Today, starting 19:11 is the vernissage of the theater photography exhibition „Touching”, with pictures created by Florin Ghioca, the official photographer of Bucharest’s „I.L.Caragiale” National Theater. Taking in account the fact that we are living during the covid-19 pandemic and the traveling and movement public restrictions that are imposed by the authorities, the event will take place in a virtual 3D art gallery in Berlin. The event can be watched in front of the computer or tablet or on the phone. The exhibition can be seen until May 23 and the entrance is free.
BR talked with Florin Ghioca and found out more about the exhibition and the idea behind the event.
By Romanita Oprea
How did the idea come up?
The idea came to me after I started the „vestibune.com” project. Vestibune.com is the first portal of good news in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 19, I have been gathering there all the “silver-linings” about the novel coronavirus: all the positive ways in which the world reacted to it, how companies and NGOs got involved in the fight against and limitation of the virus. I wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces during these quite stressing and depressing times. And that got me thinking further: what can be better than a hug or a caress? Even if they are virtual. I think the photos of this exhibit hosted in this “Berliner” gallery, the great actors depicted in them, will touch people. I believe it will do them good. In some sense, this exhibition is meant to be therapeutic, cathartic.
Please tell us more about the curating process
I created a virtual gallery through Kunstmatrix, an online platform that helps artists create and present their art in the cloud. I selected around 40 images and displayed them on the walls of my two virtual exhibition rooms. I managed to put together a collection of photos from over 20 performances of the National Theatre in Bucharest, but not only. It took me two days to mount the works. I had to write explanations for each, so that when those staying at home visit this 3D virtual exhibit, they know exactly who they are meeting. Some of the big names featured are: Victor Rebengiuc, Mariana Mihuț, Ion Caramitru, Marius Manole, Mihai Călin, Maia Morgenstern, Oana Pellea, Mircea Rusu, Răzvan Vasilescu, Tania Popa, Virginia Mirea, Istvan Teglas … and many more!
Whom do you target?
Anyone who misses a hug, a caress or even a friendly handshake. Because TOUCHing aims to touch people and bring them joy. On May 6, at 19:11, the day and time of the opening, I invite people from all over the world to take joy in an art gallery, see beautiful photos from incredibly good shows from great directors.
Why did you choose this time?
To me, the idea of a standard timing seems outdated. So instead of going for 19:00 or 19:30, I chose 19:11 because 11 is my lucky number. At 11 minutes past 7 in the evening I will go live on my Facebook page and I will officially invite the world to the gallery, explaining how they can do this, whether they are using a PC, a notebook or a mobile device. All they will need is an internet connection. I would like to add that the exhibition will remain open until May 23.
How much has the pandemic impacted you and how did you adapt?
I must admit that the pandemic ruined several of my plans and project. I had to postpone everything for a year, including participating in some international theater festivals, some exhibitions in country and abroad, my first book, a photo album.
So, I had to adapt: I started the vestibune.com website, where I upload beautiful stories and positive news every day, and on May 6 I will open the first virtual theater photography exhibition in Romania.
Personal projects aside, I’m slowly resuming my work at the theatre – even though we in the PR department of TNB have been keeping busy all this time. I’m looking forward to going back to taking photographs and doing press work.
How did you choose the title and what does it mean to you?
It was quite simple. Now more than ever we miss being close to our friends, relatives, loved ones. Sure, we can see each other virtually, but we all know it’s not nearly the same thing. So, I thought about that one thing that we yearn for: the touch – hugs, caresses, a kiss. I miss hugging my parents. And that is what TOUCHing aims to do: reach out to the viewer on an emotional level, through these visual images of great actors engaged in close physical contact.
Florin Ghioca is a journalist, and since 2014 staff photographer of the National Theater in Bucharest. In recent years, some of the biggest Romanian actors have passed in front of his camera. Now he is preparing a unique event: the first virtual theater photography exhibition in Romania. The exhibit will open on May 6 with a welcome speech broadcasted live on the photographer’s Facebook page, when he will also reveal where the public can go to see the photos.