Romania’s Immaterial Retrospective at the Venice Biennale

By Helen Brady

Romania will be represented by a pair of performance artists in the national pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Maria Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus, along with curator Raluca Voinea, will convert the Romanian pavilion through the art of choreography and dance, interspersed with animations and imagery; with the aim of exploring history through modern art.

The pair endeavors to express their theme, an ‘Immaterial retrospective of the Venice Biennale’ through their revolutionary performance pieces at this year’s 55th event. The 2013 Biennale is taking a step towards the exhibition space as a compendium of research and history. The title of the space Il Palazzo Enciclopedico or The Encyclopedic Palace, chosen by curator Massimiliano Gioni, offers the dream of a universal and all-embracing knowledge. The curator’s objective being to ‘fashion an image of the world that will capture its infinite variety and richness… the subjective with the collective, the specific with the general, the individual with the culture of her time.’ Gioni wishes to present to us not only a list of contemporary artists and their creative impulses, but the way in which the artists’ world is represented. The motivation for the artists and curator is to demonstrate a dynamic and fresh perspective of the history of the Venice Biennale. The two performers will animate a selection of images and representative works they feel are symptomatic of modern art within the last century.

Maria Alexandra Pirici is a Bucharest based choreographer and performance artist whose work cuts across a variety of media. Pirici explores the notions of public space intervention, music and video. She has collaborated with fellow artists like Dennis Deter, Dan Perjovschi and Eduard Gabia. Her work has been presented within public spheres such as the Balkan Dance Platform, Bucharest Biennale and the National Museum of Art in Bucharest. In 2008, together with visual artist Andrei Dinu, she initiated a cultural squatting project entitled The May Salon. More recently in 2011, she made the public space intervention/sculpture project If you don’t want us, we want you. Pirici created living sculptures which confronted well known monuments and buildings within her city of Bucharest. In the distorting relationship between the human body and stone or bronze, Pirici casts doubts upon the sculptures as objects of reference and the spaces that they inhabit.

Manuel Pelmus is one of the most well ¬known representatives of Romanian dance in the international context. He studied dance at the Floria Capsali Dance School in Bucharest and at the Hamburg State Dance School before embarking upon his own work in 1998. Since he began as an artist, Pelmus has developed many projects and dance performances through his own individual merits, and which have been presented internationally in galleries, festivals and theatres. Fellow collaborators have included dancers and choreographers Isabelle Schad, Thomas Lehmen and Mart Kangro. In 2007 his solo ‘preview’, was nominated in Ballettanz International as an ‘important production of the season’ by Austrian critic, Helmut Ploebst. In 2011 Manuel founded Caminul Cultural together with Farid Fairuz and Brynjar Bandlien, a project supported by the ERSTE Foundation. Most recently in 2012, Manuel Pelmus was awarded the Berlin Art Prize for Performing arts as offered by the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
The Romanian Team Artists: Maria Alexandra Pirici, Manuel Pelmus Commissioner: Monica Morariu Deputy Commissioner: Alexandru Damian Curator: Raluca Voinea Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1st June ¬ 24th November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. 88 countries participate in this year’s Biennale ¬¬ 10 of them for the first time ¬¬ and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch the Biennale page on our site or The Culture Trip’s Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages for our daily Biennale articles and updates.


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