română/ bucurești/ cluj/ iași/ sibiu/ Iaşi: MATEI BEJENARU: From A to B Retrospective Exhibition 1993 - 2013 (2nd part)

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PROJECTS 1993 - 2000
Opening: Friday, 15th of November, 2013, 6 p.m., at Iași,
IAȘITEX Iași building, Primăverii Boulevard, No.2, 7th floor
The exhibition will be opened between the 16th and the 27th of November 2013, from Monday to Friday, between 4 -7 pm

Friday, 22nd of November, 2013, 6 p.m., at Iași,
IAȘITEX Iași building, Primăverii Boulevard, No.2, 7th floor

Friday, 29th of November, 2013, 6 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, 30th of November, 2013, 12 a.m. - 5 p.m.
IAȘITEX Iași building, Primăverii Boulevard, No.2, 7th floor

The retrospective process, Matei Bejenaru: From A to B, initiated by Iaşi and lunched with a new work this spring, presents a selection of works by the artist from Iasi that are spanning over twenty years of activity, focusing on the period from 1993 to 2000. During the exhibition, there will be one screening of films from the period 2007 - 2010, ending on 29th and 30th of November with the premiere in Iaşi of the video installation: "Songs for a better future" (2010-2011).

Thus, in the frame of this exhibition, "Alexandru cel Bun" (1994) and "L'Air du Temps" (1996), projects that have become classics, will be joined by projects which were never showen publicly like the documentation of a performance realiyed together with Dan Acostioaei on Repedea Hill in 1993 or a series of photographs that werefocussing on the artist's father back in 1994. Likewise, a series of performative photographs (a TV performance realised at home in 1994) or photo-documentation (performance "The mirrors" all done in Piatra Neamt in 1994) will be complemented with video experiments such as "Duo" (1996 ) and video documentation of performance art "Somebody up there likes me", made in the first edition of the performance festival "Periferic" in 1997.

The retrospective process is missing the period between 2000 and 2007, during which Matei Bejenaru analyzed and interacted with the social reality that accompanied his subjects with whom he identifies with in “Travel Guide” (2005-2007), „Strawberry Fields Forever” (2002 ) and others. It is a period in which artistic activity is doubled by the institutional one, a period where solitude is projected on and represented by the communities, groups or by other social configurations.

If, by the year 2000 , the artist works in an overwhelming proportion with his body, talking constantly about his own artistic and ideological isolation, starting with 2007-2008 (during the Romania integration in the EU and the preparations for the last International Art Biennale Periferic: P8) , Matei Bejenaru falls gradually into the process of returning to the self, reflecting the history that defined his emotional and social maturity. Therefore, the analysis “From Afar” (2009 ) and “Fighting Inertia”(2010) may reflect a certain spirit of the time that the artist is trying to recover with both performative intimate acts or rituals that compleatet its latest projects “From a to B” (March 2013, Iaşi) or “From Fine Arts To Visual Arts” (October 2013, Bucharest) and the public performances “Stories 2”(October 2013, Iaşi) or “My Head, My Street” (October 2013, Athens).

Matei Bejenaru's practice, alongside with those of Cezar Lăzărescu, Dan Acostioaei, Dragoş Alexandrescu, just to name a few of the artists from Iaşi that are representative for the late 90 - early 2000s, constitutes itself as a relevant absolutely necessary field of study for researching the beginnings of contemporary art in Iaşi that culminated with the natural occurrence of Periferic Performance Festival in 1997 and Vector Association in 2001. Both Periferic, as well as Vector were initiated and runned over ten years by the artist Matei Bejenaru.

The project is part of a series of retrospective exhibitions organized by Iaşi with the aim of presenting the work of major contemporary artists from Iaşi. The series has started last fall with Cezar Lăzărescu’s “I love Periferic 3” and continued this time by concentrating on the artistic work of Matei Bejenaru. If the retrospective exhibition of Lăzărescu’s work has taken place in one venue and between certain dates, the latest has stretched over an entire year during which Iaşi organized two exhibitions and suported a third one at “Alfa”Gallery in Bacău as a response to a growing regional and international interest in Matei Bejenaru’s work.

Curator: Livia Pancu

Matei Bejenaru, a visual artist who lives and works in Iasi, is teaching photography and video-art at “George Enescu” University of Art. He is founding member of Vector Association in Iasi and director of the Periferic Contemporary Art Biennial (1997-2008). He participated, among others, to group exhibitions at Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern, London (2007), Taipei Biennial (2008), Kettle’s Yard Art center, Cambridge, Great Britain (2012-2013), Salonul de Proiecte (oct.-nov. 2013), International Festival for Translation and Literature FILIT, Iaşi (Oct. 2013) and 4th Athens Biennial: Agora. Between November 2010 and July 2011, his experimental project for choral music Songs for a better future was shown in London at The Drawing Room and Tate Modern (Turbine Hall), Vancouver at Western Front, Kunstlerhaus Buchsenhausen, Innsbruck. Between 2011 and 2012, Matei Bejenaru was guest teacher at Université du Québec à Montréal.

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