ART ENCOUNTERS | Appearance & Essence | 3-31 OCTOBER 2015 TIMISOARA | ARAD
Călin Dan opens his first solo exhibition in Arad, the city where he was born and raised, taking this opportunity to look back on two major themes of his practice: architecture and memory. Started in 2002, Călin Dan’s project Emotional Architecture has been following ever since the unstable relation between urban space and urbanites, through a series of videos, performances, installations, and books that tried to capture and define the phenomenological tensions at work between those two entities.
|The Night Falls Without a Warning
Curator: Hilde de Bruijn
Arad Art Museum
1-25 October, 11:00-19:00 (closed on Mondays)
The artist approaches his older works with a deconstructive drive, recombining video, sculpture and objects in order to build environments meant to reconfigure the dominant discourse he invented some twelve years ago, and to stimulate new interpretations from his audience. The three rooms of the Arad Municipal Art Museum that host the show are configured as a road map, as a meta-text, and also as a playground for the imagination. Each object delivers its own narrative line, while being part of a larger syntax.
The older video pieces sony/wmf/pp, Sample City (both from 2003, both from the series Emotional Architecture), and Pas de deux (2005, a lyrical piece about the relation between two male dancers – on and off stage) are mingled with soiled soft toys collected from the garbage. Still life, 20th c. and Still life. Poire gelée (both from 2013), are two videos which look – with narrative and symbolic means – at the history of Călin Dan’s family, paying tribute to his maternal grandmother (a victim of 20 century political turmoils), and to her daughter, the artist’s mother. The videos are installed around a “cold sculpture” (new concept launched on the occasion of this show), composing together a monument of bronze and moving images to the feminine dimension of the author’s personal history.
In the main exhibition space, Călin Dan continues the work on the project that gives the title of the show. The Night Falls Without a Warning has started as an intimate meditation about the artist’s father, installed in the alternative spaces of the gallery Anca Poterașu (April 2015, Bucharest), and gets to another level in Arad, where the museum is submitted to a radical intervention. Old furniture, a stove, improvised wood fences, wire nets and iron bars are composing a derelict environment for three new videos about old age.
The videos Walk, Hang and Smoke are taking further the theme of the father, with the support of artist, performer and writer Ion Grigorescu, with whom Călin Dan shares a long history of participation to the same cultural and political context. “As a teenager, I discovered in the magazine Secolul 20 a series of messy photographs picturing the most trivial subject – a family party in what could be recognized as a middle class environment. The author was signing them in a strange way – with the name in front of the surname, like in the police records – Grigorescu Ion. My understanding of such images was limited at the time, but they stuck with me for some reason that I never questioned. Later on, I met the author and got fascinated with his anti-rhetorical manner of being cynical, in speech – a quality that I started then to identify in his work. The difference of generation between us is subtle, so when I look at Ion Grigorescu’s work now I get through at least two phases: the images from the 70’s carry for me the nostalgia of a world where I would have liked to be mature. The films, videos and photographs from the years 2000 and later make me intensely emotional because I project on them not only the demise of my father, but also my own. I am deeply grateful to Ion for allowing me to go through those rituals together with him, and bridging that way between me and myself.” (Călin Dan)