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29 May 2013

Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An Attempt - Romanian National Participation at the La Biennale di Venezia

Reflection Center for Suspended Histories.
An Attempt



June, 1st – November, 24th 2013 Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 Closed on Mondays
Official opening: May 29th, 7 pm
Opening reception: May 29th, 8 pm

Erika Olea
0039 324 781 88 48


New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research
Palazzo Correr (Campo Santa Fosca) Cannaregio 2214
30121 Venice

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Romanian National Participation at the 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia

Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An Attempt

artists: Apparatus 22, Irina Botea and Nicu Ilfoveanu, Karolina Bregula, Adi Matei, Olivia Mihaltianu, Sebastian Moldovan

curator: Anca Mihulet

commissioner: Monica Morariu
deputy commissioner: Alexandru Damian

New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research
Palazzo Correr (Campo Santa Fosca) Cannaregio 2214, 30121 Venice

June, 1st – November, 24th 2013
Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00
Closed on Mondays

Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An attempt
is a rather silent exhibition, conceived as a center for analyzing minor, unattractive histories, suspended behind major events. The exhibition started with an investigation on the status of modern art history in Romania, bracketing the communist period that has acted as a physical and imaginative cork, blocking certain mental and visual processes. Taking into account that history is not innocent, and that it involves a certain degree of physical, visual or conceptual violence, the intention was to uncover the invisible core of the exhibition, rather than its visible dimension. Moreover, talking about history can have a therapeutic value.

From June 1st until November 24th, the exhibition will become a temporary institution, a model for a center of reflection and thinking about the relevance of art history and visuality. The reflection center for suspended histories will be situated at the ground floor of an old Venetian palace, the Palazzo Correr, a building that since 1930 has been hosting the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research.
The works of art have been selected by using a method similar to the one Johann Joachim Winckelmann applied when evaluating the Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian antiquity, mindful of the fact that historical forces have influenced art history, taste and aesthetic value.

Even though determining actions of the artists are specific and have a strong regional tint, their message and visual result are universal. The thought captive within the simulacrum of Queen Mary's golden chamber in Olivia Mihaltianu's installation Smoking Room, the evaluation of the illusory world of fake emotions and experiences depicted by Apparatus 22 in Portraying Simulacra, the fear induced by Karolina Bregula's film Fire- Followers that comments upon the necessity of burning old art in order to make space for new art, the suspension of a possible movement in time and space discussed in Adi Matei's animation Bird in a Room, the interviews examining the way in which imagination operates within memorial houses filmed by Irina Botea and Nicu Ilfoveanu, or Sebastian Moldovan's sanitary installation becoming a pseudo-architectural element , and mark of habitation, are all elements of agency, and an the assuming of a space that is commonly shared by the artworks and their viewers. Therefore, the visitor is offered a generous personal space along the exhibition parcours, which has also developed the features of a perfect hideaway.

The visitor entering the center can access an on-line questionnaire evaluating the degree of fake in her/ his life. Subsequently, she/ he can experience solitude in the meditative space of the golden chamber. The institutional atmosphere is enhanced by a sanitary installation creeping on the wall and ceiling like a climbing bean plant. The custodians of three memorial houses address the visitor describing their working environment. The drawing room that has been opened as an addition to the initial space surprises the viewer by a hidden image that can be only peeped at and is only made available to the curios beholder who is ready to explore another department of the reflection center for suspended histories. The film projected on the back wall of the dark room completes the experience, which combines fear and uncertainty with a dilemmatic art history.
For the passer-by on Cannaregio, the reflection center for suspended histories is on view 24/7, as the large street windows provide a continuous perspective onto the center's dynamics.

The exhibition Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An attempt, one of the two projects officially representing Romania at the 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia , is accompanied by two publications. A newspaper containing a guide for reading the exhibition conceived by the curator, together with a series of six interviews with the participating artists, conducted by Luigi Fassi, Anca Rujoiu, Bettina Sporr, Agnieszka Sural, Borbala Szalai and Jurgen Tabor, will be available at the reflection center throughout the entire period of the exhibition.

In August, the second publication will be launched in the format of a reader comprising an interview with Zdenka Badovinac on the concept of interrupted histories, as well as texts by Liviana Dan on exhibiting contemporary art in the 90's in a classical Romanian museum, and a contribution by Patrick D. Flores on the need for postcolonial art history, Ioana Vlasiu on showcasing Romanian art in the 20's, and Monika Wucher on Romanian avant-garde and art research in Romania at the beginning of third millennium.

Project coordination Anca Mihulet and add


Apparatus 22 is a multidisciplinary art collective initiated by its current members Erika Olea, Maria Farcas, Dragos Olea and the late artist Ioana Nemes (1979, Bucharest – 2011, NY) in January 2011. After participating in exhibitions and festivals at MUMOK, Vienna (AT), Museion, Bolzano (IT), MAK, Vienna (AT), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (AT), Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (DE), Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest (RO), TIME MACHINE BIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART in Konjic (BIH), they are currently preparing works for the Mackintosh Museum in Glasgow (UK) and the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna (AT).

Irina Botea's work combines reenactment strategies with auditions and elements of direct cinema and cinéma verite. Solo and group exhibitions were shown at: New Museum, New York (US); MUSAC - Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilia and Leon (ES); Pompidou Centre, Paris (FR); National Gallery Jeu de Paume, Paris (FR); Kunsthalle Winterthur (CH); Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid (ES); Gwangju Biennale 2010 (KR); Argos Center for Art and Media, Brussels (BE); MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art), Bucharest (RO).

Nicu Ilfoveanu
's distinguishing mark as an artist is a low-tech approach to mediums such as photography, film and self-publishing. His work is characterized by the interplay between the personal and documentary approaches, between the sublime and the trivial, between evidence and hidden subjects. He has recently exhibited at FotoFestival, Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg (DE) and PHotoEspaña, Cuenca (ES).

Karolina Bregula creates installations, happenings, video and photography. She has performed and exhibited in galleries such as the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland, the Centre for Contemporary Art in Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (PL); the Centre for Contemporary Art Laźnia in Gdannsk (PL); the Kalmar Museum of Art in Kalmar (SE); and the Real Art Ways in Hartford (US). She has been awarded the Samsung Art Master prize, the Polish Ministry of Culture Scholarship, the Visegrad Scholarship and the Młoda Polska Scholarship.

Adi Matei was the recipient of the Henkel Prize Romania in 2010. In 2012 he received the Constantin Brancusi Scholarship at the Cite des Arts Paris (FR), participated in the IN OUT Festival in Gdansk (PL), and the third Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (RU). Additionally, he staged his first solo show, MOON SHUFFLE, at The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum Sibiu (RO) and took part in the Krinzinger Projecte Residency in Petomihalyfa (HU) and Kulturkontakt's AIR Program in Vienna (AT).

Olivia Mihaltianu works on long-term projects which evolve and adapt to different social, cultural, political and economic situations in global and local contexts, in which the photographic, film and video image play a key role. Recent personal and group shows: Winyan Kipanpi Win/ The Woman Who Was Waited For, Kunsthalle Krems, Factory, (AT) in 2013; From the Backstage, Salonul de Proiecte, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (RO) in 2012; Where Do We Go From Here?, Secession, Vienna (AT) in 2010.

Sebastian Moldovan's solo exhibitions, Almost Censored at the Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu (RO) in 2005, Artist Survival Kit at the Jan Dhaese Gallery, Gent (BE) in 2010 or  Dreamcather at the Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu (RO) in 2011, discussed the role of art institutions and failure in the art world. He has produced a series of site-specific installations for: Global Without Globalization, Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest (RO) in 2012 or Household Goods at the Mediterranean Biennale of Contemporary Art in Haifa (IL) in 2010.

Anca Mihulet is a freelance curator based in Sibiu and Bucharest (RO). Between 2006 and 2013, she has curated the exhibition program of the The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu, together with Liviana Dan. She became a founding member of the Curators' Network, a mobile curatorial network, in 2010. At the moment, she is preparing an exhibition of Romanian and Korean art, scheduled to take place in 2015 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (KR).

This seminal exhibition was made possible by the integrated, international oil and gas company OMV, which focuses its cultural sponsoring activities on cultural exchange in the area of contemporary art between the company's core markets in Austria, Romania, and Turkey. This contribution by OMV produces cultural dialogue over and above its economic engagement in these regions. OMV is the majority shareholder of Petrom, the largest oil and gas producer in South Eastern Europe with headquarters in Bucharest.