Ion Grigorescu: In the Body of the Victim / W Ciele Ofiary
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, Warszawa (Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw)
From the publisher's note:
The book Ion Grigorescu: In the Body of the Victim is an attempt to read the works of one of the most charismatic and original artists from the former Eastern bloc, who until 1989 worked in relative isolation, and whose art can currently be viewed in relation to similar attitudes in other parts of the world.
Ion Grigorescu, born in 1945 in Bucharest and a painter by education, was one of the first Romanian conceptual artists and advocates of anti-art, postulating a radical consolidation of artistic activities with quotidian life. He is the author of numerous films, photographic series, and actions recorded on film, as well as drawings and collages that documented both his private life as well as the passage of the Romanian people from life under Communist regimes to the realities of expansive capitalism. From a formalist perspective, Grigorescu’s oeuvre can be seen as a classical example of Central European experimental art, which the artist deploys in his search for a place within the extremely oppressive political system. The retrospective understanding of his art, beginning in the late 1960s, reveals much more than just another “lost” chapter in the history of the Central European avant-garde. The singularity of Grigorescu’s contribution rests in his introduction of religious and spiritual motifs into Conceptual art, as well as his conviction that political crises are rooted in a crisis of the spirit.
Ion Grigorescu: In the Body of the Victim is the fruit of the exhibition prepared in 2009 by Kathrin Rhomberg and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, which followed two years of research in the artist's archives. This book is an attempt to read his oeuvre and is part of the long-term publishing policy of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, which set itself the goal of obtaining materials collected in the studios of artists from our region and the subsequent archiving, testing, dissemination, and integration of these materials into the international critical discourse.
An important part of the publication is the richly illustrated section devoted to the work of Ion Grigorescu, featuring mutually overlapping themes explored in parallel: 1. Contemporary Life Seen Through Urban Transformations; 2. Political Commentaries; 3. Family Life and Everyday Rituals; 4. Formal Experiments; 5. Dreams and Psychoanalysis.
The research on the interpretation of Ion Grigorescu's work, which began in preparation for the exhibition, has been supplemented by texts written for us by excellent critics who are in various ways related to the artist: Cosmin Costinaş, Georg Schöllhammer, Jan Verwoert, and Magda Radu, who offered new and different ways of understanding his work.