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 action takes as its starting point two lesser-known sculptures by Constantin Brancusi: Sculpture for the Blind (1920) and Wisdom of the Earth (1907). An invisible action takes place in a darkroom and constructs an “immaterial” version of Wisdom of the Earth.
The 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.
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. Using the dramaturgy of Sculpture for
the Blind, the choreography presents a sculpture you do not see but listen to.
Manuel Pelmus (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.
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
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 Capitanescu, for Brancusi.
Sublimation of Form at BOZAR Brussels
Partners: National Geology Museum - Bucharest and Craiova Art Museum