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Irina Botea Bucan, It is now a matter of learning hope (2014), courtesy of the artist

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

11.10.2022–08.01.2023

Redrawing the Lines

With:

Matei Bejenaru, Irina Botea Bucan, Dani Ghercă

Opening: 09.10.2022, 14:00

Since colonial times and into the present, Europeans have long considered their land as the “Old Continent”: cradle of the most ancient and significant civilizations, destined to conquer and rule over others. This sense of permanence contrasts with Europe’s history, which is marked by territorial fragility as well as the constant shifting of its borders and its very concept. War, power struggles, and politics have drawn and redrawn the continent’s lines countless times before forming the European Community as we know it today. Romania joined the European Union fifteen years ago in the context of its geopolitical expansion, and as one of the last member states to have entered the union after a lengthy process whose beginnings date back to 1993. Romania also forms part of the eastern border of the EU, neighboring Moldova and Ukraine. The country’s presumed peripheral position is also a strategic one: geographically, in terms of market potential, and with its rich natural resources including petroleum, gold, silver, uranium, and hydroelectric capacities. Romania’s EU membership has had a lasting impact on its transition to a capitalist economy after 42 years of communism, as well as on the collective body of the European Union.

“Redrawing the Lines” presents works by artists Matei Bejenaru, Irina Botea Bucan, and Dani Ghercă that reflect on their country’s post-communist transition, with a focus on the political and socio-economic changes brought about by Romania’s accession to the EU. While the artists respond to the specificities of Romania becoming a capitalist global democracy through humourous and critical approaches, the exhibition invites the audience to consider these works for their universality and to revisit them in the context of pivotal current events: the war in Ukraine, the rise of nationalist movements and of far-right ideologies around the globe, the cost of living and energy crises, among others. Matei Bejenaru’s installation works put into question the constructions of language and capitalist production, while Dani Ghercă sheds light on living conditions and social infrastructures through his photographs. Irina Botea Bucan’s video works critically examine identity politics and propose gestures of resistance and hope. This exhibition asks: which lines are we committed to preserving, and what future lines do we wish to draw?

“Redrawing the Lines” is curated by Daniella Géo and organized in collaboration with SwitchLab, Bucharest. Cultural project co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund of Romania. The project does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or the way the project results can be used. This is entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Enlarged Clothing, 2004-2005, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Enlarged Clothing, 2004-2005, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Irina Botea Bucan, Before a National Anthem, 2009, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Irina Botea Bucan, Before a National Anthem, 2009, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Impreuna / Together, 2007, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Speaking 6, 2004/2022, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Enlarged Clothing, 2004-2005, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Enlarged Clothing, 2004-2005, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Matei Bejenaru, Speaking 6, 2004/2022, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Dani Ghercă, Tunnels and Pipes (Triptych 1), 2013, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

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Exhibition view, Redrawing the Lines, © IKOB - Museum of Contemporary Art, Photo: Lola Pertsowsky

DANI GHERCĂ (born 1988, Bucharest, ROU) lives and works in Brussels. His large-scale photographs reflect on the current transition to a new phase of human consciousness that we don’t yet fully understand.
Prior to his current practice (between 2010 and 2019) he worked on different projects that document the social and economic shifts that occurred as a result of the Romanian revolution and the country's EU membership. Some of the main subjects of his earlier works include marginalized groups living in a maze of underground tunnels in Bucharest (“Tunnels and Pipes” 2011–2015) or the decay of communist working-class neighborhoods in Romania (“A Diagram of Utopia” 2014–2017). Ghercă studied photography at the National University of Arts Bucharest. His works have been exhibited at institutions such as Museo ICO, Madrid; Tate Exchange, Liverpool; Essl Museum, Vienna; and MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art), Bucharest.

IRINA BOTEA BUCAN (born 1970, Ploiesti, ROU) has developed a symbiotic artist-educator-researcher methodological framework that consistently questions dominant socio-political ideas and centralizes human and non-human agency as a vehicle for meaning. Performance, reenactment, simulated auditions, elements of direct cinema and cinéma vérité are combined in her artistic approach. The works are developed through a process of collaboration in which the performers are participants in the process, while her filmmaker role is shifting from an observational to a reflective, participatory and performative mode. Currently she is faculty at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (since 2006) and pursuing a Ph.D. at Goldsmiths University in London. Her works have been exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale,; International Film Festival Rotterdam; The New Museum, New York City; MUSAC (Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilia and León); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthalle Winterthur; Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid; Gwangju Biennale 2010; U -Turn Quadriennial, Copenhagen; 51st Venice Biennale; Prague Bienale; Kunstforum, Vienna; Foksal Gallery, Warsaw; Argos Center for Art and Media, Brussels; MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art), Bucharest; Museum of Contemporary Art, Szczecin, Poland.

MATEI BEJENARU (born 1963, Suceava, ROU) is a visual artist working on photography, film and performance, who lives and works in Iași, Romania. His projects analyze how technological knowledge, economic production, mentalities, and lifestyles have changed in the post-communist countries during the last three decades. His works have been presented at Tate Modern London; Taipei Biennial; Drawing Room, London; Western Front, Vancouver; and MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art), Bucharest, amongst others. Since 2011, he is developing Prut and Between two Worlds, long-term photographic projects documenting the rural life and the status of scientific knowledge and research in post-communist Romania. Bejenaru was a visiting professor at University of Quebec in Montreal (2011–2012). From 2012 to 2013, he was an associate artist at Kettle’s Yard Art Center in Cambridge, UK. He was the director of the Periferic Biennial for Contemporary Arts (1997–2008) and, since 2015, is the artistic director of the Center for Contemporary Photography in Iași, Romania.