Mechtild Widrich
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Reversing monumentality
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This chapter applies the lessons about site complexity, geographical and historical layering to investigate how urban commemorative art in Bucharest recollects communist era and post-revolutionary violence, and connects University Square, a site of political ferment and struggle, to the People’s House, an enormous non-site that problematically contains both the Romanian government and the national museum of contemporary art (MNAC). Performances by Alexandra Pirici, Dan Perjovschi, and installations by Ana Lupas, Lia Perjovschi and others are considered as responses to and against the neo-Stalinist gigantism of the People’s House (drafted for dictator Nicolae Ceausescu by architect Anca Petrescu, and requiring the destruction of a vast portion of the city), and efforts to counteract or ‘exorcise’ this architecture, including the glass façade interventions designed for MNAC by Adrian Spirescu. Photography, painting, film, performance, and modernist design are considered as materials and strategies to both represent and counteract totalizing approaches to space such as that embodied in the People’s House, a critical art practice with a distinguished lineage reaching back to Lucian Pintilie’s 1968 film Reenactment. The chapter concludes by reflecting on how such practices can have a local, regional, and global impact, considering Dan Perjovschi’s wall-painted “horizontal newspaper” in the Perjovschi’s hometown of Sibiu and the way this work is visible online, during and past the pandemic.

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Monumental cares

Sites of history and contemporary art


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