Text, photography, and time-based media in the artistic practice of Gabi Stamate
Gabi Stamate (b. 1958) is a very active artist in the art scene of Bucharest, who deals (recurrently, but not exclusively) with the difficult heritage of the Romanian post-communism. He mostly prefers the term “author” rather than “artist” and considers that everyone is somehow involved in a kind of creative act related to an aesthetic attitude.
Recently he had two solo shows: one at creart Gallery, a small but innovatory contemporary exhibition space within the public institution of creart – The Creation, Art and Tradition Centre of Bucharest and another at Calina Gallery in Timișoara, a gallery I mentioned before regarding the project ARTISTHETEACHER (you can read my review of it here). The first, named “Untitled”, took place between March 8 and April 8, 2018 and the latter, named “SCALAROMANA”, took place soon after, between Aprilie 18 and Mai 5, 2018. Text is present in both shows, in “Untitled” curated by Eugen Rădescu one of the pieces presents an excerpt from his book which is about to come out soon, while “SCALAROMANA” consisted of photography, video performance and a reading from the same book.
Opening of the solo show “Untitled”at creart Gallery. Photo Credit © Florin Bondrila
Hence, his artistic practice merges forms of writing with video installation and photography, of which he has an impressive collection, not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of historical value, since the artist happened to be in the middle of the events in the center of Bucharest on December 21, 1989, when the revolution started, having this way the chance to take some extraordinary pictures. Thus, rare images from this series, some of them never displayed before, were exhibited within the show “SCALAROMANA” this year, but also seven years ago, between December 21, 2011 and January 27, 2012, within another exhibition, titled “The remains of the day”, at the artist-run space ALERT studio.
Text and photo installation by Gabi Stamate. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
One of his recent installations (that he had showed at creart Gallery earlier this year) is currently on view within BUCHAREST BIENNALE, at Mobius Gallery. The biennial’s 8th edition, curated this year by Răzvan Ion and Beral Madra, is taking place until July 8th and across three venues: Atelier 030202, MORA Art Center and Mobius Gallery, in addition to a public space installation, located on the Dâmbovița river.
Exhibition view of “Untitled”at creart Gallery. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Gabi Stamate’s highly narrative works are marked by a very personal and vernacular character, as the artist seems to find himself at the junction between street photographer and visual historian, whereas history is to be understood as recent national history, as well as personal history. As for a style, he writes the way he photographs: in a kind of honest and straightforward way, revealing tender, as well as aggressive aspects of life. Most certainly an artist to keep your eye on.