română/ bucurești/ cluj/ iași/ sibiu/ Bucureşti - We Were So Few And So Many Of Us Are Left - Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán

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Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán Bucureşti, Str. Gazelei nr. 44, sector 4
5 April – 5 June 2013
Opening: Friday, 5 April 2013, 7 pm
From 7:30 pm – performance: „Pacta sunt servanda“

In 2013, the price of gold for April delivery has risen at the New York Stock Exchange by 0.9%, after the bailout programme for Cyprus, including a levy on bank deposits has stirred the financial markets. In 1916-1917, 93.4 tons of gold from the Romanian treasury were transferred to Russia for safekeeping, wherefrom they never returned. On the basis of a contract from 1935, Romania is owed a few billions of EUR by Germany. Cuba also has a debt to Romania of 1.2 billion American dollars (according to the exchange from transferable roubles). Viktor Orban sends personalized letters to Romanian citizens who are Hungarian ethnics in order to gain more votes. On 19-20 March 1990, in Târgu-Mureş there took place street clashes between Romanian and Hungarian ethnics, that ended with several hundred victims. At present Russia avoids the subject of the Romanian treasury, Cuba invokes the mutual aid between (former) socialist countries and Germany is busy increasing Cyprus' debt.
Some of the fundamentals of the nation-state, such as economic policy and foreign affairs are today question-marked by accelerated globalisation, supra-national deciding forums or immigration. At the same time we are witnessing a coming back of the nation, emphasized in its – often pre-modern – traits, such as ethnicity, religion or language.

Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán analyse the nation-state where this touches the verge of the fictional; they use the rigid and apparently immutable frames which the nation-state created in order to legitimize itself (laws, language, history) and take them literally, thus underlining their limits, given by their formal and contextual character. The two artists research documents, treaties, official statements, media reflections, years and facts, statistics, agreements, renegotiations, deciphering within the propaganda, reminding of forgotten promises, bringing face to face, to mirror each other, the contradicting versions, pushing to the extreme their logical consequences.

The exhibition “We were so few and so many of us are left” presents seven projects, of which three existing ones were extended or adapted and four new ones were produced on the occasion of the exhibition. The work which gives the title of the exhibition is realised as a monumental and at the same time ephemeral installation, forming a frame for all the other works. “We were so few and so many of us are left”, together with another work, also presented as an installation, “Isa, por ës homou vogymuk / Indeed, we are dust and ashes”, a subtle and playful memento mori, create a strong material balance to the conceptual works, such as „Due diligence report” or „Bilateral agreement”, which test the possibilities of law and its apparent democratic character.

With a combination of almost scientific detachment, aesthetic precision and irony, Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán bring to the spotlight the never exhausted subjects of the day, offering them as departure points for broader debates, to which every one of us can take part.
At the opening the two artists will perform „Pacta sunt servanda”, the chapter „Fekete március 1990/ Black March 1990” and as a premiere the performance will include a new chapter, dedicated to the Republic of Moldova, performed by Serghei Chiviriga and Diana Gheorghiță.

Having been present individually on the art scene in Romania and abroad for at least a decade, Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán have started to work together since 2010. “We were so few and so many of us are left” is their first personal exhibition in Bucharest.

Exhibition assistance: Julia Schulze
Graphic design: Palier Design, Arnold Estefán
Curator: Raluca Voinea
Special thanks to: Ekaterina Degot, Viktor Bondarenko, Vlad Morariu, Igor Mocanu, Marius Rădoi, Vlad Basalici, Anna Florea, Simion Constantin, Vasile Ernu.

The exhibition is part of the programme „Fiction, rhetoric and facts”, developed by in 2012-2013.

Opening hours: from Wednesday to Friday, from 3 to 7 pm.
Press information:
ERSTE Foundation is main partner of

Exhibition leaflet (pdf, 2.8 mb)