Manufacturing Nature / Naturalizing The Synthetic
Artists: Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Nona Inescu, Olivia Mihălțianu, Alex Mirutziu, Vlad Nancă
Curator: Diana Marincu
Residence: September - November 2018
Exhibition: 17 November, 2018 - 27 January, 2019
The XXXIInd International Workshops of the Frac of the Pays de la Loire are taking place this year as part of the France-Romania 2019 year. Frac invited Diana Marincu to design this new two-month residence with six Romanian artists.
”Manufacturing nature / Naturalizing the synthetic” discusses new paradigms in understanding nature and culture, body and technology, politics and landscape. The exhibition and research residency tackles these issues through the works of the invited artists Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Nona Inescu, Olivia Mihălțianu, Alex Mirutziu, and Vlad Nancă.
“You walk for days among trees and among stones. Rarely does the eye light on a thing, and then only when it has recognized that thing as the sign of another thing: a print· in the sand indicates the tiger’s passage; a marsh announces a vein of water; the hibiscus flower, the end of winter. All the rest is silent and interchangeable; trees and stones are only what they are.” (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities)
Italo Calvino’s “poetic of erasure”, as his understanding of Utopia has been called, functions as a perceptive mechanism – a construction of non-realities that can become accessible for the visitor only through projection, representation and erasure. This experience solidifies one’s mental representation of the city – the invisible one – instead of the existing visible context – the real one. The interplay between a need for understanding and, at the same time, a tendency of refusing reality creates a greater absence of the actual reference, escaping more and more. “The eye does not see things but images of things that mean other things”, so that in the end the signs of reality become part of an active agency – the city itself – while its own discourse seems stronger than any “truth”: “the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse”.
This excursion in the narrative strategies and method of representation employed by Italo Calvino opens up a larger territory, which reflects an ethical shift on how we perceive the strata of reality surrounding us – objects, beings, landscapes, etc. Do we listen to their voice? Are we ready to follow their codes and immerse into their stories? How do they perceive us? How do we affect them?
The Frac des Pays de la Loire is in several respects a pioneering organization : since 1984 it has been offering periods of residence to artists as part of the Ateliers Internationaux ; International Workshops programme. The works produced during these residencies have helped to enrich the collection in original ways. This is also the first Frac in France to have been endowed with a building specifically designed for its various functions and tasks, i.e. producing artworks and exhibitions, creating and curating a collection, and getting this collection to circulate within the region, so as to familiarize the public with today’s art. It’s brief was—and is—to put together an international collection, organize exhibitions and shows in the region, and raise public awareness about today’s art, thus getting people to take part in the development, circulation, distribution, and knowledge of contemporary art.
With more than 1,600 works, plus the important gina pane collection, the collection of the Frac des Pays de la Loire has been put together since 1982, in compliance with an acquisitions policy encouraging the purchase of works by young artists. The Frac has thus done its utmost to focus on the most innovative aspects of presentday art. In tandem with the follow-up given to the emerging generation of artists, the Frac also purchases historical works.