The last couple of years have generated a series of changes felt on a personal and societal level, activating a collective consciousness over the deep-rooted anthropogenic effects on our environments, socio-economic interdependencies, and the precarity of both human and nonhuman life forms. It also confronted us with the bitter truth that a state of crisis is not only transitory, but the perpetual condition of our socio-environments where ecological damage can be both predictable and inevitable. How do we “stay with the trouble” amidst such paradoxes and inescapable power-structure entanglements? What can we learn from a situation of crisis and in relation to other-than-humans around us?
The process of formulating the current exhibition departed from following the advice and work of award-winning anthropologist Anna Tsing on “the art of noticing” in relation to the material world, which encourages us to discover that in certain cases, the intensification of human-induced damage is answered with the same intensity in the forms of resistance, remediation, and reorganization of life. A time of intense precarity is conducive to the emergence of new dispositions that through resilience and mutual care give rise to reparatory processes or transformations where the presence of other-than-humans (be it a rock, a plant, an animal), artifacts, or devices participating in reparatory actions become visible. The processes that we call reparatory can manifest themselves in different ways: as novel organizational arrangements, as forms of healing and care, new forms of inter-species or multi-species interaction, but also as expressions of artistic creation, participating in the ongoing process of (re)worlding through transgressing the limits of disciplines. How can artistic expression and practice open up new ways of unveiling ecologies of repair emerging from or within the human-nonhuman coexistence?
Titled suggestively Ecologies of Repair, the exhibition brings together new contributions by eight emerging female artists with diverse artistic interests and preoccupations, working with organic materialities, natureculture concepts, or technical approaches to notions of protection and preservation. The artists were invited to think through Anna Tsing’s concept of the assemblage – understood as bodies and materials, the organic and the inorganic, and their mutual constitution in multiple and open forms of coexistence – along embracing or continuing a working methodology: first by looking at the liveliness of the material through fieldwork, attuning to time as a way to unveil the coordinates of human and non-human interactions, and grounding their observations in a specific landscape. Each artist situated their research in a particular time-space by employing the concept of landscape with different lens, from an accidental water leak in Racoți shaping a site-specific flora and a bauxite waste pond near the Danube Delta, to a small agricultural village living off grain production in Argeș county and the deserted marble quarries in the village of Alun; while also departing from specific living organisms and materialities understood as micro landscapes to suggest possible life compositions.
The artworks presented in the exhibition address, question, and interweave complex reflections on the circularity of construction-destruction, waste-creation, extraction-addition, turning residues or overlooked organisms into creative forces connected by the power of adaptability. The human-nonhuman is at times interchanged as a way to envision a transfer of agency and democratization of life or performed through the artist’s subjectivity and presence to repurpose and revalue our relationship with other webs of life. Grounded in alarming yet hopeful existing circumstances, the exhibition presents a series of specific assemblages in which processes of repair are proposed, imagined, or activated artistically as contributions to a knowledge production practice embedded in the ongoing remaking of the world.
Text by Adelina Luft, curator
DOWNLOAD the exhibition dossier to learn more about the artists and their works (pdf, in English and Romanian)
WALK THROUGH the exhibition with Mihaela Dedeoglu (Zebra radio show, RFI România), Adelina Luft (curator) and Andrei Breahnă (Gaep’s co-founder) (in Romanian)
LISTEN to the artists speak about their works in Daria Ghiu’s Arte frumoase radio show (Radio România Cultural) about the exhibition (in Romanian)
The project does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The AFCN is neither responsible for the project content nor for the way in which the project results may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the grant beneficiary.
With the support of