Current issue: Vol 7(1)

“Studies in Visual Arts and Communication –
an international journal”

Vol. 7, No 1 (2020)


Exhibitions as Points of Artistic Contact in Romanian Art during the Cold War (1965 –1989)

Cristian Nae, Associated editor

Table of Contents

June 2020; 7(1)

Cristian Nae

Introduction: Exhibitions as Points of Artistic Contact in Romanian Art during the Cold War (1965 –1989)
Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2020 7(1)
p. 03-04

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1. Daria Ghiu, CESI București

Romanian Art in the Period of “Diversionist Liberalisation”
Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2020 7(1)
p. 05-14

ABSTRACT
The present text briefly maps the officially presence of Romanian art in international exhibitions of the 1960s. It focuses on major art events held in the West, in particular the large-scale exhibitions at which nations are represented: the Venice Biennale, the Milan Decorative Art Triennale, the São Paulo Biennale, the Paris Biennale, and the Lausanne Tapestry Biennale, on graphic art events, and on the case of Richard Demarco and his interest in Romanian art. What is noteworthy is the recurrence of the names of a number of artists among those taking part in exhibitions and likewise the recurrence of certain collocations in the studies that accompanied the exhibitions and the creation of a discursive typology. The concept of “official” becomes a split concept, placed in-between what is exhibited abroad and how it is presented in the written discourse.

Keywords: Venice Biennale, Romanian art, conceptualism, decorative arts, photography.

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2. Cristian Nae, ”George Enescu” National University of Arts, Iași

Beyond Influence: On the Troubled Reception of American Art Exhibitions in Romania during the Cultural Détente (1968 – 1972)
Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2020 7(1)
p. 15-24

ABSTRACT
The exhibitions of American art that travelled to Romania during the brief period of cultural détente, stretching from 1968 to 1972, have not been thoroughly documented so far. Departing from the dominant art historical narrative which interprets such exhibitions as agents of “soft power” and vectors of cultural hegemony, and in sharp contrast to their negative, ideologically anchored art critical reception in the local press, the article reveals and critically interrogates the effects of such indirect international artistic encounters between Romanian and American art, as they are reflected in the artistic production of the time. Contextualizing the image-making techniques associated with consumer culture in the West which fascinated several Romanian artists during that period, it also aims to question the traditional notion of “influence”, understood as a straightforward transmission of ideas, techniques or stylistic patterns of vision. It analyses local adaptations and transformations of the languages of Pop Art and modernist abstraction and their distinctive integration within local versions of “sober realism”.

Keywords: influence, cultural transfer, travelling exhibitions, American Art, Global Pop.

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3. Mădălina Brașoveanu, Independent researcher

The Transversal Network: Mail Art Practices and International Contacts in Atelier 35, Oradea, and the MAMŰ group, Târgu-Mureș, in the early 1980s
Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2020 7(1)
p. 25-36

ABSTRACT
The article analyses the mail art practices in Romania in the early 1980s, focusing on two artistic groups – Atelier 35 from Oradea and MAMŰ group from Tîrgu-Mureș – and on the contacts and collaborations they established with the wide international and/or regional mail art networks – especially through the artist Ioan Bunuș. Comparing and discussing bibliographical and archival documentations, with visual mail art artefacts and oral history testimonies, the article argues that the local mail art practice was strongly shaped by specific local and regional characteristics – such as a rather “isolationist” tendency, than an eagerness to connect and communicate throughout the “unknown” world, or the prerequisite of direct contacts among artists, of pre-existent networks of collaboration that should have informed future mail art exchanges. As such, the local mail art practices seem to describe “transversal movements of cultures” (Lionnet, Shih, 2005), processes of hybridisation which, though not fully separated from the “major”, were actively generating a non-Western idiom of mail art that was to a large extent effective in diversifying and consolidating the artists’ interest in non-conventional languages.

Keywords: mail art, Romanian late-avant-garde, artists’ networks, Atelier 35 Oradea, MAMŰ Group Tîrgu-Mureș, minor transnationalism.

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4. Magda Radu, Independent researcher

Turning the tables: émigré artists and the West during the Cold War
Studies in Visual Arts and Communication – an international journal / June 2020 7(1)
p. 37-44

ABSTRACT
This text considers the phenomenon of artists who left Romania during the Cold War, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. It focuses on a few examples through which various issues pertaining to cultural transfers and diasporic subjectivities are brought to the fore. Reactivating the memory of displacement becomes all the more necessary given that we find ourselves at a point in which we are urged to reflect on the change of the political regime in 1989. In regard to the intersection of East-West viewpoints that such a project reveals, an important line bringing together multiple positions is the articulation of a critical, lucid perception of the West, also throwing into relief the issue of the failure to adapt—sometimes compounded by a conscious refusal to do so—to the artistic mechanisms of the “free” world.

Keywords: migration, Romanian artists, Cold War, art institutions, Eastern European/Western European art worlds.

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