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PAST PRESENT Fragments of memory: Bucharest-Pompeii-London




Exhibition Type:

Saturday, 22 July 2023 to Saturday, 12 August 2023
Friday, 21 July 2023 - 6:00pm

Past Present, a new exhibition from London-based Romanian artist Ioana Marinescu (b. Bucharest, 1973). Exploring the recuperation of cultural memory, the project works with the destruction of ancient Pompeii caused by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, alongside events in 1980s Bucharest, when a historic residential quarter of the city was razed to make way for Ceaușescu's Palace of the Parliament or ‘People’s Palace’.

Working with Bucharest-based choreographers Smaranda Găbudeanu and Iulia Mărăcine and using archival image, video, soundscape, testimony and live performance, Marinescu traces both events and finds parallels in the violent displacement of both populations. Whilst the spaces left by the bodies in Pompeii were cast in plaster by archaeologists, the erasure of Uranus Hill in 1980s Bucharest leaves only witness statements.

The artists say “Past Present proposes a back and forth movement between forgetting and remembering, erasing and restoring. Past spaces, objects and stories are brought into the present. Their reconfiguration produces new experiences, which in turn become new archival sources. What remains when seemingly there is nothing left? What is the potential for generating new perspectives on a traumatic historical past?”

Photographic traces of traumatic events separated in time and place, are architectonically exhibited in the galleries of Beaconsfield (also the historic site of a radical destruction when the former Ragged School was largely demolished in the early 20th century due to the extension of the railway) to be animated by the choreographic, live research of Smaranda Găbudeanu and Iulia Mărăcine.

Marinescu, Găbudeanu and Mărăcine are joined by other collaborators – film maker Laurențiu Calciu, dancers Andreea David and Eliza Trefas, actress Katia Pascariu, architect Thomas Goodey and sound artists Doru Apreotesei and David Crawforth – to collectively sculpt images that allow the audience, and participants to inhabit an imaginary space, connecting past with present, remembering with forgetting.

Artist ( Description ): 

Ioana Marinescu is an architect and visual artist who works with large photographs in public spaces, with projections and live actions. Her PhD by practice from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, focussed on the activation of archival imagery in urban contexts and through the body. Marinescu has delivered numerous lectures and workshops on her doctoral research as well as lecturing at Greenwich and Kingston Universities; with recent exhibitions at Space for Contemporary Art Bucharest, Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, Helsinki Contemporary, Architectural Association London and Swiss Architecture Museum Basel.

+44 (0)20 7582 6465
Venue ( Address ): 

22 Newport Street | Vauxhall | London | SE11 6AY

Other events from Alison Wright

Elizabeth Magill: By This River
09/29/2023 to 11/04/2023
PAST PRESENT Fragments of memory: Bucharest-Pompeii-London
07/22/2023 to 08/12/2023

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