Museum exhibition: Mircea Stănescu at MNAC
Mircea Stănescu’s Insula clandestină/The Illicit Island (National Museum of Contemporary Art – MNAC, Bucharest, 9 December 2021 – 24 April 2022) brings together works from the 1980s and early 1990s in one of the most significant exhibitions of the artist’s career to date.
The exhibition is anchored by a series of 26 large-scale collages that were given new life through restoration this spring, in the months leading up to Stănescu’s solo show at Gaep, Meditation upon Measure. While we presented a selection of these works, the series is being shown in its entirety for the first time at MNAC.
The collages, more than 2.5 meters high, have a nothing-is-forbidden approach that feels like an escape from the restrictions of the communist era. Drawing from art history, the media, pop culture, and personal experiences, Mircea Stănescu developed a bulked-up form of collage. Their 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, sometimes punctuated by paint, drawing or written words.
Insula clandestină/The Illicit Island (curators: Liviana Dan, Sandra Demetrescu) presents the collages alongside an important body of works in different mediums. “Trained in the experimental laboratories of Atelier35, after studying tapestry, Mircea Stănescu chooses the lessons of the avant-garde that resonate with the photographic essay, collage and installations and with the simplified forms of modernism – drawing as diary-like notes and as creative matrix”, notes Liviana Dan.
“Mircea Stănescu constantly documents the apartment where it all happens. Factual forms, commitments, boldness, objectivity, accents and formal qualities – all are defining for an art that is stretched between the quality of style and the capture of strange aspects. Abstract form can be equally political, vulnerable, transparent”, adds the curator.
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Watch a video about the meticulous restoration of the large-scale collages.
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Images: Mircea Stănescu, Untitled, 1987-1988, collages, each 267 x 164 x 4.3 cm