Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor
14 July – 10 September 2014
Mona Vatamanu (b. 1968, Romania) and Florin Tudor (b. 1974, Swtizerland) have worked together since 2000. Their artistic practice spans diverse media including film, photography, painting, performance, and site-specific projects. Vatamanu and Tudor’s broad-reaching practice has positioned them among the most compelling and literate interpreters of our contemporary post-communist condition, which extends far beyond their native Romania. Widely shown in Europe, Vatamanu and Tudor’s artistic practice involves bringing history into the present tense, whether in the form of performative re-enactment or symbolic recuperation. A deep interest in architecture as a repository of both personal and collective memory and as a mark of communist power underlies many of their projects.
Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor’s artistic practice spans diverse media including film, photography, painting, performance, and site-specific projects. Through their works, they confront the traumatic legacy of Communism in their native Romania and Eastern Europe, while wrestling with the ongoing challenge of how to process history. As part of the residency so far they have taken a look at the surrounding environment of both the natural jungle like environment and various constructions happening in Gillman Barracks to explore various social dynamics. They have taken the prevalent presence of migrant labour as a starting point to think about construction, the literal building of a nation, migration and the emotional realities of itinerancy and how this may affect social interactions.
6 Apr 2014, Sun 2:00pm - 3:30pm
The tear down refers to that period of change after the exhibition has finished – the moment of de-installation and erasure. Thinking through the exhibition as an architectural ruin where residue remains and resonance cannot evaporate, the artworks in this selection try to make sense of traces in an on-going reflection on the old and the new.
With works by Cyprien Gaillard, Mona Vatamany & Florin Tudor, Malak Helmy, Deigo Tonus, Marie Shannon
Cyprien Gaillard, Desniansky Raion (2007) is a three-part meditation on the failed utopias of the past and present with reference to the Eastern Bloc. The first section of the video navigates from a monumental triumphal arch in Belgrade, Serbia to a battle between two hooligan gangs in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg. The second part captures the façade of a high-rise block in Paris with lights projected on.
This grandiose staging, usually saved for historical buildings, ends abruptly with the building collapsing. The last section wanders through Desniansky Raion, a district in the suburbs of Kiev where the circular arrangement of communist blocks recalls the megalithic monument of Stonehenge, England. Desniansky Raion unwinds to an electro-lyrical composition by artist and musician Koudlam.
Cyprien Gaillard lives and works in Berlin. In his work, he reflects upon meanings and memories of monuments and landscapes that have been erased and replaced by the effects of time and social and cultural transformation. He had numerous solo exhibitions, including MOMA P.S.1, New York (2013); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011, 2008); the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011). In 2011 he was awarded the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst and the Prix Marcel Duchamp.
In the filmed performance of Vacaresti (2006) by Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor, “Florin Tudor traces, with string and small wooden sticks, the outline of the church from the Vacaresti Monastery in Bucharest, Romania demolished by the communist regime in 1986. Retracing the shape of the lost building functions as symbolic recuperation and gains resonance in relation to current plans to build a commercial mall on the same site, situating the work between an unclear ‘then’ and a problematic ‘now’, pointing at loss and at the entropy that architecture ‘constructs’ while it seeks to embody power, be it political or economic.” (Mihnea Mircan)
Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor live and work in Bucharest, Romania. They have been working together since 2000. In their works they confront the traumatic legacy of Communism in Romania and Eastern Europe, while wrestling with the ongoing challenge of how to process history. Recent exhibitions include Extracity, Antwerp (2013); Kunsthalle Lissbon (2013); Frankfurter Kunstverein (2013); DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2012).
Malak Helmy, Keyword searches for dust (2009) is a narrative of dust in its mutable forms investigates and it, itself, gets caught in a symptom. A condition. A form sheds its properties and characteristics, becoming contagious: an avalanche razes a populated residential plateau; spontaneous combustions erupt in both a people’s assembly archive and a national theatre, in the countryside a home-bound train catches fire.
Malak Helmy lives and works in Cairo, Egypt. Her work explores relationships between constructions of language and constructions of place; the line between private and public, science and magic, and metaphor. Helmy’s work has been exhibited at the 63rd and 64th Berlinale Forum Expanded,(2014 and 2013); the 9th Mercosul Biennial (2013); Frankendael Foundation (2013); Beirut (2013); Camera Austria (2013); 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012); amongst others.
Diego Tonus, Hour of the wolf (2010) is a film disclosing the backstage of The Collectors, a project curated by Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset for the Danish and Nordic Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale of Art, 2009. The video shows the exhibition’s dismantling and demolition, the fictional dimension of the set design as well as the collapse of illusion between the staged objects, suggesting a different vision of them.
Diego Tonus lives and works in Amsterdam. His works addresses the boundaries between truth and fact, reality and fiction, presentation and representation, mediation and lived experience. His work has been recently presented at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); the 9th edition of Furla award (2013), Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2013).
Marie Shannon, What I am looking at (2011), takes its title from Julian Dashper’s work, What I am reading at the moment (1993)- a library chair with a pile of every issue of Art Forum to 1993. The video uses rolling text with simultaneous voiceover to describe the contents of an artist’s studio and the work that needs to be done to make sense and create order once the artist is no longer there. The text describes categories and lists of objects: the precious, the mundane and the baffling.
Marie Shannon is an New Zealand-based artist. Her work has always been concerned with her immediate surroundings, and has at times addressed the work of other artists. Following the death of her partner, the artist Julian Dashper, in 2009, she has been cataloguing his art works and archive in their shared Auckland studio. It is from this process that she has gathered the material for her text-based videos.
NTU CCA Singapore are pleased to present a talk and selected screenings of work by NTU CCA Singapore Artists-in-Residence Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor. Vatamanu & Tudor’s artistic practice spans diverse media including film, photography, painting, performance, and site-specific projects. Through their works, they confront the traumatic legacy of Communism in their native Romania and Eastern Europe, while wrestling with the ongoing challenge of how to process history. As part of their residency at NTU CCA Singapore so far they have taken a look at the surrounding environment of both the natural jungle-like environment and various constructions happening in Gillman Barracks to explore various social dynamics. Their work has been included in numerous international exhibitions including (selection): Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), Istanbul, 2012; Blind Spots, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Vienna, 2009; 5th Berlin Biennial, 52nd Venice Biennial, Romanian Pavilion, Venice, 2007. They have had solo exhibition at Extra City, Antwerp and the Graphisches Kabinett, Secession, Vienna, among others. Vatamanu and Tudor live and work in Bucharest.
After their talk, a conversation between the artists will be led by NTU CCA Singapore Curator, Exhibitions Anca Rujoiu.