Poetics of Politics – The Bucharest School of Photography
The Poetics of Politics, curated by the Belgian art critic/ curator Sam Steverlynck, is as an exhibition in two parts. The first part took place at Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels in June, while the second is on view at Art Encounters in Timișoara (Romania) within the framework of Timișoara 2023, European Capital of Culture.
Whereas the exhibition at Harlan Levey Projects focused on the shift from communism to a market economy – which was an important subject for a generation of artists from the beginning of the 1990s onwards – the exhibition at Art Encounters offers a reflection on the oscillation between the ruins of the past and possibilities for the present, both from a personal and a political perspective.
The exhibition gathers works of a generation of Rumanian photographers (Michele Bressan, b 1980; Alexandra Croitoru, b 1975; Dani Ghercā, b 1988; and Nicu Ilfoveanu, b 1975) who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where two of them are still teaching.
Having grown up in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1989 and experienced firsthand the sudden transition from communism to capitalism and its long-lasting effects on a social, political, economic, and urbanistic level, what unites their practice is a cautious approach towards the use of imagery for various narrative s and a meta-reflexive way of dealing with the medium photography.
Adhering to a conceptual approach instead of a documentary one, they reflect on a period of economic, social, and technological transition, examining the notion of the image in all its forms. Experimenting with different presentation modes, switching between the analogue and digital, projected image and moving image, while sometimes also incorporating found footage and text, they want to overcome the limitations of the still image, while stretching its possibilities.
Though they do not proclaim themselves as outspoken in political terms, their way of looking at society bears a political dimension expressed through a visual language that is experimental, aesthetic, and poetical.