Matei Bejenaru is a visual artist who lives and works in Iaşi, where he teaches photography and video art at the “George Enescu” University of Arts.
In his projects, through photography, video, performance and inter-media installations, he analyzes how the ways of economic production, technological knowledge, mentalities and lifestyles have changed in the last two decades in the post-communist countries. The Romanian workers’ immigration towards the West was analyzed in his artistic projects Travel Guide and Maersk Dubai, selected for various international exhibitions, like the ones in Tate Modern, Level 2 Gallery in London in 2007, The Taipei Biennial in 2008. His choral music experimental project, started in 2010, Songs for a Better Future, was presented at The Drawing Room and Tate Modern in London, Western Front la Vancouver, Kuenstlerhaus Buchsenhausen Innsbruck, Laakteater Haga. The most recent episode of this project, Ode of the Matter, was exhibited at The National Museum of Contemporary Museum in Bucharest and at the Art Encounters Biennial in Timişoara.
“I try to exploit the tension between a rational mode of reflection about the world I live in, which is characteristic of the type of modernity I was raised in, and poetic, contemplative forms of thinking, which have nothing to do with the dominant forms of thinking in our society today.”
Matei Bejenaru’s name is unmistakably tied with the emergence of the contemporary Romanian art-scene in the 1990s. His practice revolves around video and public performances, hybrid art projects at the confluence between visual arts, poetry, experimental music and scientific research as well as a thoughtful, humanistic approach to documentary photography.
Matei Bejenaru’s performance project ”L’Air du Temps” expressed at the time the pathos of a young artist whose options were limited to a slow socioeconomic transition in Romania. The triptych shows the artist performing in front of the camera, blinded, but also hungry for air – an ambition to overcome the obstacles of the Eastern-European context at the time.
The artist has since participated in numerous important national and international exhibitions and biennials, and yet, especially during the recent pandemic years, ”L’air du Temps” is as poignant as ever.