OLD STORIES – NEW VIDEOS
curated by Matei Bejenaru
The selection of some video works by artists living and working in Iasi represents a subjective collection of artistic attitudes in a relative new medium in Romania: the video.
Until 1989, the Romanians could see only 2 hours of TV programmes by day. They discovered the manipulative power of the television in December 1989, when the communism collapsed and the Romanian live TV broadcasts were seen everywhere in the world. Before 1989, because of the political and financial restrictions, it was almost impossible for the Romanian artists to have acces to the video technology, even to the non professional one like VHS..
Bogdan Teodorescu "Geographic Aerobics", 2005
The total isolation
of the country during the Ceausescu dictatorship created a strange situation: in the mid 80s, the price of a VHS player represented a half of Dacia 1300, the only car for sale in that time in Romania. In the 90s, the growing interest for the video was limited especially to the non professional standards: VHS, SVHS and Hi8. Very few artists managed to produce films on Beta and they were especially from Bucharest where there is the concentration of TV stations and commercial video studions.
From personal mythologies to social criticism, the videos show the interest of a young generation of artists who is dealing with the transition from communism to the "wild capitalism". From my perspective, as curator and artist in this video programme, I was interested in showing those films which are easy to be "read" by an audience who is not familiar with the particular aspects of the Romanian context. The films reflect the fragile position of the artists in a remore city of a peripheral country from a peripheral region of Europe. They are living and working in a provincial and traditional context without having an infrastructure for promoting contemporary art, excepting the Vector Association, a cultural NGO which produced most of the films.
Matei Bejenaru "Looking for Caslav" 2002 (9 min)
Matei Bejenaru's video documentation of the performance "Looking for Caslav" is an analysis of the
Yugoslavian post war trauma which affected ordinary people. He decided to meet 20 years after a
Serbian man who escaped from all the wars from the 90s.
Dan Acostioaei "Essential Current Affairs, 2002 (4 min)
Dragos Alexandrescu "Situating Myself", 2005 (6 min)
Dan Acostioaei "Reconstructionscapes" (15 min -3 min excerpt)
Dan Acostioaei and Dragos Alexandrescu "Bahlui by Night", 2004 (12 min -3 min excerpt)
Dragos Alexandrescu "In-Out", 2005 (1:20 min)
Dan Acostioaei and Dragos Alexandrescu "Dave Didn't Make It", 2004 (54 sec)
Dragos Alexandrescu and Dan Acostioaei developed two different
strategies in their films: one based on manipulation of well-known
cinema films and creating new artistic forms from pre-existing ones
and the other by "focusing a critical lens" on the local realities.
Their artistic situation is very clear shown in the film "Dave didn't make it",
when they selected from the Stanlley Kubrick film the footage with the astronaut
"floating" in the vacuum. Isolation and frustration are the key words for explaining
the film "Essential Current Affairs", made by Dan Acostioaei, in which two lovers
with masks on their faces, are holding and kissing each other. The references to the
Rene Magritte surrealistic paintings are explicit here.
Bogdan Teodorescu "Geographic Aerobics", 2005 (18 min)
(Usti nad Labem, Zagreb, Istanbul, Iasi, Graz, Sofia, Holon, Novi Sad, 2005)
Bogdan Teodorescu invented a dialogue ("Geographical Aerobics") between a group of provincial artists about the artists from "the other countries" in their will to "understand" the art world which sends its signals till them via art magazines, websites and Euronews TV cultural spots.