“In Europe, happiness stops at Vienna,” said Romanian- born philosopher Emil Cioran. Cioran often wrote about living outside of his native country. Having exiled himself in Paris in the late thirties, he remarked that people in the West seem to have everything they need and more. Larisa Sitar revisits this sense of social and cultural division in the exhibition she developed during her six-month residency at WIELS, Brussels.
Countering fatalism with farce, it features a large wall of modular ornaments, resembling a plaster bas-relief, that the public can rearrange to the point where their models and origins become unrecognizable. This absurd and ahistorical combination of styles have real-world references: from Ceausescu’s Palace of the People to the humbler Romanian homes marked by a curious collage of architectural decorations.
Growing up herself in such a house, the artist sees the architectural ornament as an accumulation or concentration of human activity. Today, whether in Bucharest or Brussels, these polystyrene ornaments can be easily store-bought in your local DIY and freely used to create your own version of a baroque palace.
Larisa Sitar (° 1984) lives and works in Bucharest. She graduated from the Department of Photography and Moving Image at The National University of Arts in Bucharest. Using a wide range of media, from photo- graphy and video to installation, she investigates issues of cultural heritage, local values, and national identity.
Curator: Caroline Dumalin