Michal Plata/ PL
Larisa Crunteanu/ RO/PL
Alexandra Mocan/ RO
Ada Muntean/ RO
Xandra Popescu/ RO
Gabriel Stoian/ RO
Mihai Iepure Gorski/ RO
- A collection of stories told by natives of east European countries.
East in this project stands for the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, mostly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct".
Arguably the most referred meaning was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Majority of historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.
This exhibition brings together a group of artists born or living in countries such as Romania, Poland, etc. associated with the term of east European. Displaying a fresh outlook on what the east stands for today, seven video pieces made by seven emergent artists more or less belonging to the same generation: Michal Plata, Gabriel Stoian, Larisa Crunteanu, Xandra Popescu, Alexandra Mocan, Mihai Iepure Gorski and Ada Muntean. The videos present in this selection document certain stereotypical background while others are ironical interpretations depicting a high temporal contrast or just simple observations over current times. All the pieces sum up to offer a glimpse on what East Europe is about. A raw insight or just hello form the other side where things did not go as planned...
Curated by Gabriel Stoian
19-26 June - EAST SAPPHIRE, Ventolin Art Space, Brisbane, Australia
Opening: Wednesday 19th June, 6 pm - 9 pm
The video documents an intimate journey that the artist takes to visit his polish part of the family. At a psychological level the work is focusing on the futility of life, versus people achievements their trophies. The old tradition is seen in a nostalgic lustful way. Undermining the generation gap, the artist is walking a thin line between roots, origins and his current nomadic nature. The video is a collage of frames put together by an observer that looks carefully at everything. In just a few minutes he recreates a mirror image of an important part of the east.
An ironic reflection on how we tend to transform nothingness into excess - coming from the position of one who witnessed migration under the purposes of increasing welfare.
Laboring in foreign countries has become very common in eastern society, the West being percieved as an ideal and as a potential for earning a better living. The imitation of excess is unavoidable for some who need to feel the reward of their hours spent working. Some are building big houses, buying big cars, big pools, and sometimes, more than they need. Part of the houses some managed to build with money earned working in West are never lived in, or sometimes left to their children who grow up alone. The precarity of this people lives might remain the same, they just manage to add a cherry on the top of it, while their affect, boundaries and health are getting ruined. The daily bread is a symbol for wealth, and in the same time for poorness, being accessible as a first choice of survival in eastern society, because it’s an aliment which offers saturation under low prices. In this video the modest daily bread is turned into a cake as an action meant for forgetting poorness.
Gut, Besser, Am Besten, 2019.
- From a single shot, the story of an east-European couple that move in an apartment at the ground floor in Berlin.
The video speaks about the changes that happen during this transition from the east to the west society. Emphasising on a more intimate level, from a couple perspectives the obsessive desire to improve, to adapt to western standards can easily set two apart.
Where Does the Body End?
My recent body of work explores the expressive and conceptual potential of the human body in relation to various existential aspects relevant today, trying to capture the fluid identity of the 21st century man. My approach aims for a visual X-ray of the dehumanized individual of contemporary society, which is based on the inner conflicts created by the contrast between what man wants, feels and perceives as being true accomplishment and that which mass-media catalogues, accepts and integrates as a universally valid example of success, questioning the concept of vanitas.
Where Does The Body End? constitutes itself as a haiku-video which explores ironically the materiality of the body and its relationship with a very pragmatical matter of life – money. One of the main problems of the countries part of the Eastern Side of Europe is money, from which corruption evolves as a phenomenon. Unfortunately, the cliché of the hardship of existence where you can’t breathe without money or stop breathing in the situation of their absence still exists. Therefore, the mentality in which the existence of the body and its form is strongly connected with the presence of money- is widely spread. One of the strongest issues in Romania right now is corruption, the existence around this social phenomenon and its effects on people, both physically and mentally. This material preoccupation offers in fact limitations in the perception of life itself and in the perception of the human body.
Dialog unilateral / Unilateral Dialog.
Mihai Iepure-Górski is foolish enough to believe that a single, well calculated, properly articulated gesture can, should and eventually will change the way we perceive and or understand our reality. At the same time, he is sane enough to be aware of the simple and ultimate fact that the previous affirmation is gravely overstated.
He has been trying to become and or be the recipient and producer of such gestures for the most part of the last decade with some degree of success locally and internationally. With the shadow of failure still lurking, Iepure-Górski is pushing himself by all means onto the main stage whilst making considerable efforts to abstain from using the actual methods that would take him there.
Just another day in which my imagination challenges the elite
This video represents a satirical take on the contrasting city of Frankfurt, where I find myself living for the last four years now. Fuelled by the wind, a large scale trash bin seems to be laughing about the corporate society that is rushing to work on a busy day. The scene seems to be depicted from a pack man video game, as the trash bin opens its trap to allure the robotic humans. This video was a spontaneous catch were all elements come together in a serendipitous happening. It all takes place in Willy Brand Platz home of the famous euro sign and most of Frankfurt skyline, just another day in which my imagination challenges the elite.
Jealous of the Forest
A brief look at a peasant's usual day in countryside Romania, caught between technology consumption, field work and leisure time. If, in the neoliberal modern society, work is leisure, how does its equivalent looks like in a secluded agricultural rural environment? Larisa Crunțeanu’s works create contexts in which facts and memories are reactivated, encouraging a shared effort and the emergence of new practices. Many of her projects reflect on the notion of collaboration and the ideas existing behind objects and stories.