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. In 2013, Croitoru commissioned the cane from sculptor Napoleon Tiron. Through a symbol of the artist regarded as “the pinnacle of
Romanian sculpture,” the sculptural tradition is thereby recycled in the object Vlad Basalici uses as part of his performance and that is ultimately employed to question the entire edifice, in which national and artistic values interpenetrate and give birth to the Brancusi obsession in Romania.
At first sight, both the title and the object evoke the visual grammar specific to the minimal sculpture, albeit resized to handcrafted and utilitarian dimensions. On closer inspection, however, its appearance recommends it as an absurd reciprocal ready-made, a monumental sculpture transformed through resizing into a useful item. But its process of production equally presents it as an assisted ready-made, a utilitarian object elevated to the rank of artwork through the manual intervention specific to high art, sculpture, to be precise.
Thus, this object/fetish synthesizes a number of contradictions that can be encountered in the posthumous destiny of Brancusi’s work. It combines pop art with folk craft and elitist art, and it invokes the ethno-nationalism that was present in Romanian urban architecture of the 1980’s.
At the same time, the walking stick evokes the arsenal of kitsch trinkets associated with the name of Brancusi as a commercial brand, which are on sale at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Memorial House in the village of Hobița. The association of artwork and merchandise via the artist’s name as cultural brand, as well as the association between artistic and country branding, is not accidental in this context. Both the culture industry and the nationalist discourse in Romania have made use of Brancusi on repeated occasions, recycling his works as images devoid of intrinsic meaning, in the manner of floating signifiers.
Alexandra Croitoru (b. 1975 in Bucharest, lives and works in Bucharest) takes a critical stand in regard to 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 documenting history, of which art makes no exception.
Vlad Basalici is a visual artist who lives and works in Bucharest and London. In his projects, he investigates how we perceive temporality. He began to date every work of his to 2012. In the same year, Vlad Basalici founded Last Archive that 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, 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), tranzit.ro/Bucharest and tranzit/Bratislava, Sandwich Gallery (Bucharest), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), and brut Wien.
Alexandra Croitoru in collaboration with Vlad Basalici
Courtesy of the artists & Galeria Plan B Cluj/Berlin