Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Some very brief background on the new exhibition at HotShoe:

Video art came to prominence in the 1960s, first developed by artists such as Nam June Paik and Steina and Woody Vasulka in New York, and Stephen Dwoskin and Malcolm Le Grice in the UK (to name a few of the key players, as it were). Two parallel scenes emerged in these cities which have since paved the way for a vibrant and exciting form of art practice.

"Romanian Pavilion brings together five Romanian video artists whose works address the former communist president Nicolae Ceausescu’s failed utopian social experiments and subsequent dehumanising conditions, with an emphasis on the reality of the built environment and private life in Romania.

Any utopia is obsessed with the rehabilitation of man and the condemnation of our happiness; to make a tabula rasa of the past, to install the reign of the new self; the perfect polis of human beings. The totalitarian regime in Eastern and Central Europe did precisely this: for almost half a century, it built new cities for the ‘new man’- displaced in flats that look like prison blocks. Drawing its inspiration from Corbusier’ and Gropius’ rational architecture, modernist social housing was applied widely in Eastern Europe in the 1960s, but its profoundly alienating consequences have become evident after the 1990s, alongside the emergence of capitalism.

In Romania, the tensions between past and present are everywhere: ‘anything goes’ architecture mushrooms next to Stalinist substantial buildings, lavish casinos and ridiculous kiosks are built one over another, fast food restaurants and supermarkets replace old shops throughout urban areas. Ideas of territory and identity are continuously shifting, altering perceptions of space, human relationships and social and individual life.

The works in the exhibition examine how video art reflects, extends and manipulates private and historic remembrance associated with the period of transition. The exhibition aims to illustrate not only how the medium is used to portray the post-communist Romanian reality, but also how this reality, in its varying states of political, economic and cultural development, portrays facets of the medium."

- Simona Nastac

Curated by Marcin Dudek and Simona Nastac. Exhibition design by Ioana Iliesiu and Marcin Dudek.

Artist’s talk, Friday 4 June, 7pm: Dan Acostioaei in conversation with Vlad Morariu and curators Marcin Dudek and Simona Nastac.