Ciprian Muresan at Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese, Rome
The exhibition at Museo Pietro Canonica is the first ever of Ciprian Muresan in a public institution in Rome. The project is part of a series of exhibitions titled “Fortezzuola”, and sponsored by Roma Capitale – Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali.
Conceived and curated by Pier Paolo Pancotto, the project aims to stimulate reflections on the relationship between the protagonists of today’s international art scene and Italy, and offers to the public the opportunity to engage for the first time ever with works by artists that are not properly represented, if not completely absent, in the Italian contemporary art context. Nowadays, many foreign practitioners confront themselves with the Italian cultural and historical heritage, facilitating a renewal and reinterpretation of the Italian tradition, of its canons and modalities of production. Each artist is invited to realise an original intervention, designed and produced site-specifically in relation to the historical and structural characteristics of the museum’s galleries, thus following the guidelines of “Fortezzuola” project.
Ciprian Muresan, after several stays in Rome, has devised a project inspired by the historical and cultural contexts of Museo Canonica that he develops through some of the most recurring expressive processes in his creative way: plastic, graphic, performing and setting. The human figure is their common denominator. It is an ideal tribute to Pietro Canonicas’s work who has centred a lot of his production around this subject. The theme is, for the artist, a starting point for his reflexions on the idea of sculpture and on the meaning that its expressive practice has today and, in the same time, on the opinion about its cultural and social identity both in the past and in the present. For this purpose Mure?an draws on an articulate iconographic repertoire where references to the present merge with historical evocations particularly those of his country of origin, Romania, that he rises to universal prototype in order to look into myths, utopies and contradictions of modern and post-modern world. This creative practice occurs through a sequence of bronze moulds of some sculptures belonging to the Museum of Art Cluj. They are real emblems of the social realism (among these the portrait of a worker, of a peasant, of the poet Mihai Eminescu…) that, under the artist’s work, lose their plastic/volumetric consistency, dematerialize and regain their composure as prints “in negative form” defined by the same Mure?an “air sculptures, empty, with a bronze shell”. The moulds, presented in defined groups, wind through the museum’s rooms and, as a mosaic tesseras, alternate with Canonica’s works integrating morphologically and semantically with them. A similar solution is selected for the paper works. They are placed along the walls of the building where they appear like ghost apparitions, alternating dialectically with the paintings and the furnishing of the permanent collection. The human figure and her visual translation are also protagonist in the video Untitled. The film documents an action conceived by Mure?an, where the painter Adrian Ghenie, as performer, realizes in a few minutes a portrait of Nicolae Ceausescu grasping his superficial physiognomic/morphologic features emphasizing his role as “icon” belonging to collective contemporary imagination where everything is assimilated, metabolized, reinterpreted with the typical speed of the latest communicative and technological systems. The great number of Canonica’s historical portraits exhibited in the Museum echoes the video and offers an ideal setting full of visual and intellectual suggestions.
Dead Weights, 2012-2014
Ciprian Muresan selected from the basement of the Cluj Art Museum several sculptures from the realist socialist period or from later times of the communist regime, but all pieces that are not included currently in the permanent display. These sculptures were used as weights for his etchings. Every paper printed with an illustration of Ilf and Petrov‘s story “The Invisible Employee“ was placed under the weight of the sculptu- res. The choice of this story is very significant because of its plot: a small community in Soviet Russia decides to build a big statue for Timiriazev, who was thought by the town committee to be a revolutionary hero. A spectacular equestrian statue is commissioned, but shortly after the monument is completed, it is established that Timiriazev was actually a botanist and a science man. As a result the sculptor replaced the sword in his hand with a beet and his helmet with a cap from the Oxford University. Finally, the sculpture was a droll combination between the heroic posture and the civilian profession of Timiriazev. Following the same irony directed towards monumentality and art works, the artist renders visible the sculptures and hides his own works.
After the show at the Art Museum in Cluj, replicas in plaster of the original sculptures were exhibited by Plan B Gallery at Art Basel 2013 as part of the Art Feature section, together with a publication dedicated to the project. The work was exhibited again at Museum of Art in Cluj in 2014, from whose storage the original sculptures were chosen. Thus a series of situations encompassing the major entities of the contemporary art scene—the museum, the exhibition, the art-fair, and then back to the museum – were enacted, forming a circular trajectory that brings us back to the reflections of the artist. What is excluded from the discourse of a museum? What is the relationship of the original work un-assumed by the museum for permanent display and its copy counterpart integrated in another discourse and bearing another artist signature? How can we overcome the cultural hierarchies imposed by the urgencies of the present?
Like Martin Soto Climent, Alfredo Aceto and Claire Tabouret, Tillman Kaiser and Claire Fontaine also Ciprian Muresan creates a site-specific visual journey produced through quite a performative approach (working every day in the museum’s galleries, letting the suggestions stimulated by the place play freely).The outcome of this approach will be known at the end of the process, that coincides with the opening of the exhibition.
at Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese, Rome
until 30 October 2016