A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth) proposes another kind of relationship with history, collective memory and the exhibition space. It explores a constantly moving and transforming history that, concurrently, allows a multitude of perspectives.
This new, ongoing action takes as its starting point two lesser-known sculptures by Constantin Brancusi: Sculpture for the Blind (1920) and Wisdom of the Earth (1907). It comprises two live elements: one is invisible, taking place in a dark room; the other is
visible, presented alongside Brancusi’s sculptures in the museum’s galleries. Both elements construct an “immaterial” version of Wisdom of the Earth. The live performance endeavours to enter into dialogue with the history and legacy of these two sculptures through acts of speech and movement, strategies of enactment as well as politics of embodiment. It not only projects a less canonical narrative of art history but also questions modernist constructions and imagines a notion of history in motion, that is open to change and transformation.
Using the dramaturgy of Sculpture for the Blind, Wisdom of the Earth responds and talks back. Even if we cannot see the sculpture, we hear what it has to say and how it wants to rewrite history. A sculpture you don’t see but listen to.
Manuel Pelmuș (b. 1974, Bucharest) lives and works in Oslo and Bucharest. He is one of
the most influential artists of the so-called New Performance Turn, a movement in which artists reimagined the role of performance in the context of visual arts. In recent years, his projects have been presented at Para Site, Hong Kong (2017–2018); Tate Modern, London and Tate Liverpool (2016); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2016); OFF-Biennale Budapest (2015 and 2017); Kyiv Biennale (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014); Venice Biennale (2013), among others. In 2012, he was awarded the Berlin Art Prize for performance arts and the prize for excellence from the National Dance Centre of Bucharest in 2014.
Maria F. Scaroni
Maria F. Scaroni is a dance artist. She interprets choreographic works, creates dances and hosts dance workshops. Trained independently, she moved to Berlin in 2004, where she works as a freelance dancer. She created and performed works with Jess Curtis, Jeremy Wade, Frank Willens, Tino Sehgal and Vania Rovisco/AADK, among others. Since 2011 Maria collaborates with Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods (Until Our Hearts Stop, Sketches/Notebook, Built To Last), sharing with Meg Stuart and part of the Berlin dance community, the commitment to improvisation as a performance event (City Lights, Auf den Tisch!, Politics of Ecstasy). Her choreographic works focus on the process of collaboration, play with durational experiences and are featured by a crossbreeding between performance, choreography and installation. Maria teaches in Berlin's Universities HZT and Bard College and is involved in independent training programmes (in Berlin, P.O.R.C.H. and ROAR). Since 2017 she is resident choreographer and member of the party collective Lecken Berlin, an erogenous femme forward rave.
Cristina Toma is a freelance actress born and trained in Romania. She believes in the creative and inspiring side of the actor, in openly nurturing her vulnerability and feeding her curiosity, thoughts which drove her to explorations in several domains. Therefore, she collaborated in theatre, movie, dance, performance and translation, for more than 25 years, having projects in Romanian, English, French and Hungarian, which were produced and performed in several European cities and Canada. This is her second invitation at BOZAR, after the ongoing action inspired by Yves Klein’s work and conceived as well by Manuel Pelmuș.
List of references: Wisdom of the Earth, Mary Wigman, Hexen Tanz, Cicciolina, Maria F.
Scaroni, Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe, Ana Mendieta, Cristina Toma, Yayoi Kusama,
Olympia, Vera Mantero, Valie Export, Hannah Wilke, Meg Stuart, Nicole Eisenman,
Gina Pane, Trisha Brown, Cindy Sherman, Sanja Ivekovic.
Author: Manuel Pelmuș
With: Cristina Toma, Maria F. Scaroni
Production: WASP Studios
Co-financed by: Romanian Cultural Institute, The Administration of the National
Cultural Fund, Romania, Europalia Arts Festival
Commissioned by: EUROPALIA Arts Festival, curator Andreea Căpitănescu, for “Brancusi:
Sublimation of Form” at BOZAR Brussels
Partners: National Geology Museum - Bucharest and Craiova Art Museum