How Mircea Stănescu’s collages from the 1980s received new life

24 June 2021

On the occasion of Meditation upon Measure (on view through July 31), an overview of Mircea Stănescu’s work from the 1980s, we are pleased to present a behind-the-scenes look at the painstaking restoration process that made this exhibition possible. The short film retraces the story of a series of large-scale collages, more than 2.5 meters high, that are the heart of the solo show.

Mircea Stanescu, Untitled, colaj

In the last years of the communist regime, drawing from art history, the media, pop culture and personal experiences, Mircea Stănescu developed a bulked-up form of collage. The works’ surface is strewn thick with repurposed imagery of various kinds, from magazine pages to vintage postcards and film posters, as well as a bounty of materials and small objects, punctuated by paint, drawing or written words. The heightened physicality and visual power of these collages are experienced almost the way one experiences architecture.

Made on everyday paper that got damaged as years went by, the collages were restored in 2021, in the months leading up to the exhibition. The artist worked with a graphic art conservator to restore the paper and affix the collages on custom-made canvas – a technique called marouflage, that he had planned to use from the very beginning to ensure their longevity. More than three decades later, the works received the support that was always intended for them. 

Mircea Stănescu (b. 1954, lives and works in Sibiu) studied tapestry at the University of Arts in Bucharest. He is one of the artists trained in the experimental laboratories of Atelier 35 in Bucharest and Sibiu in the 1980s, a period during which he switched his discourse to drawing, installation and photography. His work has been exhibited recently at Kommunale Galerie Berlin (2021), Kunsthalle Bega (Timișoara, 2021), National Museum of Contemporary Art – MNAC (Bucharest, 2020), Art Encounters Biennale (Timișoara, 2017), and Vargas Museum (Manila, 2016). Meditation upon Measure is his second solo exhibition at Gaep, following Abstract Matters (2015).

The project Meditation upon Measure is co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN) and supported by COS, Signify and KLG Romania. Media partners: Observator cultural, Radio România Cultural, Revista ARTA. Video produced by Black Horse Mansion

The project does not necessarily represent the position of the AFCN. 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.

Images: Mircea Stănescu, Meditation upon Measure, Gaep, 5 June – 31 July 2021, installation view (1); Mircea Stănescu, Untitled, 1987-1988, collage, 267 x 164 x 4.3 cm (2)