While the UK is debating its current political status of a hung Parliament, you can get an insight into the changes wrought in Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule at HotShoe Gallery where a new show Romanian Pavilion opens on Friday evening next week. The show runs until the 18 June.
Romanian Pavilion will “bring together five Romanian video artists, Dan Acostioaei, Sebastian Moldovan, Joanne Richardson, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, whose works address the former communist president Nicolae Ceausescu’s failed utopian social experiments and subsequent dehumanising conditions, with an emphasis on the reality of the built environment and private life in Romania.The show is curated by visual artist and associate curator of the gallery Marcin Dudek with Simona Nastac. The exhibition design is by Ioana Iliesiu.
“Any utopia is obsessed with the rehabilitation of man and the condemnation of our happiness; to make a tabula rasa of the past, to install the reign of the new self; the perfect polis of human beings. The totalitarian regime in Eastern and Central Europe did precisely this: for almost half a century, it built new cities for the ‘new man’- displaced in flats that look like prison blocks. Drawing its inspiration from Corbusier’ and Gropius’ rational architecture, modernist social housing was applied widely in Eastern Europe in the 1960s, but its profoundly alienating consequences have become evident after the 1990s, alongside the emergence of capitalism.”
“The works in the exhibition examine how video art reflects, extends and manipulates private and historic remembrance associated with the period of transition. The exhibition aims to illustrate not only how the medium is used to portray the post-communist Romanian reality, but also how this reality, in its varying states of political, economic and cultural development, portrays facets of the medium.” Press release.
The exhibition is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London.