WATCH NOW – Meditation upon Measure: A Discussion About the ‘80s Generation

13 July 2021

In conjunction with Mircea Stănescu’s exhibition Meditation upon Measure, we are pleased to present a filmed panel discussion about the generation of Romanian artists that made its debut in the late 1970s or the early 1980s.

The event invited 11 artists, curators and art historians – Alexandru Antik, Magda Cârneci, Călin Dan, Liviana Dan, Cătălin Davidescu, Adrian Guță, Ion Bogdan Lefter, Petru Lucaci, Raluca Nestor Oancea, Marilena Preda Sânc and Mircea Stănescu – to consider the specific ways in which the ‘80s Generation reacted to the social and political context during the last decade of the communist regime.

The two-part discussion revolved around defining these artists’ central ideas, both in their studio practices and in their civic engagement, and on highlighting the impact that the platform for experimental art Atelier 35 had through landmark events held in Bucharest, Sibiu, Baia Mare, among other places.

As Magda Cârneci notes in her book Artele plastice în România 1945-1989. Cu o addenda 1990-2010, the artists entering the cultural stage in the early 1980s, at a time of drastic political closing, faced “a reality in which they could not participate directly, but which they could not elude, one they could not change or criticize freely.” Gradually marginalized, both socially and professionally, they turned towards the inner, individual world.

With Atelier 35, they tried to build a national network for “alternative art” – defined by Adrian Guță in his study Generația ’80 în artele vizuale as ”the discourses that opposed the power structures / were subversively coded / advanced, by defending inner freedom, a normality that was incongruous with the abnormality that pervaded everything else.”

Moderated by Mihaela Dedeoglu, the discussion was filmed and edited for length and clarity.

Mircea Stanescu, Meditation upon Measure, Gaep, 2021

The panel discussion coincides with Meditation upon Measure (on view through July 31) – an overview of Mircea Stănescu’s work from the 1980s, veering between the visually radical, in the form of bulked-up collages, and the intensely pensive, as shown by the textile works after which the exhibition was named.

At the heart of the solo show are a group of large-scale collages, more than 2.5 meters high, that were restored for this exhibition. A behind-the-scenes look at the meticulous restoration process is available here.

The panel discussion was organized with the support of ARCUB – Cultural Center of Bucharest.

The project Meditation upon Measure is co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN).

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.