not only as a cultural and geographical space, but also as a mental, symbolic one, which represents for Ion Grigorescu a central element in the configuration and reconfiguration of the personal identity through its relation with history, but also with the social and political context of the present. The self-reflection – which occurs in a territory of self-induced seclusion – is always projected on the background of a wider frame and it produces, paradoxically, an opening to the world and triggers the “freedom of association” (which is extended here to produce associations with the images proposed by the duo Chișa & Tkáčová). In one image Grigorescu doubles himself, as guardian and prisoner. At the crossroad of historical shifts, as was the moment 1989, the one that opens the door and frees himself from the prison, locks the “other” inside, making him in turn a prisoner, thus illustrating a well known lesson about the idea of justice that fuels the pathos of any revolutionary movement. The themes of faith, sacrifice and betrayal are explored by invoking historical figures that shared a tragic



destiny: either the strangling of the Seneschal Cantacuzino or the assassination of the Brâncoveanu family – the latter depicted through the printing on fabric of a frieze-like painting made by Ion Grigorescu in the 1970s, a print “enclosed” in the same oriental decorative pattern which can be found at the edge of other images from this installation. The image which gives the title of the installation – The Diplomatic Tent – shows a group of politicians meeting inside a tent, one of them being the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki. The artist inserts himself in the middle of this group by choosing to re-contextualize a still from his film Ame (1979), a still which shows him performing his own circumcision. Beyond signifying the idea of a “ritual solidarity”, this composite image stands as a representation of the “relation between the artists and the politicians” – underlying the fact that the artist is tolerated even when he carries out radical actions, but – ultimately – he is divested of any kind of power. The message gains an unprecedented resonance in the globalized context of the art world, when a number of artists from Asia (and other parts of the world) are being instrumentalized in order to illustrate the adoption of more relaxed cultural policies, but who, in reality, are confronted with numerous interdictions and with censorship.

The confrontation with attitudes, regulations and modes of action which impose normative directions – both at the level of the society and the subsystem of the art world – represents the area of interest of Chișa & Tkáčová. Their practice involves a critical attitude towards gender based discriminations, questioning the dynamics of power relations and the way in which feminine roles are being shaped in different moments in history, reverting existent expectations and preset scenarios. Chișa & Tkáčová are also concerned with the socialist heritage, the disintegration of the state’s authority in post-communist countries and the transformations produced by the neo-liberal dominance following the political changes in these territories – a dominance that was also responsible for precipitating the current economic crisis. The video I Didn’t Say Look I Said Listen (2011) captures an action of protest from Occupy Wall Street. The background sound is composed by the message spelled out in the title and voiced by the artists in Esperanto. This simple intervention reveals the failure of the protest movements and of any attempts made in the present to revivify the utopia of the collective action for the common good. The artists also analyze the way in which a message is being displaced/altered through its transfer from one communication (language) system into another, examining what is getting lost and what is being conserved – if at all – in this process. In a similar way, the Morse code is transposed into the sexual “interaction” between a man and a woman in the film A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z (2011).

The work After the Order – a project especially conceived for this exhibition – represents the last episode from a cycle of works/interventions/performances bearing the same name, which are variations on the theme of the human pyramid. The image of the capitalist system, inspired from an illustration found in a communist magazine from 1911, is replicated here as a gigantic cake decorated with figurines, which was consumed by the public during the opening.

Sponsor: Grup Transilvae


Thanks to: Angi Apostol, Sandra Demetrescu, Viorica Dinu, Monica Drăguț, Ioana Mandeal, Otilia Mihalcea, Veronica Negrilă, Alin Popescu, Vlad Telibașa, Bogdan Vasilescu




http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_1_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – After the Order, 2011 – cake.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_2_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – After the Order, 2011 – cake.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_3_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – After the Order, 2011 – cake.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_4_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – After the Order, 2011 – cake.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_5_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – After the Order, 2011 – cake.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_1_ Cortul diplomatic - Vernisaj_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_3_ Cortul diplomatic - Vernisaj_v2.jpg
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http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_11_ Cortul diplomatic - Vernisaj_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_12_ Cortul diplomatic - Vernisaj_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_6_ Ion Grigorescu  - The Diplomatic Tent, 2011 – installation.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_7_ Ion Grigorescu  - The Diplomatic Tent, 2011 – installation.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_8_ Ion Grigorescu  - The Diplomatic Tent, 2011 – installation.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_9_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – Magic Carpets, 2011.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_10_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, 2011 - video, 3m30s_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_11_ Ion Grigorescu  - Fill it up, 2011 - video, 2m13s.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_12_ The Diplomatic Tent.jpg
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http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_16_ Ion Grigorescu  - The Diplomatic Tent, 2011 – installation.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_18_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – Never Odd or Even, 2011 – video 13m40s_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_17_ Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová – Never Odd or Even, 2011 – video 13m40s_v2.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_19_ Ion Grigorescu  – The Sleep, 2006 - video 6m03s.jpg
http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/files/gimgs/th-42_20_ The Diplomatic Tent.jpg
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