MOLDGOLIA - project in progress
curated by Stefan Rusu (MD)



Pavel Braila, Lilia Dragneva, Veaceslav Druta, Stefan Rusu, Igor Scerbina, and Serghei Turcan.

The design of the grand project, which is today the Republic of Moldova, started as far back as 1924, when the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova (ASSRM) appeared around the capital city of Balta as a political construction, located on the territory of Ukraine beyond the river Nistru (actual region of Transdnestria). The aim of creating the autonomy was the counterbalancing by USSR the reintegration of Besarabia region (territory between Nistru and Prut rivers) into Romanian Kingdom.

Repeated and controversial political reforms in the evolution of the ASSRM created in its population confusion and tension, thus a precedent was created by which the mixed population of the autonomous territory was used as a guinea-pig in elaborated geo-political experiment. The mutations and treatment thus applied would later extend over the Romanian territories, and the respective events precipitated just before the WW2, when Basarabia was to be occupied by the USSR as a consequence of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The newly created enclave had to host and boost the Moldovan project. The project expanded from autonomy to a republic; the identity of the population had to be brought into correspondence with the theory and practice of the totalitarian ideology. A whole plethora of speculations and inventions, permanently fuelled by the geneticists of the communist ideology, contributed to a watering down of the Romanian identity and the creation of an artificial entity (“ethnicity”) called today the “Moldovans”.

The Moldovan artists have had a difficult task in their development—to maintain a fragile attitude, permanently defined by internal and external factors, living in a territory marked by continuous irredentist syndrome. The dissolution of the USSR and newly expansion of the EU border creates a new change and imposes a continuous reconsideration of the position of the individual and social groups; in such conditions, we believe, the visual artists from Moldova will maintain firmly their attitudes toward political construction in time. Being tripped more recently by the spirit of forced culturalization and the series of ethnic and geo-political contexts dictated by the new factors of stability, they formed a temporary enclave of resistance manifesting their attitudes inside and outside state borders. By deliberately using the word “attitude” or “stance” rather than “identity”, in reference to the contemporary art practices, we are trying to specify that identity no longer seems to be an effective antidote in confrontations with one regime or the other. When the identity is not a naturally absorbed notion, an individual’s attitude or stance may be somewhat more flexible notions in newly-created situations. Therefore, an attitude can articulate a much more valuable and effective foundation for resistance against a system than identity. The resources needed to enter an introspective existential form, represent in a final account a source of individual initiation meant to leave the vicious circle of history.


Artist(s): Pavel Braila
Title: Eurolines Catering
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2006

Pavel Braila is one of the most active Moldavian artists on international art scene, living in Germany and Moldova he is present withy his projects all over the continent. In his first video works Braila articulates models of human behavior in a state of crisis that become emblematic for his early career. “Eurolines Catering” is speculating the latest mutations of the post soviet societies that are in constant endless transition. Moldovans are in transition too, where a one third of the population are “gastarbiters” all over Europe. Living and working in Germany for years artist use the motive of missing traditional cuisine that become a sort of exotic garniture for Braila’s presentations in various German cities. The presentation itself is not shown in the video but freshly prepared national dishes are coming for real each time after the screening of “Eurolines Catering”. Gutten appetite!

Artist(s): Lilia Dragneva
Title: “Another place or GU(U)AM-a Land”
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2005

In her experimental video – “Another place or GU(U)AM-a Land”, Lilia Dragneva explores geo-political project GUAM created in the 90’s in association by a number of states including the Republic of Moldova. The alliance took shape around the basin of Black Sea (Ucraina), in conjunction with Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan) and Central Asia (Uzbekistan, which at this point step back from the alliance). The aim of this political construction was to counterbalance the Russian presence and influence in the region. Browsing around newly created political construction a jambalaya of political discourses and symbols of power she loosely associate the meaning and purpose of the alliance with an unincorporated territory of the USA – a Pacific Island under the same title, and GUAMa lake – Boca de Guama – (The treasure lake) Laguna del Tesoro, Cuba.
Artist(s): Veaceslav Druta
Title: Portret of L.I.Brejznev
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2002

Title: Grain de mais
Country of production: France
Year of Production: 2005

Druta’s “Portrait of L.I.Brezhnev” dives into the spirit of the land he came from, an emblematic stance of the times that is recalled in the post-soviet society with nostalgia. In his other video “Grain de mais” we found the artist acting as himself following the line he used in his other works. The video based on a story in which he is cloning himself following a burlesque scenario. Druţă’s works gravitates around the idea of Moldo-centrism, whose meaning can be summed up in positioning the axis mundi, and respectively his interests in world culture, in relation to this landmark. Thus, Moldovan artist are able to use his own resources to explore the universe, and ignore any media flows. His statement proves an exclusivist and unbeatable cultural policy, which looks appropriate for survival in temporarily isolated spaces and territories.
Artist(s): Stefan Rusu
Title: LAZO
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2005

Title: SARS Opera
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2004

Produced initially as TV report “Lazo” deconstruct the myth about Moldavian born revolutionary, who found his heroic and frightening end in the Far Eastern Siberia for the cause of Russian Revolution. Following the ideological story the hero was burned in steam-engine by the Japanese interventionist army. The film is exploring a mixture between the soviet-propaganda scenario and Russian fairytales that culminates with the happy end in DADA style. The video “SARS Opera” presents accidental intertwining of two events—a concert by a military band, dedicated to May 9 (Victory Day), and the Mongolian government’s propaganda regarding the protection of the population against SARS.
Artist(s): Igor Scerbina
Title: Harey killin
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2005

Title: Defragmentation
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2005

“Harey killin” is a sentimental story resulted after documentation of a night hunting in which a consequent footages of acting hunters are alternated with a later party. Artist is depicting a common habit of a new Russian business elite- hare hunting. Drunk protagonists trough tells and nostalgic songs dramatically celebrate hunted victim. In his second video the artist used an emblematic image of Shtirlitz – according to Russian writer and later propaganda a soviet spy who activated during WW2 in the Nazi headquarter and who become popular thanks to a TV serial for the soviet society during the 70 s. The image of a hero become a motive to associate the tensions of the society in transition.
Artist(s): Serghei Turcanu
Title: Adio Patria
Country of production: Moldova
Year of Production: 2005

It is about beauty – it is about flowers
“Ado Patria” by Seghei Turcanu could be interpreted as a reflection on the accident of being born on unstable ground, in a state that constantly mutates its ideals and symbols, living under media pressure and political contradictions. A human being who act in fatalist way as L.Tolstoy’s character- Karenina performing an erotic dance on the rails anticipating the promised end.