Poetics of Hospitality, Vol. II

”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 Poljak

Curators: 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. 

In Matei Bejenaru’s installation Enlarged Clothes is presented Romania as the main European exporter of textiles to the EU market (in 2003: 3.832 billion euros) and the fourth largest exporter in the world, after China, Turkey and India.. Most of the textile and clothes production in Romania is based on ”Lohn system”, which takes advantage of the very low labour force costs and the comunist industrial infrastructure. In 2005, a Romanian worker from ”Lohn” company was paid 90-150 Euro/month, which is approx. one eighth the wage of a similasr worker in the EU.  

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. 

Ovidiu Anton, exhibition view
Ovidiu Anton, exhibition view

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.

These are images of rootlessness and displacement, calling into question matters of identity and territories..
These are images of rootlessness and displacement, calling into question matters of identity and territories..
Poetics of Hospitality, exhibition view

The project Poetics of Hospitality. Vol II is co-funded by the National Cultural Fund Administration. Our thanks to the Artis foundation for supporting the work of artist Orit Ishay in the ”Poetics of Hospitality” series of shows this year. The project does not necessarily represent the position of AFCN. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how the results of the project may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the grantee.

You can download the curatorial text below.