Through personal narratives and biographical material, the multi-site and multi-media contemporary art exhibition explores the impact on the destinies of future generations of survivors of the events of June 27-June 30, 1941 in Iași, when about 13,000 Jews were killed by the Romanian authorities at the behest of Marshal Ion Antonescu, Romania's leader, in the largest pogrom in Europe.
Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of this dark moment in Romanian history, one that has been largely ignored by Romanian society and manipulated politically, the project in Iași considers the impact of war, violence and persecution on the destinies of victims and their descendants, the past generation's interrupted biographies that parallel those of today, albeit in other, less prominent, geographical areas like the Middle East.
Focusing on individual stories rather than grand narratives, "Fragments of a Life" addresses factual events from the perspective of those who experienced them or their descendants, while revealing the malleability of memory, affected by the subject's time-perspective.
More info on the 1+1 website.
June 27, 6 pm – Opening Reception of “Fragments of a Life” Exhibition at tranzit.ro/ Iași, Al. Lăpușneanu St. 7-9; the show lasts until 30 August, with art projects by Olga Stefan/Miklos Klaus Rozsa, Daniel Spoerri, Elianna Renner, and Samy Briss.
The historical exhibition of cultural material (texts and videos) by emigres from Iași will be on view until August 30 in parallel to the contemporary art exhibition.
June 28, 2 pm - Screening "Oare Cât Traiesc Cocorii?", film by Dan Paul Ionescu, at tranzit.ro/ Iași, Al. Lăpușneanu St. 7-9
June 28, 6 pm - Screening "Souvenirs de Iași" (International Premiere), film by Romulus Balazs, followed by discussion between Romulus Balazs and Olga Stefan, at tranzit.ro/ Iași
June 29, 11 am – 5 pm - Four performances for one person each through public urban space by Myriam Lefkowitz, enrolment required at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 15, 2016
June 29, 5:30 pm - "Life interrupted. Documenting the biographies of the Iași pogrom victims", presentation by Adrian Cioflâncă, director of The Center for the Study of Jewish History in Romania, at tranzit.ro/ Iași, Al. Lăpușneanu St. 7-9
June 30, 6 pm - performance "In Between", by David Schwartz/ Katia Pascariu/ Ioana Florea/ Alice Marinescu, followed by discussion with the public, Theatre Fix, Cuza Vodă St., no. 10
June 30, 8:30 pm - Screening "Charging the Rhino" (Premiere in Iași), a film by Simcha Jacobovici, Theatre Fix, Cuza Vodă St., no. 10
Miklos Klaus Rozsa (HU/CH) - Photographer and political activist (b. 1954, Hungary), Miklos Rozsa is also a journalist who emigrated to Switzerland with his family after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. Deeply involved in the left-wing politics of the 1980s student movements and motivated by autonomous reporting, Rozsa assembled an extensive picture library which was used for all kinds of publications in the scene, for leaflets, and press materials. Besides the inherent documentary value of the images, Rózsa considered his photography to be a political act. Rózsa “shot back” with his camera, trying to uncover informants and to capture police brutality. The files reveal the sensitive ways in which the police reacted to Rózsa’s counter-spying. Rózsa also formulated his view of the events in a personal essay specifically written for this publication.
Olga Ștefan (RO/USA/CH) - Independent curator, writer, and lecturer born in Bucharest, raised in Chicago and since 2009, based in Zurich. She has curated numerous exhibitions including solo shows with Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Stefan Constantinescu (which traveled in Europe and the US) and Keren Cytter. Her recent group shows include Laughter and Forgetting, a multi-site exhibition for Bucharest Art Week, Showtime: The Cinema in the Gallery, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Hospitality as Artistic Practice, the traveling Few Were Happy with their Condition: Video, Film, and Photography in Romania, Blurred Lines and Fire it Up: Ceramic as Material in Contemporary Sculpture. She contributes regularly to ArtReview, Frieze Magazine, Art in America, Flash Art, Sculpture Magazine, Artslant, and Artmargins. She served as the Executive Director of Chicago’s Around the Coyote Arts Festival from 1998-2003, Executive Director of the Chicago Artists’ Coalition from 2005-2009, and as fundraiser and grant writer for Woman Made Gallery from 2003-2005.
Elianna Renner is a Swiss conceptual artist based in Germany who works at the intersections of biography, fiction and history. Her multimedia approach circles around performance and audio-visual installation, which are sometimes combined with film and photography. The core theme of her work revolves around memory, the archive and the recovery of histories.
Daniel Spoerri is a Swiss sculptor, performance artist and writer born in Galati, Romania in 1930. In 1942 he fled with his remaining family to Switzerland after his Jewish father that converted to Christianity was killed in the 1941 Iași pogrom. Experiences in the theatre provided the background to the art that he began to produce after settling in Paris in 1959. In 1960 Spoerri became a founder-member of Nouveau réalisme. In the same year he produced the first of his tableaux pièges (trap pictures) in which randomly ordered objects were glued on to the furniture and other supports on which they rested exactly as they were found. Displaying the resulting sculpture not on the floor but on the wall, so that the objects appeared to defy gravity, Spoerri turned his realist still-lives into pictures.
Although Spoerri continued to elaborate his methods of assemblage he also remained committed to live events such as the Autothéâtre on which he collaborated with Tinguely from 1953. By 1963 he was involved with the Fluxus movement.
Spoerri's Musée sentimental (Paris, Pompidou, 1979), followed by similar displays in Germany (Cologne, Kstver., 1979) and Switzerland (Basle, Gewmus, 1989), enabled him to create an approximation to a museum of culture. In each case he used historical documents as a way of concentrating attention on various questions. Of what does the culture of a city consist? How can its breadth of reference – to art, religion, science, economics, legal institutions and sport – be represented? The cultural museum is interpreted as a living museum in which objects tell stories. Spoerri himself continued to be involved in numerous activities.
Myriam Lefkowitz is a performer, born in 1980 and based in Paris. She is the director of the Cie Débribes, founded in 2004. She's mainly directing choreographic projects questioning the relation between motion and gaze. Since 2009, her work has been focusing on the project Walk, hands, eyes (a city), a perceptive experience working on the relation between walking, seeing and touching in the urban environment. The project will be presented at the 55th Venice Biennale and was presented by Kunsteverein NY, by LWS gallery Paris, by the French cultural Institute Stuttgart, by the Dance Festival of Buneos Aires, by the Usine in Geneva. In 2011, she takes part in the master of experimentation in Art and Politics (SPEAP, Sciences Po Paris) founded by Valérie Pihet and Bruno Latour. Through this program she's been adapting her choreographic tools to the issue of urban renovation in the Parisian suburbs (Epinay sur Seine, Mains d'Oeuvres associated artist).
Samy Briss - The childhood memories of Briss, (b. 1930, Iași), connect two contrasting worlds. Life in the large Jewish community of Iași instilled Jewish culture deep into his being. Concurrently, Briss was exposed to the Christian world, rich with traditional Romanian art and the famous icons of Jassy, the former capital of Moldavia, recognized also as the cultural capital of Romania. Sami Briss paints a narrative of nostalgia. His work portrays childhood memories, in an atmosphere of harmony and joie de vivre. The dream-like ambience of his paintings conceals a personal history of struggle with persecution and pogroms. Briss immigrated to Israel in 1959 at the age of 29. After the death of his first wife in 1974 he moved to Paris, where he has lived ever since – still maintaining his strong connections to Israel while exhibiting frequently throughout Europe. In the weave of times, these childhood memories acquire a mythical and universal status.
David Schwartz/ Katia Pascariu/ Ioana Florea/ Alice Marinescu (RO) – In Between is a play composed of personal testimonies describing life after the pogrom for the survivors and future generations, linking this event to contemporary stories of migration and marginalization.
David Schwartz is a theatre director and community artist based in Bucharest. He is interested in personal history theatre, documentary film and theatre, as well as art that fosters social emancipation. He directed the performances Powder Keg (text by Dejan Dukovski, 2007), Get Out! (text by Mihaela Michailov, 2007), Romania! Kiss me (text by Bogdan Georgescu, 2009), Make Room! (text by Mihaela Michailov, 2009), Heated Minds (text by Mihaela Michailov, 2010), I Declare at My Own Risk (text by Alina Șerban, 2011) and Under Ground (text by Mihaela Michailov, 2012).
Katia Pascariu is an actress, artistic trainer, member of Community Art Center Vârsta4 and of Center for Educational Theater Replika. Her activity is dedicated to the educational theater and is heading towards working with children and youngsters, as well as political theater by working in many multidisciplinary teams involved in questioning the recent history.
Ioana Florea is social researcher. She is working in educational projects that focus on solidarity and social justice in the frame of Quantic, while also co-coordinating the magazines: G.A.P. - Gazeta de Artă Politică and IDEE – Ideas Debate Exchange Education.
Alice Marinescu is an actress and dramaturgist. She co-initiated the Community Art Center Vârsta4. She is working in projects that explore the documentary theater while being interested in researching the field of migration, recent history and personal histories.
Souvenirs de Iași - Romulus Balazs, 2016 (Premiere in Romania), (RO/FR)
Oare cât traiesc cocorii? / I Wonder How Long Cranes Live - Dan Paul Ionescu (RO), 2011
Charging the Rhino - Simcha Jacobovici, 2007 (Premiere in Iași), (CA/IL)
The exhibition "Fragments of a life", curated by Olga Stefan, June 27- August 30, 2016, Iași, Romania, is organized by 1+1 association, co-organized by tranzit.ro/ Iași, co-funded by Administration of the National Cultural Fund, with additional support from Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Sponsors' Fund, and the German embassy. Partners are: Theatre Fix, and the Centre for Research of Jewish History in Romania.
Cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. This project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how project results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.