The fourth edition of the most significant art fair in Bucharest focusing on the development of contemporary art just came to an end. Firmly shaped by the Romanian curator Ioana Ciocan (perhaps known in the Viennese context for her participation in Viennafair 2014 and PARALLEL 2016), Art Safari takes place annually in a different representative location of the Romanian capital city. This year it has been held between 19 May and 18 June 2017 at the Kretzulescu Galleries, an emblematic piece of architecture from the 30’s initially serving as a palace and commercial gallery assembly, then as the headquarter of the State Security Department (1948-1990) and the Romanian Intelligence Service (1990-2012).
There is Life After Mars
by Radu Pandele within the Space programme
Redesigned specially for the event, the exhibition space consists of five floors hosting a centenary show dedicated to the Romanian Modernist painter Ștefan Luchian, the central exhibition curated by Wim Waelput, various local and international gallery booths (rotating weekly), “The Space” programme dedicated to supercontemporary art, and a very consistent public program with artists’ presentations, guided tours, book launches and workshops for kids.
Like many projects dealing with Romanian art, Art Safari 2017 puts a strong focus on the difficult heritage of Communism. It is present here through the artistic positions showcased in the central exhibition as well as through different rooms located on the fifth floor, intended to preserve the memory of the victims of Communism, who were interrogated and tortured in this building.
Room intended to preserve the memory of the victims of Communism
By concentrating on well-established Romanian artists like Geta Brătescu (who is representing Romania at the 57th Venice Biennale), Mircea Cantor, Ion Grigorescu, Ciprian Mureșan, Ioana Nemeș, or Anrej Ujică, “Notes on a Landscape” by Wim Waelput is everything you can expect from a foreign curator working on a Romanian art project. The household names featured here have been previously part of shows like “1989. End of History or Beginning of the Future?” (Vienna, 2009-2010), “The promises of the past: a discontinuous history of art in former Eastern Europe” (Paris, 2010), “Appearance & Essence” within Art Encounters (Timișoara, 2015) or “Mapping Bucharest” within MAK Vienna Biennale (Vienna, 2015).
In addition to a booth presenting local artists Bianca Mann and Sándor Szász, the Moebius Gallery from Bucharest put on view the most prominent international work, the HD video installation “Allegoria Sacra” (the third part of “The Liminal Space Trilogy”) by the Russian collective AES+F.
by Bianca Mann
by Sándor Szász
powered by Moebius Gallery
Two further galleries from Bucharest with a broad public impact have been Pilat Gallery and Witte Gallery, the first showing “Liaison” - a very Pop Art-ish collaboration of Nicu Duţă aka KITRA and Titi Ciocan - and the second displaying Răzvan Năstase’s solo show.
Nevertheless, “The Space” programme brought together the most youthful and prolific local artists of the moment: Alina Marinescu, Radu Pandele, Lea Rasovszky, Ruxandra Răileanu, and Andrei Tudoran among others.
Text by Ana-Daniela Sultana
Photo Credits © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Art Safari Bucharest
Ana-Daniela Sultana is a freelance curator born in Bucharest during the last decade of Communism, currently living and working in Bucharest and Vienna. She holds a MA in ecm - educating/curating/managing from the University of Applied Arts Vienna and is the co-founder of the MODELiER venue in Bucharest and the [ˈfæbrɪk] transdisciplinary organization in Vienna. Collaborating with creative communities and cultural institutions, her aim is to promote new or lesser known artists and their endeavours.