Curated by Marco Scotini
Ida Pisani’s Prometeogallery is glad to host a new project by Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan two years after his first Italian solo show. Lately Ciprian Muresan (born in 1977) has taken part in Art Statements in Basel, he is one of the founders – together with Mircea Cantor and Gabriela Vanga – of Version magazine and, since 2005, one of the editors of Idea. Arts + Society magazine. Famous for his participation in important events such as Periferic Biennal (2006), the Prague Biennale (2007) and the Athens Biennale (2007), Ciprian Muresan lives and works in Cluj (Romania).
The show Compulsory Rules develops around a series of prohibitions. “Grazing animals is forbidden” or “Settlements and temporary or permanent construction of living units are forbidden” are just of two of the ten sentences written on a visual device which welcomes visitors entering the gallery. In the background of these prohibition signs are photos and drawings of the shantytown of a Roma community, which has chosen the suburban dump in Cluj for its settlement and emergency living condition. Here the contradiction between spontaneous exploitation of the space and rules regulating access and use ironically reaches its peak. Absurdly enough, in this great heap of rubbish even what cannot have a legal status takes one.
But in this show, the difference between improvised and coded language, nature and politics, life and law also appears under other forms. For instance, the version of the Manifesto of the Communist Party in farfallino alphabet reduces revolution to a linguistic game and also to a Bildungs Roman for children. Why transforming the famous opening words ”A spectre is haunting Europe” in a mysterious “Ufunofo spefettrofo s’afaggifirafa pefer l’Efeufurofopafa”? There’s a sort of reversal of the status of this book in which, as we all know, the writers wanted to juxtapose the “fairytale” of the spectre to the “manifesto” of the party. In addition to this work, there will be the projection of a video on the famous book by Rodari, illustrated by Raul Verdini, The adventures of the Little Onion, on which many generations of children were educated. In Muresan’s video, Rodari’s book becomes the reason of further investigation on the relationship between ideology and childhood.
Childhood as a stage of being is the core of all Muresan’s work. Or rather the relationship between infancy and history – to paraphrase the title of a famous book by Agamben – is what defines, more than anything else, this work which aims to question directly socialist utopia after the fall of the Soviet regime: its failed attempts, its lost possibilities, its legacy, its memories and transformations. This is done by staging, each time, dispossessed childhood, deprived of its innocence which is forever lost.
A 9 year old girl signals repeatedly with a menacing gesture she wants to cut her throat (Untitled 2006), a series of drawings superimposes to the image of young Romanian pioneers to the one of abandoned kids in Bucharest who inhale glue blowing into a plastic bag (Pioneers 2005-2006). Moreover six children read more or less consciously Eugene Ionesco’s play on totalitarianism, Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros) while in the remake of Un chien andalou a child’s eye is torn with a razor, as the image of the moon is cut in two by a passing cloud (2004).
Ciprian Muresan stages humanity driven out of Eden, expelled from Utopia (Expulsion from Paradise 2007), fallen irremediably to the ground, like in the remake of Yves Klein’s “Saut dans le vide” (Leap in the Void – after 3 seconds 2004). Yet the insistence and indefinite prolongation of a state of immaturity, of a condition of gullibility, of childhood ipso facto, which all Muresan’s subjects share, not only tells us something about what we have definitively lost, but also about what we never possessed and that future generations will have to conquer. It’s no accident that Communism never Happened (2007) is the title of one of Ciprian Muresan most famous works.