What is left today, in the age of globalization, of our European identity – here is a disquieting question, which cannot be answered spontaneously.
Adelina Ivan, Adriana Jebeleanu, Alex Mirutziu, Olivia Mihălțianu, Pusha Petrov
Curator: Ileana Pintilie
October 17 – November 22, 2020
Anca Poterașu Gallery, Bucharest
The artists invited to take part in the present group show put forward a discussion about identity as a major theme in art, adding to it various possible nuances with the aim to introduce the viewer in the subtle and irrational complexity of the show. Each artist calls into question a different identity or even more at a time, conjugating them together
In this installation, particularly designed for the group show, Olivia Mihălțianu retraces a photo lab, which proves to be a turntable of several intertwined ideas: on one side we see a self-portrait of the artist and then, as we get closer, we discover the projection of another film shot in a similar laboratory, this time her workspace. In turn, this artist studio reveals to the now unintentional voyeuristic audience, the production process. The public is also offered a small photo studio where everyone can capture a selfie. The artwork reiterates recurring ideas in recent years: the general need for self-reflection and positioning the self in the centre of interest, sometimes in competition with the need to look indiscreetly and contemplate something that is supposed to remain in the private sphere.
In some cases, she resumed actions elaborated and performed in front of the camera, as in a remake, delivering her audience new nuances. The ”Blind, Deaf, Mute” („Orb, surd, mut”), a performative act which took place at Anca Poterașu gallery in 2011 showed the artist in front of a silent piano, yet playing music produced live, performing pianistic gestures. The photographic action happened in like manner – the artist dressed in a long white dress, with a hood of a different colour on her head, sitting with her back to the piano and pretending to touch the invisible piano keys. The three similar, yet different photos depict her with three hoods at a time (white, red and black), each corresponding to a main stage of human evolution: the high-purity embryonic period of time, a life full of passion and love, as well as death. In search ofa true identity (one that is actually illusory), Adriana Jebeleanu put her physical and especially her psychological limitations to the test throughout the actions, by confronting death and the transient nature of the human body.
Alex Mirutziu is reluctantly seeking for an identity that would define him, which proves to be a fragile, insecure construction first of all due to the precariousness of the human condition. Everyday life, with its natural gestures, can be transformed into a space of resistance, while resistance can in turn become a policy of identity. Rising and falling on/off a podium, ambition and failure – like the lesson offered by the fashion show in Feeding the horses of all heroes – raises the issue of body failure, which stands next to the ”failure” exercises of Bruce Nauman (Failing to Levitate in the Studio). Thus, dysfunction once again demonstrates the vulnerability of the human body.
For Pusha Petrov, searching one’s personal identity focuses on the cultural aspects, often under the influence of ethnic aspects. Growing up with a small conservative family of Bulgarians in Banat, the artist started her research inside the closed universe only to later discover an identity that is culturally registered as a genetic code of sorts. Old pieces of costume, interiors of homes that trace family rituals, introduced in a behavioural canon, they have all served her at the beginning and still inform her work, as sources of inspiration. Later on, her research extended over to other contemporary forms of identity, including behaviours (the series where she presents the underlining of pursers Marsupium à main – or of the bike seats).