Lombard-Freid Projects is pleased to present Appointment with History, the premier solo show in the United States of Romanian artists Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor. This show is of particular relevance in view of the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the Central and Eastern European Revolutions of 1989, which culminated in the overthrow of Soviet-style communist states, not least of which was Romania.
Widely shown in Europe, Vatamanu and Tudor’s artistic practice involves bringing history into the present tense, whether in the form of performative reenactment or symbolic recuperation. A deep interest in architecture as a repository of both personal and collective memory and as a mark of communist power underlies many of their projects.
The central component of the show at Lombard-Freid Projects is an installation and accompanying series of paintings entitled Appointment with History/ Communist Manifesto (2007-2008), recently commissioned for the 5th Berlin Biennial. A lectern equipped with a microphone sits before rows of chairs while the Communist Manifesto (1848) is heard in German over a loudspeaker. The audience is invited to contribute by speaking into the microphone, such that their words become entangled with those of the Manifesto. Small paintings depicting demonstrations worldwide, explore connections between different ideologies and historical moments, creating new symbols of disappeared utopias while exposing the scars of communist Romania in the process. Although conceptually rooted in Romanian history, the series was inspired by an anti-capitalist demonstration the artists observed in Basel.
The second gallery will screen The Trial filmed in Bucharest in 2004-2005. The camera traces facades of communist block housing, depressingly unchanged over the past fifteen years, as the transcript from the trial of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, is read without pause or emotion. The intensity of the film is created by the tension between the dizzying and unceasing movement of the camera and the continuous and expressionless reading of the trial script, recording a very dark episode of modern history.
Mona Vatamanu was born 1968 in Constanta, Romania and Florin Tudor in 1974, in Geneva, Switzerland. They live and work in Romania. Recent exhibitions include the 5th Berlin Biennial and 52nd Venice Biennale. Upcoming exhibitions will include Gyumri Biennial, Armenia; Periferic Biennial, Romania and solo shows at the Secession, Graphisches Kabinett in Vienna; BAK basis voor actuele kunst, Netherlands.