Romanian Pavilion Performing History at the 54th International Art Exhibition — la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Bogdan Ghiu

Interview with Bogdan Ghiu,  editor of the catalogue of the project Performing History (co-editor Maria Rus Bojan) conceived as a special issue of nr 38 of the magazine IDEA, Arts + Society, the most famous and original contemporary art publication dedicated to critical thinking and reinvention of South Eastern Europe.

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PERFORMING HISTORY foregrounds the idea of multiple modes of relating to History, and of living History as a hypostasis of several different specific modernities. The ambiguous nature of the modernist traditions and the Eastern European neo avant-gardes, the aesthetics of the precariousness, the persistence of a specific minimal realism, the religious and the spiritual converted into conceptual art practices, the representation of the body, and the articulation of a new semiotics based on the reactivation of symbols inherited from the communist times are the topics to be explored.

Under the heading “Performing History, an Open Project (Dialogues & Essays)”, critics, curators and art historians from Eastern Europe countries or just concerned with extra-Western history of recent art in this area are invited to discuss the meanings of works by the involved artists. The joint assembly increases their significance. Irina Cios, art critic and curator, director of the ICCA (International Center for Contemporary Arts) in Bucharest, converses with Ion Grigorescu about “Critical Resistance from Within”; Raluca Voinea, art critic and curator based in Bucharest, talks with Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová (in “From Flirtation Fixation through to Fatal Attraction – Balancing the Scales of Power Out); then Chantal Pontbriand, founder of the contemporary art magazine Parachute, analyzes (in “Suspended perfoming History in Space”) the work of Ion Grigorescu and Dessislava Dimova (Bulgarian writer and curator living in Brussels) discusses the main lines of force of Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová’s most recent projects (“Performing History: Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better”).

The central section of the catalogue ends with the re-publishing (under the heading “A General and Universal Concept of Resistance”) of a substantial text dedicated to the work of Ion Grigorescu, excerpted from the famous In the Shadow of Yalta: Art and Avant-garde in the Eastern Europe, 1945-1989 (London, Reaktion Books, 2009) written by the Polish art historian and teacher, Piotr Piotrowski.

The last section of the catalogue, entitled “The Next East for the New World: Re-Thinking European Peripheral Modernities in Decolonial Perspectives” is, in a different editorial perspective, a contribution of the magazine IDEA, Arts + Society, which proposes to include the concept Performing History in the concerns of the magazine to form an appropriate critical thinking about the post-communist neo-liberal transition of Eastern Europe. After a brief introduction by the catalogue publisher, Bogdan Ghiu (“East-South: The Beginning of the New Performing of History”), an talk made by Alessandro Cassin, with sociologist, media and political analyst and professor, Vasile Dâncu speak of “Reinventing the East through Art and Art as”; known as the last two radical thinkers in Eastern Europe, Slovenian theorist Marina Gržinić (“Decoloniality As/In/At The Frontier”) and the Romanian philosopher Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu (“Decolonizing Eastern Europe: Beyond Internal Critique”), both discuss the need and possibilities of developing a specific decolonialisation theory in order to reinvent ethical and artistic history of Eastern Europe.

Also is inserted in the catalogue pages a sociological survey entitled “Feedback and Evaluation Questionnaire Concerning the Reception of the Artist Act Presented in the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale”, a first time initiative proposed by the IRES (Romanian Institute for Assessment and Strategy) led by the sociologist and professor Vasile Dâncu.

PERFORMING HISTORY with Ion Grigorescu and the artist duo Anetta Mona Chiøa and Lucia Tkácˇová is the project that represents the Romanian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia 2011, Giardini di Castello.