Mona Vătămanu and Florin Tudor
Opening: Friday, June 1st, 7-9pm
Time and time again, Mona Vătămanu and Florin Tudor engage with the City and its architecture, often in the former Eastern Bloc, through their installations, performance or videos; they are especially concerned with the condensing traces of the past.
In the gaps and cracks of the urban fabric, Vătămanu and Tudor detect the wounds of history. Prefabricated buildings are utilized so as to illuminate questions of contemporary life within an architecture that speaks of the ideology of the dead system, in which they have been erected. However, by confronting the legacy of the very real socialism existent in repressive and unjust systems, their work is not merely about coming to terms with a displaced history, but also about the ever-changing conditions of the present. In particular they deal with the current political and economic situation after the change of system and with life under the aegis of total capitalism.
Based on themes taken from architecture and urbanism, Vătămanu und Tudor combine abstract history and memory in poetic acts and performative gestures. Social and political issues are not directly represented in images or forms – no final interpretation is given - but the fictional and constructed character of their representation is emphasized.
Performative gestures and fragments of stories are embedded in partially contradictory narratives. This creates a visible political context, which allows for political analysis to begin.
The exhibition “The order of things“ merges several new works developed in Berlin during the past year. Among them the films “Olympia“(2010-12) and “The order of things“(2011-12) (both 16mm and other formats on DVD) will be presented in a film-installation alongside the earlier film “Rite of Spring” (2011, 8mm/DVD). “Rite of Spring” was shown at the Venice Biennial in 2011 and at this year’s Oberhausen Short Film Festival to critical acclaim. It depicts a typical children’s game, played during Springtime in the streets of Bucharest, which seems to hold a dangerous and revolutionary potential. “Rite of Spring” was filmed in the still unrenovated areas of Bucharest’s center, close to Ceaușescu’s Palace of the People, site of the Romanian Parliament today. In the two news films produced in Berlin, “Olympia” and “The order of things”, the world is seen as a complex entanglement of competing realities: In “Olympia” abstract images of bodies moving in urban space – sometimes against the backdrop of Berlin’s Olympic stadium - are combined with shots of several processions of people following diverse missions. In “The order of things” Vătămanu und Tudor bring together impressions of lived reality with symbolic forms and meta-structures. Starting point are different shots taken in Berlin, showing the attempt to make a pyramid out of a globe, and a poem by the Zimbabwean poet Chirikure Chirikure. The last piece is a sound installation which evokes a film-like experience of a daily incident in the streets of Berlin (“Film“, 2012).
Photo: Krzysztof Zielinski