At the Hangar18 Art Center (Place du Châtelain 1050), in Brussels, Romanian artists have taken over the gallery for three months, celebrating through art the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union. Until May 4, 2019, Florica Prevenda, together with Mircea Cantor and Daniel Djamo, will each have an individual exhibition. For this event, Business Review sat down with Florica Prevenda to find out more about this exhibition.
By Oana Vasiliu
You are back in Brussels, this time celebrating through your art the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union. In artistic terms, what does the EU mean for you? What about Romania?
Europe is a symbol of culture and civilisation. Romania is an integral part of this space and I am glad to be part of the European family. Europe is unity in diversity, unity through what constitutes the EU concept and diversity through the cultural contribution of each country, in this is its spiritual richness.
We live an era of globalisation, cultural borders no longer exist, artists are citizens of the world. We cannot say anymore that a creator can function in terms of “European” or “Romanian” from the artistic or cultural point of view. I strongly believe that we function in the context of the revolution of new technologies.
Each of us is part of the geographic space that marks our life, defines this space inside us, but the rest is subject to the present of the disappearance frontiers.
I first approached my gallerist in Brussels for a large exhibition at Hangar18 gallery. Meanwhile, I received the suggestion to host my exhibition under the umbrella of the EU Romanian Presidency. Together with the gallery, we came to the conclusion that in this new context I could invite two young artists to be part of the exhibition. After several project proposals were analysed, we decided to involve Romanian artists Mircea Cantor and Daniel Djamo, each with an individual exhibition. We considered that we can represent the Romanian art landscape at the highest level, in a top professional space in Brussels – Hangar18 Art Center.
At Hangar18, I show works from the Facebook Obsession and Anonymous series.
In Facebook Obsession, the face of the individual, signifying his identity or personality, is sometimes deconstructed by the network and in Anonymous, people immerse their faces into virtual reality: their phone.
This exhibition was a project I have designed and set-up, with a deep personal contribution and dedicated to the Romanian EU Presidency.
Given that you live and work in Bucharest, but sell your art worldwide, do you think that your geographical and cultural surroundings impact your artistic process?
As I have said many times, I cannot create abroad. In Romania, I find the emotional resources that trigger that “thing”, the act of creation. Here is the place where I live, I have a disturbing nostalgia, here I have my family and what I miss very much when I’m abroad is the language. If I am away for more than a month, and if I cannot speak in French or in English, I unconsciously start to speak in Romanian.
And then, if we want to live in a civilised manner in this country, all depends on each of us: we have to live here, to fight for building the world we want, and we have to be many here to succeed.
Also read: Drawing an international career in art
You are exhibiting Facebook Obsession and Anonymous in Hangar Art Gallery. Both are related to the present being and our commitment via phone to a virtual life. In your opinion, why are those a challenge in the context of technologically-mediated communication?
Our commitment to the virtual life is a challenge because it is the first time in the history of mankind when people communicate very much, without knowing, touching or actually seeing each other, anonymously, generating their own loneliness in a large abstract community.
What’s Facebook for you? What about your phone?
Facebook is the illusion that we are actually seen and our message is received. At the same time, Facebook is a necessity generated by the current lifestyle.
The phone – we cannot conceive the contemporary existence without such an instrument. The problem is that we use it too much to validate ourselves, to say trivialities or to check-in someplace every five minutes. The obsession of this instrument makes us incapable of accepting anything else that is in the spatial reality around us.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
Art involves a creative process with feelings, experiences, past, present, all in a synthesis entitled the artistic object, a generator of emotions and questions at the same time.
I hope the visitors will ask themselves how can art be a source of questions, experiences, in relationship to the virtual/parallel reality generated by new technologies.
Are the two art collections presented in Brussels viewed as autobiographical? Do you feel that it’s important to convey your own beliefs and opinions within your art?
I think that over time, a cliché was created to consider my creation “autobiographical”. I think the creator’s role is to synthesise the different aspects of the world in which he lives and to seek sources generating balance. Only this process has made humanity evolve in all its aspects and towards spiritual fulfilment.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
I think of a new beginning which will embrace a lot from my life experience assimilated through a lifetime spent seeking knowledge, continuous research, living, working, trying to achieve fulfilment. It will be different from what we have done so far.
ABOUT THE ARTIST AND THE EXHIBITION
Born in 1959 in Calarasi (Romania). Lives and works in Bucharest (Romania).
She graduated in 1984 from the George Enescu University of Art in Iasi, going on to teach to National University of Art Bucharest from 1993 to 1997. Her most important series are Shadow of the Present, Net People, Faces without a Face, Time Regained, Serenity, Facebook Obsession, Ephemeral/Condensation, Anonymous.
Florica Prevenda is one of the most innovative artists in the field of contemporary Romanian art. Her artistic and intellectual quests strive to interpret and critique the world of images. The result is a series of experimental and mixed projects. Every stage of her life has had an obsessive, introspective influence on her artistic creativity, as if that were the extension of her soul.
At Hangar18, she is showing works from her series Facebook Obsession, where the face of the individual, signifying his identity or personality, is sometimes deconstructed by the network, and Anonymous or how people immerse their faces into a virtual reality: their phone.
Hangar18 Art center, Brussels
February 8 – May 4, 2019
Place du Châtelain 1050 Brussels.
Tuesday – Saturday: 12 am – 6 pm.
Tel. + 32 (0)2 538 00 85