ACTing in Cluj
Art Cooperation Transmission Democ[k]racy
from 4 October to 24 October 2013
Third step of the European Art Cooperation Transmission Democ[k]racy collaboration project la Criée is involved in since September 2012, ACTresses and ACTors got together in October 2013 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for an exhibition, a residency and a seminar.
Get Up – Exhibition
October 4th – 24th 2013, Fabrica de Pensule, Cluj-Napoca
Bertille Bak, Julien Berthier, Vlad Nanca, Mircea Nicolae, Guillaume Robert et Nicolas Coltice, Bip–Bureau d’Investigation Photographique, Les Frères Ripoulains, Société Réaliste
« […] What would seem to be important in rethinking the implementation of democracy is cutting free of our main image of it – the political regime – as an aggregate of procedures and institutions, and returning to its definition as a set of values and a real mode of collective living. To make artistic experimentation a core part of the debate, the exhibition Get Up is presenting poetic and political works of urban origin that summon us to self-questioning. The agora was once the cradle of community practices, but is it still the locus for popular expression and representation? The urban context now seems boxed in by rationales of comfort and safety, but even so, when it comes to making demands or calling for the construction of a democratic imagination, people continue to fall back on these places of assembly, and even create new ones. Insurrection, often born in the agora, represents a dysfunction of democracy and as such remains a major resource in putting our institutions to rights. It can also be considered a paroxysmal form of democracy, even though it is constrained by no government and no constitution, and is not yet under threat of betrayal. In restoring sovereignty to the people, can this capacity for resistance and self-assertion symbolize the very essence of democracy and thus constitute a model for its attainment? Does not the richness of democracy lie in its critical capability and its incompletion? »
Ann Stouvenel, Curator
In one of the artist studios at Fabrica de Pensule that had been made available and transformed into a “white cube” on that occasion, the exhibition presented a set of existing and especially produced works: Vlad’s cage, Julien’s light bulb, Guillaume’s paper. The artwork by Les Frères Ripoulain was realized in situ in a quarter of Cluj and the photography that was made of it was used as main visual.
Urbanism and Freedom – Seminar
October 5th, AltArt Foundation at Fabrica de Pensule, Cluj-Napoca
Philemon, Eugen Pănescu, Norbert Petrovici, Julien Berthier, Stefan Tiron, Attila Tordai, Dubravka Sekulić, Anca Simionca, Ann Stouvenel, István Szakáts
“Cluj – a city of self-contradictory social processes, but open for social experimentation – like participatory budgeting – seems a productive locus for the rebirth of sociality as a political agent shaping the city.”
István Szakáts, President of the AltArt Foundation
Sociologists, architects, town-planners, artists and curators questioned daily practices of politics in the European cities: the role of the “creative class” and the contribution of artists to the design of urbanism, in particular. The debates were moderated by István Szakáts and the activist Alex Bogus. During the morning, the field of theory was explored.
Anca Simionca’s sociological reflections on the notions of creative class and social justice and her critique of Richard Florida’s theory opened a discussion with the audience that was followed by a dialogue between Ann Stouvenel, curator of the « Get Up » exhibition and the sociologist Norbert Petrovici on gentrification, the commodification of art / culture and a re-politization of citizenship. The curator Ştefan Tiron presented Dan Perjovschi’s stencil collection and a discussion was engaged between the curator Attila Tordai and the artists Julien Berthier and Philémon on “embracing / adapting / contesting art discourse in public space”.
In the afternoon, a series of architectural and urban projects and experiences, by Leon Krier, among others, was presented and a discussion was engaged between the architect and town planner Eugen Pǎnescu and the curators Debruvka Sekulić and Freek Lomme. The artist Julien Berthier offered a good example of a presentation that linked theory and practice very well. At the end of the debates, the film screening « My name is Janez Janša », followed by a Skype discussion with one of the Janez Janša artists was also successful and meaningful.
Residency – The EESAB-site de Rennes and the AKV St. Joost at the UAD
October 4th – 11th 2013, University of Art and Design (UAD) – Cluj-Napoca
Axel Benassis, Iulia Boscu, Raluca Branea, Manouk de Grebber, Paul de Lanzac, Georges Dupin, Philippine Hoegen, Sam Hortulanus, Erik Kolozsi, Anke Van den Brink, George Mihnea, Aliz Patcas, Mara Ratiu
During a dozen days, students and professors from the EESAB-site de Rennes, the AKV St. Joost and the University of Art and Design of Cluj worked together.
The EESAB-site de Rennes at the UAD
The work of the photographer and teacher Georges Dupin and the student Paul de Lanzac mainly focused on the current movement of protest against the exploitation of the Transylvanian Roşia Montana gold deposit, a project presented by a private company the capital of which is for the most part Canadian. Via the UAD, they were introduced to the leader of the protest and to inhabitants of the village, with whom they conducted interviews. They discovered and made photographs of the place and the people, threatened by destruction and expulsion. A publication and an exhibition of the results of this artistic and citizen work are planned at the UAD in the course of March 2014.
The AKV St. Joost at the UAD
The artist and teacher Philippine Hoegen set up a workshop during three days at the UAD, gathering students from the AKV St. Joost (Anke van den Brink and Sam Hortulanus), the EESAB-site de Rennes (Paul de Lanzac) and the UAD (Iulia Boscu, Raluca Branea, Erik Kolozsi and Aliz Patcas).
Philippine Hoegen presented a performative lecture about “self-identifying through reproduction and the loss that is bound up in this resurrection of the self as the Other, the ‘slipping away’ of something vital in the confrontation of the reproduction with its original. Drawing their inspiration from the work of Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuş presented at the Romanian pavilion in Venice 2013, the students re-enacted various known art works, most notably a performance by Vito Acconci. A spontaneous performance ensued, in which they traced through the space lines with their bodies and other experimentations of themselves “as exhibitions and installations”. The students exchanged on their practices, referring to the art works Philippine Hoegen had invited them to bring along, before assembling these, forming an installation with which pieces of furniture, bodies and technological reproductions of these bodies came to interact, the whole appearing as a constellation. The result of the workshop was publicly presented at the UAD.
Discovery of the local art scene
The UAD provided to the visiting students and teachers a discovery of the local art scene: Fabrica de Pensule; the projects carried out by the Institut Français of Cluj; a visit of all department of the UAD; the opening of the Cluj Ceramic biennale and a performance by Elke Rosenfeld at Tranzit during the opening of the “A vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures (Materials from a Work in Progress)” exhibition.
Sophie Kaplan, director of La Criée and Charlotte van der Werf, A.C.T. project manager, took the opportunity of their presence at Fabrica de Pensule to visit some studios (Şerban Savu, Ciprian Mureşan…) and take the measure of the local artistic scene dynamism. The opening of the Get Up exhibition took place in the framework of the openings of Fabrica’s new season; it was hence the occasion to discover the galleries and alternative places at Fabrica and their productions.