An ironic approach to the fetishisation of
Constantin Brancusi’s work, the
performance Untitled revolves around
the Walking Stick – a conceptual
sculpture in the form of a cane carved
with the motif of the Endless Column,
commissioned by Alexandra Croitoru
from sculptor Napoleon Tiron in 2013. As a symbol of an artist whose work is regarded as “the pinnacle of Romanian sculpture”, the cane Vlad Basalici uses as part of the performance recycles the sculptural tradition and is ultimately employed to question the entire edifice,
in which national and artistic values interpenetrate and give birth to the Brancusi obsession in Romania. This object / fetish synthesises a number of contradictions in the posthumous
destiny of Brancusi’s work. It combines pop art with folk craft and elitist art, and it invokes the ethno-nationalism present in the Romanian context of the 1980s. At the same time, the cane evokes the arsenal of kitsch trinkets on sale at the Centre Pompidou or the Brancusi Memorial House in the village of Hobita. The association of artwork and merchandise as well as the association between artistic and country branding is not accidental: both the culture industry
and the nationalist discourse in Romania have made use of Brancusi’s name on repeated occasions, before and after 1989.
Alexandra Croitoru is a visual artist who lives and works in Bucharest and takes a critical stand on the current social and political context by questioning established power and gender structures. In her works, Croitoru explores the relationship between fact and fiction in the documentation of history. Her PhD research was focused on the “nationalization” of Brancusi in Romania and was the starting point for the book she published in 2015—Brancusi.
An Afterlife (IDEA Cluj & Archive Books Berlin). She is a founder of the independent art space Salonul de proiecte Bucharest, a platform for art production and research. Since 2011 she has been co-curating its public programme and editing its publications.
Vlad Basalici is a visual artist who lives and works in Bucharest and London. In his projects, he investigates how temporality is perceived. In 2012, he founded the 'Last Archive', which contains newspapers from all over the world published on December 21st 2012, the last day before the Apocalypse. His works, as a solo artist or in collaboration with others, have been presented at Salonul de Proiecte (Bucharest), MNAC (Bucharest), Plan B (Berlin), Alternative Film / Video Festival Belgrade, Alert Studio (Bucharest), Paintbrush Factory Cluj-Napoca, The Centre for Visual Introspection (Bucharest), CNDB (Bucharest), Sandwich Gallery (Bucharest), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), and Brut Wien.
Alexandra Croitoru in collaboration with Vlad Basalici
Courtesy of the artists & Galeria Plan B Cluj/Berlin