KILOBASE BUCHAREST A-H
Role: editor for collaborative work in form of book
Commissioned artists: Carl & Pontus Olsson, StudioBASAR, Rochite, Hans Leonard Krupp, Apparatus 22, Farid Fairuz, Stefan Constantinescu, Irina Bujor
Edited by KILOBASE BUCHAREST (Ioana Nemes and Dragos Olea)
Publisher: Mousse Publishing (Milan)
“Bucharest reminds me of big American cities during the Great Depression” is the latest comparison of Bucharest we heard a few days ago from a young curator studying art and architecture in New York and first time visitor of Romania. It is definitely more refreshing and thought-provoking than the nostalgic label of “little Paris” or the more recent – surely overrated in terms of cultural production - hype about Bucharest as the new Berlin or the new Eastern European frontier of cool.
Initiated as an artist-run nomadic gallery, KILOBASE BUCHAREST aims to vigorously explore and push the limits and extents of the art market and the artist’s influence on it both through the content of its projects, exhibitions and its modus operandi.
Our decision to start the activity of KILOBASE BUCHAREST with a publication series thought as an experimental alphabet book (or source book) on Bucharest with key words for each of the 26 letters in the English alphabet: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z works as a homage to a city that inspired the appearance of KILOBASE.
The aim for this publication - the first in a series of three - is to collect fragments of possible identities of Bucharest and to reveal a part of its intricate universe via a chaotic laboratory of thoughts, knowledge, subjective attitudes, pictures and drawings.
Eight artists and collectives are dealing with the letters from A to H of this alphabet book collapsing truly eclectic contributions that resist any attempt to give a comprehensive overview.
"Apparent" is the diary of the trip to Bucharest that Carl & Pontus Olsson undertook last year. The juxtaposition of local images and pop culture references is initially unambiguous, but the two Swedish artists succeed to create intense personal moments while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.
"Between", StudioBASAR's contribution, is building onto an emotional and intellectual turn. The first part is about the innocent and unmediated-by-architectural-
knowledge experience Alex and Cristi had of Bucharest in their childhood during their first encounters with the capital as visitors (they were living in a small city one hour away), while the second part is a selection of a few recent architectural interventions using the search-and-rescue methodology developed by them after starting to work together as studioBASAR.
"Change" is a love letter of sorts that the maverick musician behind the Rochite moniker wrote to his home&studio based in one of the equally charming and decrepit parts of Bucharest situated just besides the overwhelming Palace of People. An intimate insight both in his creative process and in his private living and working space, the contribution gives a thoughtful hint of the elusive charm of the city and the pleasures of living in Bucharest.
Fresh possibilities in the lack of identity problem that haunts Bucharest is the main feature in the "Dance" transcript of a soon-to-be-infamous interview with Hans Leonard Krupp. There is no furious contempt or mean thoughts in his answers about Bucharest, but the sheer honesty, clarity and the sometimes violent metaphors like the one of "dance of death" are making the comments acute to a degree that puts on shame many of the recent rigorous attempts to capture the essence of this city.
The "Ersatz Economics" contribution of the art collective Apparatus 22 was inspired by the bigger-than-life claim of H&M advertising campaign for opening its first stores in Bucharest: "This city is about to change". Working with metaphors and narratives gathered from non-academic sources - press cuts and popular knowledge - Apparatus 22 is building its own story on economics around the upcoming massive change in the streets and fashion scene of Bucharest.
"Faith" is a key word for the practice of Farid Fairuz; his contribution in the book aims at simply introducing the story of the erratic character that took by storm the Romanian cultural scene with his manifesto and subsequent critical performances that sharply mirrors failures of the local society; the QR codes are unveiling two of the most recent performances of Fairuz: on capitalism, sexuality, cultural production and religion.
"Gold", the intervention of Stefan Constantinescu is a step back in time as the selected drawings from his "An infinite blue" extensive series of drawing and painting are a faithful depiction of Bucharest in the 60s: folkloric celebrations, leisure activities in parks or state owned restaurants and hotels, the hard work in state of the art factories etc. The socialist Bucharest of the 60s is researched by Stefan Constantinescu via propaganda pictures.
The last intervention, "Hyperreality" by Irina Bujor, is a combo of cynicism, metalanguage and hope. The real reality is in hyperreality, therefore Bujor imagines material trademarks inspired by Bucharest's former how to build a society for all ethos the artists involved, a book in a book.
KILOBASE BUCHAREST A-H publication is a special project realized on the occasion of the exhibition “Image to be projected until it vanishes” at Museion - Museum of modern and contemporary art Bozen/Bolzano (Italy).