Monday, May 28, 2012

One too many statues

This is my third post about an unwanted statue. This time things are even more problematic then  before. The latest controversial statue is that of the poet/politician Adrian Paunescu known especially for his praising of Nicolae Ceausescu and the socialist republic; also leader of the Cenaclul Flacara, he was a politician after 1990 as a representative of the socialist party (PSM) and then of the social-democrat party (PDSR/PSD). His most important role after 1990 was as head of the Commission for Culture of the Senate. Thus, his influence in both communist and post-communist culture was quite important.

As his legacy is quite divisive in post-communist Romania why did one of the mayors of Bucharest decide to inaugurate just before local elections his bust? My question being rhetorical I think Paunescu represents for some nostalgic Romanians one of the greatest poets of the XXc, his verses are known by heart and can be heard in very diverse TV shows when the topic discussed concerns "our nation's great destiny" (this is one of the typical communist phrases of the protochronist period). For others, he represents all the evil the Ceausescu regime created: false values and false idols, accentuated nationalism and arrivisme. Yet, in our city, the first win; every time. Their perspective is officialized by local authorities such as the current mayor Necolai Ontanu. And this is what counts and should concern us all.
The photo belongs to Vlad Petri.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Naked Traian or yet another failed monument in Bucharest

The most recent monument inaugurated in Bucharest belongs to the sculptor Vasile Gorduz and shows the Roman emperor Traian naked and holding the symbol of the Roman and Dacian fusion (the wolf/snake). This depiction, placed on the steps of the Museum of National History has been greeted by all sorts of jokes and derision as authorities themselves fight each other (the current mayor Oprescu and the director of the museum Oberlander Tarnoveanu). I raised this issue before: why not a more interactive form of decision concerning public monuments? This time the cost of the project is not so enormous as for previous recent monuments but still the issue remains. Why inaugurate (as the mayor Oprescu announced) an entire series of monuments dedicated to the fusion of Romans and Dacians (oh so dear to the protochronism of the 1970s-1980s)? Why "tradition" and our "glorious" history are the only things politicians have in mind when public art is concerned? Contemporary art still seems rather an extraterrestrial form of art for Romanian public authorities.
 The statue has already been ridiculed in social media as the picture shown below testifies
by Julien Britnic (Facebook)