LA CUISSE DE MARCEL
Constantin Brâncuși, Călin Dan, Anish Kapoor, Paul Neagu, Ciprian Mureșan, Romelo Pervolovici
18 November 2021 – 20 February 2022
Curator: Cătălin Davidescu; output: Mihaela Velea; camera: Dan Iordache
The project was made with the support of Fondazione Bogliasco, Centrul de Cercetare, Documentare și Promovare „Constantin Brâncuși”, Târgu Jiu and The National Geology Museum, Bucharest.
The Art Museum of Craiova
Jean Mihail Palace
Inspired by the sculpture Fragment of a Torso (The Thigh), by Constantin Brâncuși, from the patrimony of The Art Museum of Craiova, Călin Dan proposes am artistic research project that focuses, in a nutshell, on the larger subject of understanding Brâncuși’s works. His investigation materializes in complex visual formulas, structured on references of an exegetical nature, but especially an artistic one, offering thus a contemporary perspective on the way in which the viewer relates to Brâncuși’s creation.
The exhibition consists in a series of episodes, whose meaning is the reorienting of the folkloric-nationalist vision, that dominates the local space, towards a speech more adapted to the contemporary thinking. The research concentrates on Brâncuși’ s relationship with Marcel Duchamp, his friend, promoter and , not in the least, the artist that, together with Brâncuși, imposed a new key in the understanding of the artistic phenomenon of the first half of the XXth Century, that it’s still valid today. Organized on many levels, the project evolves, mainly, on a chronological axis, that starts in the room where the sculpture Fragment of a Torso, or The Thigh/La Cuisse , by Constantin Brâncuși, is exhibited. This early piece by Constantin Brâncuși, for which posed Lilly Waldenberg, was made in 1909 and was offered by the artist as a wedding gift to his friend, the lawyer Victor N. Pop, the first collector of Brâncuși’s sculptures. As an epic speech, The Thigh remains one of the most attractive pieces of the sculptor, being considered the last work made in the traditional manner and, also, a unique creation. Related to this, the video transmission, in real time, that Călin Dan is proposing, can be seen from the space that closes the exhibition course. Important segments that mark Brâncuși’s existence are very well outlined, reconstituting with oniric means, typical of Marcel Duchamp, the evolution of the most prestigious Romanian artist, whose life and work contains endless creative resources for his contemporaries.
Călin Dan proposes an itinerary that can be perceived as an initiatory one, in an atypical formula for the Romanian artists that are, generally speaking, very much attached to a single-string, solemn and folkloric pattern in their creations. The discourse conceived by the artist contains an important playful infusion, in its quest to tackle important themes in an as accessible as possible form. For this reason „The Spirits” are imagined as metallic totems, wrapped up in white cloth, just like the mummies, welcoming and guiding the visitors through out the exhibition. An interesting relation is created between Fire/Hephaestus, the god that contributed to the creation of sculpture since Antiquity, embodied through a very common, improvised hotplate and the sign of his artistic representation, a bronze bust. The artist’s discourse permanently speculates the ambiguity, that takes shape in the presence of the aquarium without water, the essential element in the appearance and perpetuation of life. Although it’s empty, this element reminds us of fish, one of the frequent theme of Brâncuși’ sculptures. Following the same idea, in supermarket’ plastic flower pots grow bronze trees, the Sarmatian Trovants are wearing new born babies’ clothing and the stones installation is an iconic and playful space. The final phase of the exhibition is the video connection with The Thigh, together with the artist’s film in which he speculates on an erotic vision of the famous Brâncuși complex in Târgu Jiu. The rest of the space is crowded, symbolically, with a lot of empty pedestals, as a sign of the fact that personalities like Brâncuși and Duchamp cannot be put on the fixed pedestals of solemn living, but, they permanently feed a cultural memory that is actively connected to the most recent artistic existence. This idea is illustrated by Călin Dan through works of the most important representatives of recent modernity like: Anish Kapoor, Paul Neagu, Ciprian Mureșan and Romelo Pervolovici, all influenced by Constantin Brâncuși.
Călin Dan is a visual artist with studies in Art History and Theory. He achieved international recognition as a member of the subReal group and author of long-term projects Arhitectura Emoțională (Emotional Architecture) (2002- present day), Anturaju’ și alte întâmplări (Entourage and other events) (2006-2010) and Autorul colectiv (The collective author) (2012-present day). After 1989 he acted as advisor to the Mondriaan Fund and Pro Helvetia, and as a leader to cultural institutions like Arta magazine, and the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art, Bucharest. Now he is the director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – MNAC Bucharest. His works were exhibited in the Venice, Sao Paolo, Istanbul and Sydney Biennials, and also in festivals such as: Ars Electronica, Linz; Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam; Media, film and video Osnabruck; Kurzfilmtages, Oberhausen; OSTranenie, Video Forum an der Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau; ZKM Karlsruhe, etc.
He received the special price of the Experimental Film Festival in Split (2000) and the Videonale Bonn (2001).
Partners: TVR Craiova, Direcția Județeană pentru Cultură Dolj, Crama Oprișor.