Staging Idioms—A Documentary Installation

Cătălin Gheorghe in collaboration with Dan Acostioaei

Exhibition at the Stadtturmgalerie, 14.12.2005 to 19.01.2006
Lecture, Stadtturmgalerie, 13.12.2005

Staging Idioms was a documentary micro-social study on the “minor narratives” of an artists’ community in the process of transition. Active at the periphery of European geopolitics (in Iaşi/RO) since the second half of the 1990s, this community has been developing an artistic practice that is unusual for the predominant educational system and cultural context there. Observations of their idiomatic behavior resulted in a brief series of visual studies, demonstrating a critical application of a cross-curatorial approach.

In an exhibition text about the project, Cătălin Gheorghe writes:This documentary installation encourages viewers to do their own research on art practices developed in different social, cultural and educational conditions, based on their own knowledge level.

At the same time, these staged documents question the idea of cultural exchange not only from the collaborative perspective of a cross-curatorial experience, but also from the processual perspective of a mediation between a theorist as an investigative artist and an audience as a ‘collective of researchers’.

The photos by Dan Acostioaei, Dragoş Alexandrescu, Matei Bejenaru, Cezar Lăzărescu and Bogdan Teodorescu reflect the artists’ respective relationships to their obstructive context. Their critical reaction towards the social and cultural legacy and decisions not only illustrate an idiomatic artistic practice; they also describe a procedural situation. Dan Acostioaei’s wall painting is a critical statement addressing restrictions to the free acquisition and accessing of information. Official cultural and educational institutions create their own canonical and academic versions of knowledge use. Personal, artistic ‘use’ of a camera breaks cultural codes and reconfigures social practices as confrontations and liberations. Copyleft is a reversal of the right to withhold.

The video documentary proposes a series of encounters. The artists (Dan Acostioaei, Dragoş Alexandrescu, Matei Bejenaru, Livia Tencariu with Vlad Morariu and Bogdan Teodorescu) tell their stories from the perspective of their relationship to their own socio-cultural context. Each of them is expressing his or her own cultural behavior by taking a position with regard to the establishment. The radius of activity—conceived as a stage—expands through the artists’ idiomatic ways of thinking and articulating their proposals.

The study table invites you to interact with the documentation of a multitude. Their art production challenges the local system and provides information for the others’ instrumental investigations.

The collaboration with artist Dan Acostioaei focuses on the idea that is more conclusive to display a practice than a transportable artwork, and that this exhibition is also an opportunity to hold a ‘flash residency’ that encourages conceptual and interpersonal interaction among the participants.

Staging Idioms is a critical statement about challenging conservative systems of knowledge and practice, offering the opportunity for information exchange so as to find new solutions, and encouraging a re-evaluation of public cultural life and our changed private social situation.”

Cătălin GHEORGE is an author and curator based in Iaşi, Romania. Gheorghe teaches theory and the history of art criticism at the University of Iaşi and has co-curated several events at the Vector Gallery. He has been writing articles about contemporary art practices for different publications since 2000.

Dan Acostioaei (*1974) is a visual artist based in Iaşi, Romania. His works focus on identity models in transitioning Romanian society, on the ideological boundaries between economic spheres and the conditions of artistic production within former Eastern Block.