Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu
area: Media Art
Body of Work - The Western Story © Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu
© Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu
© Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu
recommending institutiontranzit.org/ERSTE Stiftung
time periodSeptember 2015 - September 2015
Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu are an artistic couple living and activating in the city of Iași, Romania. They studied at “Geoge Enescu” University from Iași, Romania, within the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design. They have been collaborating and working as an artistic duo since 2012.
Their practice is scattered within the World-Wide-Web, from shared texts on Academia.edu or Scribd.com to blogs, YouTube videos and FaceBook Pages.
In 2015, they have been accepted for a three months artist residency stay at Otte1 Kunstlerhaus in Eckernforde, Germany.
Selected group exhibitions
“Galeria”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“Se va întâmpla deja”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“Working Title”, “Magma” Gallery, Sf. Gheorghe, Romania
“An indifference map”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“salonvideo_SUBmissions”, “Magma” Gallery, Sf. Gheorghe, Romania
“CLOSE-UP”, “etc.” Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
“Underground Performance Festival”, Sofia, Bulgaria
“Give me five!”, “Magma” Gallery, Sf. Gheorhe
ESSL Art Award Nominees Exhibition, Bucharest, Romania
“?!!” [ Personal artistic archive reconstruction ], “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“Transmedial / questioning painting”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“METROPIA”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iași, Romania
“A gift for all of our Facebook friends -2015 a sexy-history calendar”, Facebook event, WorldWideWeb
“NO HOPE FOR A FUTURE”, “apARTe” Gallery, Iasi, Romania
“4th” International / 12th Congress / 200 years of resistance”, Facebook page, WorldWideWeb.
“Body of work ‟79-„83” is the title under which we are developing a multitude of activities and events, artistic or not (but in the cultural field), mostly defined by artist talks, in English, which could also have a virtual form (via Skype). These series of debates and artist presentations, in their diverse possible forms, have as the main subject the artistic practice, unknown and un-shown, of the artistic couple formed by Silvia Amancei (b. 1991) and Bogdan Armanu (b.1991) in the communist Romania. The events within the platform program have as a starting point the presentation as a slideshow of the works created in the student years (1979-1983) of these eastern European artistic couple.
Starting from acknowledging the precarious, political, economical and especially artistic (cultural), context in which the two artists developed and activated Silvia and Bogdan found a way to manifest and express their subjectivity under the stiff communist regime. They also had an alienated position towards the western art (cultural) discourse, appropriating this marginal, detached, position towards the international artistic scene in their performance-type actions.
The actions, which could be understood as artistic even through this wasn‟t the intention, were performed by one of the artists, in most of the cases Bogdan, and documented through photography (digital black & white) by the other. Taking notice of the circumstances under which the artistic couple activated, these actions, private and intimate, were held in isolated locations, always without a public and never shared outside a small group of friends, as the flat in which the artists lived at that time, in Iasi, the periphery of the city and other places where the couple traveled or worked.
Through their practice, never made public until now, the Eastern European artists mainly tried to satisfy their intellectual (political) existence, creating in this manner their own narrative-poetic space, detached but also included in the same time in the state‟s body of surveillance. Building this space of subjectivity and suspending it through isolation from the ordinary, the artists had the possibility to criticize and reflect, express their happiness and believes but most of all, they could problematize their Eastern European (precarious and peripheral) position and condition, all these without exposing themselves to repressive apparatus of the state.
Starting from this artistic corpus, the artists, Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu, will present each piece of the work individually, together with at least one guest (and/or representative of the institution/organization which holds the event), curator or/and (art) historian, reflecting and questioning the context and circumstances (artistic/cultural/political/economical) under which this archive was created. Deconstructing this corpus of images with professional, or not, critical instruments, together with the intervention of the public, we propose to rethink and renegotiate the hegemonic discourse of the west and its practices and institutional/bureaucracy mechanics.
In September 2015 we were privileged to work and live in a context that, we think, heavily contributed to our critical discourse, facing for the first time lifestyle to which we were minimally exposed in our city/country. The Q21 residency stay in Vienna offered us the opportunity to live and infiltrate within a land where the memories and nostalgia of the Austro-Hungarian / Habsburg Empire were molding with the “Empire”. Trying not to get caught in the net of desires which the neoliberalism has scattered all around the gentrified court stables, but not just, our life in the center of “everything” meant an immediate reaction of self-isolation.
Although we were surrounded by aspects with which we didn’t empathize we knew that we had to make use of every tool available to us; i.e. time. Therefore we continued developing the project with which we initially applied at the residency (“Body of Work – the Western story”). In parallel, being caught at the intersection of the immigrant drama, which was unveiling in Europe, especially Austria, at that time, the need to save as much money as possible from the residency stipend to have home and depression, we decided to communicate with the outside from the window of our princess tower (which actually was an ex-stable). The message which we choose to share was “No Hope For A Future / Democracy Is Dead Because The Problems Of The City Are Managed By Economy”.
As a conclusion, we think of the MQ21 residency as useful experience.
Silvia & Bogdan