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)


Dragos said...

From a political point of view the matter, I think, is simple. All the artistic views of Romanian politicians covey towards 'traditionalism' because:
a. they were educated during the times when national history was thought in this way - so narrow mindedness
b. traditionalism delivers a message so dear to the Romanian people: 'the good us' versus 'the bad them' - whoever they might be (but this is marginal)
c. this for of art appeals to the median voter because it relies on a set of symbols that are easily recognized by the majority of voters, with an average or even under average education. (This latter point can actually be tested as a thesis hypothesis :D)

But there's another surprising thing that deserves attention: despite the fact that no-one seems to like this type of art - no one protests against it seriously. It seems that the only form of protest that is appealing to our fellow citizens these days is mockery.

Bikram Singh Majithia said...

very informative article.