OUR HISTORY ABOUT THE OTHERS.
BUCHAREST - A CITY SEEN THROUGH FOUR LENSES
Curator: Simona Vilău
Artists: Nicolae COMĂNESCU, Mihail COȘULEȚU, Aurora KIRÁLY, Alexandru RĂDVAN
In Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino saw in minute detail towns and cities from the Orient, be they real, invented or vanished, wittily drawn, in his own imagination, by Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. On the other hand, Bucharest, the great swarm situated at the imaginary border between East and West, sees us in every detail, in our approximately 40 sq. meters homes, where lives are drawn in vicinities and angles, or even superimposed in tower-buildings, old and new, fully covered by layers of history, destroyed and rebuilt by two wars, three earthquakes and many maleficent minds of tyrants and architects, all these having happened in the last hundred years. Today, Bucharest is a multicultural city, in which live, alongside the locals, people coming from all around the country, for school or work, and also numerous foreigners’ communities. It has the appearance of an eternal work-in-progress, given by the narrow streets and the eclectic buildings, in the center, surrounded by former Communist districts with tower blocks,which are now intertwined with brand new residential districts, of the same height as the Communist ones.
Diversity, agglomeration and daily turmoil are three of the most visible traits of this city. You have the permanent feeling that something is happening at every step - a new shopping mall opened, a building was put down, people hurrying in cars, buses, trams, subway trains and on bikes, always in a rush, tired faces, bitter old people cursing today and tomorrow. The city has a life of its own, in which ordinary days, holidays and mass events (school starting, school ending, holidays, school admissions, rallies, festivals, the Marathon, The Night of the Museums) draw the pulsatile lines of its portrait, round and mature in its wholeness. One day does not resemble the other, you could rarely meet the same people on the same road, at the same hour. Everyday life is like a fast-forward reeling motion picture, and time condenses as in a compass. To portray this city is like portraying the churning of the sea. It is never still. The four invited artists connect, through their discourses, with life in this city or with the city itself. The show develops on four different thematic levels: the abandoned place, the reconstruction of the myth with contemporary means - new and recycled at the same time, the mechanisms of religion and the mind of the believer transformed into tankers and battleships, current memory, empathy and networking happening in a safe place. These are actual themes, intensely discussed by the civil society and the press, and artists cannot remain immune, even though their contribution is abstract and marginal and it is very hard for them to become directly involved in politics or to have a real social responsibility. However, real or symbolic activism is possible through art, without becoming political or used as propaganda material, like in the totalitarian regimes.