”Exploring themes of memory and loss, migration and displacement, the group exhibition adopts multiple perspectives from differing economic and geopolitical contexts. Through the artworks the exhibited artists, the show resurfaces an ocean of communicating experiences across geographies of alienation and violence, timelines of war and peace that leave traces across imaginary borders, but also invisible lines that connect and shapes lines of empathy.”
Carlos Amorales, Ovidiu Anton, Valentina Avanzini, Matei Bejenaru, Orit Ishay, Zhanna Kadyrova, Renata PoljakCurators: Cristina Stoenescu, Anastasia Palii
September 9 – October 20, 2023
Anca Poterașu Gallery, Bucharest
Taking as reference point Derrida’s concept of hospitality, the exhibition Poetics of Hospitality reflects the unavoidable ambiguities and contradictions for this term, which is close to meaning to the concept of power through the influence exerted on the Other – migrant/stranger, and which implies an ethical and political dimension. The selection of works is an interplay of various artistic media that reflect the dynamics of power relations surrounding the phenomenon of migration: inter-ethnic conflicts, the abusive effects of neoliberal policies in a global economy, the devaluation of the unaccounted for female labour force in poor countries.
Helplessness, anxiety and injustice transit the human consciousness and take the form of fluid, almost non-translatable languages of resilience in confronting the imminent war, the media violence or the social inequity. These are artistic endeavors of reclaiming a safe ideal of a home, but also the right to human dignity in a hierarchical social order. A kaleidoscopic image of an alienating society, filled with insecurity but also with excesses, and a culture of exile within and beyond its borders is thus shaping.
The connections between the artworks emphasize both the loss and the implicit and explicit violence of forced migration, be it from economic, political, or social reasons.
Individual images and stories of geopolitical or economic permutations impose new realities felt both across borders and in the home-in-the-past, individual temporal perspectives, but brought together in a chorus of experiences felt at a generational level, as highlighted by Valentina Avanzini’s research centered on the lullabies of women who left for Italy or as presented in Matei Bejenaru’s film “From far away”, in direct connection with economic migration in the Romanian context, with a focus on domestic work far from one’s own families. The dialogue in the exhibition broadens to a more global scale with the work of Ovidiu Anton, who aptly underlines the permanence of migratory phenomena, but also the constant unreadiness of social and political systems in supporting the pressures of these unavoidable changes. The artist has a long-term focus on retrieving symbols of the formal, ubiquitous system of marking borders and fears, such as border control posts, fences and pieces of wall-building across countries and histories. Through his sculptures, showing enlarged cartridges of bullets or fragments of no-trespassing signaling, the artist allows to reconsider a common visual language of transforming lines on the map in unmovable obstacles. His works allow a context through which the viewer can consider the alienating consequences of current political systems, as well as showing how the world functions as a construct that can hopefully be altered and made more human.