Plan B

The Sons and Daughters of Brancusi. A Family Saga (Act I)

09 Oct - 05 Nov 2015

A project by Alexandra Croitoru in collaboration with Cristian Alexa, Brynjar Bandlien & Manuel Pelmus, Teodor Graur, Monotremu, Vlad Nanca, Stefan & Napoleon Tiron, SubREAL, SUPER US
9 October – 5 November 2015

Plan B is pleased to announce the opening of the group show The Sons and Daughters of Brâncuși. A Family Saga (Act I), on Friday, 9 October, at Galeria Plan B Cluj.

The transformation of Constantin Brâncuși into a true Romanian cult figure can be traced through the various historical periods in which the emergence of the Brâncușian mythology either happened in concert with the nationalist ideology or it legitimated in one way or another an exportable image of Romania in the shape of a “universal” brand. Alexandra Croitoru's project on the myth of Brâncuși developed during the last years into a research covering both a documentation of artistic projects which question his canonization, as well as the unraveling of a larger theoretical framework pertaining to the mechanisms through which the myth of the artist is inserted into the elitist discourse on Romanian culture and into the populist context of ethno-nationalism. In either case, Brâncuși becomes an overly promoted representative of a monolithic narrative on Romanian art, marked by the “anxiety of influence” and by the desire to legitimate its originality according to a universal artistic canon.

The projects and the works proposed in the exhibition The Sons and Daughters of Brâncuși. A Family Saga (Act I) lay out some possible readings of Brâncuși's legacy from the perspective of contemporary art. Alexandra Croitoru's research started from the application devised together with Ștefan Tiron for the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 – Brâncuși's Legacy. This (never realized) project relied on the perfect conjunction between a national representation space and the artist as a national hero. The exhibition features the scale model of the project made for this occasion, opening the two directions of inquiry pursued here: on the one hand, a documentation of artistic performative gestures which refer directly to the critical reception of Brâncuși and, on the other hand, works and objects which re-contextualizes the symbolic elements of Brâncuși's oeuvre. In the 1990s, Cristian Alexa made an in situ performative intervention at Tg. Jiu "camouflaging" the Table of Silence, while the SubREAL group performed an action of "washing” [as a reference to money laundring] / ”wringing out" fresh banknotes issued after 1989 and bearing Brâncuși's portrait. More recently, Brynjar Bandlien & Manuel Pelmuş challenged the official image of heterosexual love associated to the interpretations of the Gate of the Kiss, and Alexandra Croitoru staged videotaped performative situations, investigating the dual perception of Brâncuși - "Romanian artist" versus "universal artist". For one of these actions, Alexandra Croitoru has collaborated with the sculptor Napoleon Tiron, who made a cane bearing the motif of Brâncuși's Infinite Column. The cane refers to the appropriations of Brâncuși in popular culture, which Vlad Nancă has collected and recontextualized over time, presenting here a series of objects and two images based on found photographs. These motifs rendered banal by endless reproduction are featured in Teodor Graur's sculptures, deconstructing the modernist pretentious monumentality. The SUPER US Group (Gabriela Vanga, Ciprian Mureșan, Nicolae Baciu) took this deconstruction to the extreme, responding to rampant consumer culture evident in the early 2000s in Romania. The Monotremu duo playfully reinterprets Brâncuși's most iconic sculptures, turning them into limited edition toys, while Ciprian Mureșan's intervention in the exhibition space reinterprets one of Brâncuși's aphorisms, from the perspective of the artist who refuses to undertake the heroic image attributed by the modernist canon.

The exhibition The Sons and Daughters of Brâncuși. A Family Saga (Act I) is organized in conjunction with two other projects by Alexandra Croitoru scheduled for this autumn: the exhibition organized by Salonul de Proiecte within Timișoara Art Encounters and an artist-book entitled ”Brâncuși. An Afterlife” – to be published in partnership with Editura IDEA, Cluj and Archive Books, Berlin.

Special thanks to: Sebastian Apostol, Flaviu Cacoveanu, Vlad Comșa, Carmen Dobre, Andreea Mincic, Cătălin Năstăsoiu, Paul Stoie

The event is part of the project – Contemporary Art and Culture for Communities, coordinated by The Paintbrush Factory, and supported by a grant from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the Romanian Government.

Tags: Constantin Brancusi, Alexandra Croitoru, Ciprian Muresan, Gabriela Vanga