The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum presents
"Desire is WAR"
July 7 – 31, 2011 Opening, Thursday July 7, h 17.00 6 Tribunei Str, Sibiu, RO Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10.00 – 18.00
Artists: Apparatus 22 (RO), Muhammad Ali (PK), Ştefan Botez (RO/CH), Katja-Lee Eliad (RO/IL), Farid Fairuz (LB/RO), Mikhail Karikis (GR/UK), Matts Leiderstram (SE), Matmos (US), MEN (US), Ioana Nemeş (RO), Gyarfas Olah (RO), Karol Radziszewski (PL), Emily Roysdon (SE/US), Ryan Trecartin (US).
Curators Anca Mihulet and Dragos Olea (RO)
Despite the obvious advancements in the process of secularization and negotiation of identity in the Romanian society, sexual morality remains under the heavy domination of religion, of exaggerated discourse, and of facile mythologies. Even though the degree of tolerance towards sexual minorities has increased recently, understanding, respect, and real political acceptance of such minorities are far from being widespread.
In a rather hostile context, Desire is WAR is a statement-exhibition and form of cultural activism that aims to provoke a debate around a certain kind of desire that quite often ignites intense bitter conflicts, even “wars” within families, groups of friends, neighbors, at school, at work or at home: the yearning for same sex persons.
By presenting a selection of recent works completed in various media - video, drawing, text, sound - from Apparatus 22, Muhammad Ali, Stefan Botez, Katja-Lee Eliad, Farid Fairuz, Mikhail Karikis, Matts Leiderstram, Matmos, MEN, Ioana Nemes, Gyarfas Olah, Karol Radziszewski, Emily Roysdon, Ryan Trecartin, artists and musicians that consistently approached and examined queer topics, among others, Desire is WAR is opening up a space for discovery and dialogue that is much needed in Romania and not only. The exhibition attempts to go beyond the perception of queer culture as mere liberalization of emotions or threat to the social and political establishment.
The works in the exhibition discourse on a wide array of issues related to desire for same-sex persons: desire as source of inspiration, the struggle for rights to public representation and expression for the LGBT community and analysis of public rhetoric around civil rights, re-contextualisation of heterosexual icons in queer perspective, "spectacular" aura of queerness and associated mythologies, dilemmas and confusion caused by the self-acceptance of asexual orientations that are so often socially blamed, nostalgia, the narrative possibilities presented by juxtaposition of „normal” life with the „other”, virtue and sin, compromise and guilt, the power of seduction, queerness as means of aesthetic expression etc. Music will be particularly emphasized within the show as we are interested in its potential to act as a tool of mass communication of both radical ideas and genuine emotions on queer desire. This approach stemmed from the historical connection between queer community, visual arts, and music. Numerous musicians have been using pop, dance or rock music together with cultural and historical references in order to wave political critique; in a different spectrum, real personal stories inspired by the desire for same sex individuals have been inserted into a milieu that was resistant to it, thus succeeding to get across a message that otherwise would have had less impact.
The exhibition display, made in collaboration with architect Laura Paraschiv, is deconstructing a widespread cliché according to which urban queer culture is all about parties, promiscuity and glamorous lifestyle. The works will feature in a chaotic post-party set that decomposes the shiny surface and makes room for the real problems of queer community, for its dilemmas and possible solutions of transforming gaps between heterosexual and queer norms into forms of expressions and ways of understanding cultural and sexual difference. Throughout the exhibition room there will be various materials on queer topics: magazines, publication, music mix tapes etc.
The exhibition is realized with the generous support from: Institutul Polonez Bucuresti, Analix Forever, Eu sunt! Tu?, Accept, add, Henkel, PSI Romania
Media Partners: Hype Street, Veioza Arte, Ginger Group
*** The team: Maria Farcas, Oana Iordan, Sebastian Moldovan, Erika Olea, Laura Paraschiv. Thank you list: Ciléne Andréhn, KILOBASE BUCHAREST, Rebecca Cleman, Angelica Dumitrescu, Electronic Arts Intermix, Yasir Husain, Bogdan Istrate, Sumbul Khan, Tudor Kovacs, Olivia Mihaltianu, Natalia Mosor, Claudia Pascu, Barbara Polla, Noemi Revnic, Alina Serban, Ioana Ulmeanu.
*** about the participating artists
Apparatus 22 is an art and fashion collective initiated in 2011 in Bucharest, RO. This year, Apparatus 22 will present projects in the publication KILOBASE BUCHAREST A – H commissioned for the exhibition “Image to be projected until it vanishes”, Museion Bolzano, IT; at MAK – Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art, Wien, AT, and at Steirischer Herbst festival, Graz, AT. The works in the exhibition bring together fashion and academia icons - unidentified modeling objects, placed in connection to Deirdre McCloskey’s image, transsexual, professor of economics and economic historian.
Muhammad Ali is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Karachi, PK. Interested in the complexity of sexuality and emotions, and in the eroticism deriving from here, Muhammad Ali will exhibit in Brukenthal's contemporary art gallery two recents photos: “Muntazir” and “Wuthering Heights”.
Ştefan Botez works with photography, video and collage. For the time being, he is specializing in artistic practices in the public space at Haute École d’Art et Design in Geneva. For the Desire is WAR exhibition, Ştefan Botez has prepared a series of photos entitled „Mi-e dor de tine“ (“I miss you”) dedicated to an ex-boyfriend from Geneva, an emotional and impulsive gesture, based on linguistic games and spatial memory.
Katja-Lee Eliad (lives and works in Bucharest, RO) is a visual artist working with drawing, video and sound. The work presented within this project, „Explică“ (“Explain”) elegantly recomposes, through image and sound, the moments of a relationship - with uncertainties and fears, pleasant recollections and disappointments.
Farid Fairuz (born in Beirut, LB, lives in Bucharest, RO) took by storm the Romanian cultural scene with his manifesto and subsequent critical performances on capitalism, sexuality, cultural production and religion that sharply mirror failures of the local society. For the opening of the exhibition, Farid Fairuz will conceive a performance inspired by the local environment, and motivated by the conceptual aspirations of the curators.
Mikhail Karikis (born in Greece, lives and works in London, UK) with a background in music, architecture and visual art. His audio and video performances were presented at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, BAFTA, British Film Institute, Kings Place London or Tate Britain. Karikis was commissioned for a series of performances that took place in the Danish Pavilion at this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale. Mikhail Karikis’ sound installation will speak about the complications and the wrong perceptions that occur in a relationship due to internet communication.
Matts Leiderstam (b. 1956, lives and works in Stockholm, SE). His most recent solo-show was presented at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, DE; Malmö Museum of Art, SE; Turku Museum of Art and Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Waasa, FI. His work “Returned, Parc Mont Royal” is a fragment from a complex artistic approach elaborating on the idea of abandonment and on the danger of returning. The artist documents the transformation, often invisible, of parks indicated in the gay guides as cruising places by inserting the copy of a painting by Poussin “Spring or earthly paradise” into the landscape.
Matmos (M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel). The famous pair of artists and electronic music composers, innovators in a field of extreme innovation will be represented in the exhibition through the album “The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast” (2006). The album consists of a series of symbol-songs dedicated to some influential LGBT personalities; each character is defined by distinct sonic elements, relevant for her / his career.
MEN is a band and art-performance collective from Brooklyn, NY, initiated by JD Samson, together with Michael O’Neill, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, later replaced by Tami Hart, Johanna Fateman and Emily Roysdon. We present two manifest-songs - “Credit Card Babies” and “Who I Am to Feel so Free” – from the debut album of MEN released at the beginning of this year, “Talk About Body”.
Gyarfas OLAH (b. 1975, Tuşnad, RO). Since 2006, he is head designer and part of the team that created the fashion label Rozalb de Mura. A part of his most recent drawings and collages that combine in a courageous and conspirative way the masculine and the feminine will be exhibited in the frames of the project Desire is WAR.
Ioana Nemes (1979-2011) was one of the most acknowledged and exhibited Romanian artists of her generation. She has participated at the Istanbul Biennial, TR (2009) or at UTurn Copenhagen, DK (2009), and her works have been shown at Art in General NY (2011), Secession Vienna, AT (2010), Smart Project Space Amsterdam, NL (2009) and Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2006). Within this exhibition, Ioana Nemeş will be present with a statement from the project “Monthly Evaluations”, the Alpha series, in which she discusses the status-quo of the woman of genius.
Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980, lives and works in Warsaw, PL) is the initiator and co-creator of The Flying Szu Szu Gallery, and also the founder and chief-editor of “DIK Fagazine”. Radziszewski will exhibit a selection of photographs taken in 2007 during a one-day trip to Ocna Sibiului – a spa with salty lakes near Sibiu. A gang of boys and girls, covered in mud, move and interact like in a ritual in a tensed and unexpected natural space.
Emily Roysdon (b. 1977, lives and works in New York, US and Stockholm, SE) is a visual artist and writer, working at the boundaries of performance, installation, text, video and curatorship. In the Contemporary Art Gallery of Brukenthal National Museum, Emily Roysdon will present an abstract-poetic work from the series “Ecstatic Resistance”.
Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981, lives and works in New Orleans, US) is one of today’s most innovative video artists, using sophisticated digital manipulations with footage from the Internet and pop culture or animations. His latest solo-show, “Any Ever” was presented at MoMA PS1, New York, US and at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, FR. In the exhibition, Ryan Trecartin is present with a video work about the public confession of gay identity.