free school for art theory and practice - -

The May seminar of the Free School for Art Theory and Practice launched by is led by Matei Bejenaru, artist, Simona Nastac, curator, Vlad Morariu and Catalin Gheorghe art critic. In the seminar each lecturer will present a segment of the Romanian contemporary art scene in consecutive sessions.

After the dark 90s, when the society was very close to collapse, the current situation of the Romanian society can be characterized by the gradual normalization due to the new political and economical context. As a visible result of the “escape” from the “grey political zone” at the borders of Europe to the “white one” inside, are the continuous economic growth and the free circulation of the Romanian citizens in Europe.
The artistic production and the institutional initiatives were influenced by the new situation. Also, the interest from outside is gradually increasing as the global capital started to be invested in the country. If the 90s, from cultural point of view, was a period of post dictatorship trauma and independent initiatives, the 2000s, are a decade when most of the young cultural institutions disappeared, the reform in art education really started due to the pressures from EU regulations and the first commercial galleries managed to survive because of the birth of a local art market and of the interest of global buyers.
The presentations during the seminar are analyzing the situations described bellow, from the raise of the “biennials” who wish to become globally recognized to the analysis of the practice of some Romanian artists and some projects regarding the public space. Also, the history of the Periferic Biennial and some theoretical aspects of art as experimental journalism will be presented.

Date of the seminar: May 30 – June 1, 2008

To take part in the seminar, please send a motivation letter to the address until the 25th of May.
Participation in the seminar is free.

Matei Bejenaru is an artist and initiator of Periferic Biennial in Iasi, Romania ( Established in 1997 as a performance festival, Periferic transformed into an international contemporary art biennial defined as a platform for discussions on the historical, socio-political and cultural context of Iasi. Together with a group of artists and philosophers from Iasi, he founded in 2001 the Vector Association, also member of the editorial stuff of Vector - art and culture in context magazine. As an artist, he is socially engaged in analyzing the way globalization affects post-communist countries’ labor force and rapidly changes mentalities and lifestyles. Recent projects: free water distribution for Albanian inhabitants - Tirana Biennial 2003, cARTier project 2004, Travelling Guide for Romanian illegal workers - Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art, Vienna, 2005, Impreuna/Together Tate Modern - Level 2 Gallery 2007.

Simona Nastac is a curator and critic, currently a project manager at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, based in London and Bucharest. The most recent projects include How to Build a Universe That Does Not Fall Apart Two Days Later, Regensburg 2007, If You Think This World Is Bad You Should See Some Others, Prague Biennial 2007, and The Sublime Overcoming of the Ultimate Frontier of Art: It`s Rediscovery, 2nd International Art Biennial, Bucharest 2006. She is an editor of web magazine and a contributor to Flash Art, Untitled (London), Praesens (Budapest), IDEA art+society (Cluj), Vector (Iasi) and Observator cultural (Bucharest).

Vlad Morariu studied philosophy at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania, and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. He is a member of the Vector Association since 2004. He has worked as an assistant-curator in several projects developed by the German curator Marius Babias [Periferic 7: Focussing Iaşi / Social processes (Iaşi, 2006), L´Europe en devenir – Partie II (Paris 2007), etc]. In the last 4 years he has published in such magazines as Idea Arts + Society, Suplimentul de cultura, Observator Cultural, while also being an editor of the contemporary art magazine Vector - Art and Culture in Context. Regularly, he translates theoretical texts for Vector and Idea magazines, and he has also translated Marius Babias' Die Rückeroberung der Politik (2007) and Arthur Danto´s The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (2008) to the Romanian language.

Catalin Gheorghe is art critic and theoretician. He is teaching Aesthetics and Visual Semiotics at the Art University in Iasi (Romania) and he is editing Vector - art and culture in context publication as a platform for contemporary art practices, theory, criticism and research. He is also project coordinator of the studio for art practices and debates which is developing a Creative Mediation Project for Periferic 8 Biennial, Iasi.