Our first participation at Art Paris
Our first presentation at Art Paris (30 March – 2 April 2023) brings together large-scale collages from the late 1980s by Mircea Stănescu – a group of “gentle giants” conveying the artist’s tumult in communist Romania – and Damir Očko’s recent collages on language as a tool for political mimicry or an act of resistance.
For Mircea Stănescu, collage was, during the totalitarian regime, the medium that best conveyed “an instinctive discontent, a reflex of a bankrupt existentialism, bearing the convulsive trace left by red propaganda.” The artist channeled his dissatisfaction into a series of 26 large-scale works, more than 2.5 m tall, with a nothing-is-forbidden approach that feels like an escape from restrictions.
Made on everyday paper that got damaged as years went by, the collages were restored ahead of artist’s solo exhibition with Gaep in 2021, which paved the way for the museum exhibition Mircea Stănescu: The Illicit Island at MNAC Bucharest.
Damir Očko’s work across mediums examines the intricacies of language, codes of social control, the political dimension of the body, and different forms of violence, fragility and resistance. The collages selected for this presentation expound visual and conceptual elements from his films DICTA I (2017) and DICTA II (2018).
In DICTA I, a man in theatre greasepaint recites a poem written by the artist – in fact, a Dada cut-out of Bertolt Brecht’s Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties. The text only sounds right and truthful. In reality, it has no intelligible meaning. Očko references the instances in which the political discourse fabricates a sense of truth through language.
DICTA II is built around “safewords” – code signals that communicate a limit not to be overstepped – recited by a voice-over to the visual accompaniment of a martial arts fight. The words are different: „yellow”, „patriarchy”, „game over”, „chocolate”, among others. But they all mean the same: stop. The artist comments on faux language by assembling a vocabulary of perpetual “stop”.
Art fair details
Gaep, Booth H12, sector Promises
With the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute
Grand Palais Éphémère, Champ-de-Mars
Public Opening Hours
30 March: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
31 March: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
1 April: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
2 April: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.