Saturday, January 28, 2012

From Lenin to Deng Xiaoping: statues in Romania

Who decides in Romania where and whom shall be represented in the public space? This is the question. A recent decision taken by the local administration of the city of Bistrita in the northern part of Romania has puzzled me. They decided to build a statue of Deng Xiaoping in the Independence Square motivating that they received an address from the county' prefect...

If we take a look at the case of Bucharest we discover that the Bucharest Mayor has a "Scientific Council of the Administration of Monuments" (?!) that decides what personality should be represented. My puzzlement comes after two controversial decisions to (re)build in Bucharest the statue of King Carol (which cost was of 3 million Euro) on its former pre-communist site (realized by sculptor Florin Codre) and to place in front of the Bucharest National Theater (TNB) a equally costly project (worth 800.000 Euros) called "Caragialiana" by Ioan Bolborea and inspired by Romanian playwright I.L. Caragiale. Both projects were questioned by contemporary artists as part of their public interventions. See more about it on their website.

Let's not forget Bucharest is already scarred by such monuments as the "Memorial of rebirth - Eternal glory to the heroes and to the Romanian revolution of December 1989" (!) by Alexandru Ghildus also known as "the olive" or "the potato" failing to achieve the status of an obelisk the author intended so as to remember the heroes of the Romanian revolution of 1989 in the Revolution Square.

I ask why isn't a form of public consultation imagined before building such unrepresentative monuments and why isn't there more transparency in what concerns the selection of personalities to be remembered as well as in what concerns the authors of these projects.



7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marcela Vera said:
Good to know where all our tax money goes...even if I don´t think (hope not) those stupid monuments are made with UE-money. I agree with you, people should be consultated if they want to have those monuments in their space, build with their money (I supose it was public money, although I don´t know). It reminded me of the monument to Jaime Guzm├ín in Santiago. Even if it was made with private donations and it was build in a wealthy right-winged district, nobody asked the citizenship if they wanted such a thing in the public space. May be that´s how thy put a bomb on it last year...

PS: I hope it´s all right that I give my opinion on Romanian/European issues...Your brother seemed to think that you have to be Romanian to do that (?). Anyway, we live in a globalized world and everything that happens in one place influences other. Also I think that´s what we are FB-friends for, I mean to share things and learn each others opinion, among other things, right? Unfortunatelly I have the bad habit of give my opinion on everything, he he :-) , I was not teached to shut up. Thanks for this article, it was interesting.

Caterina said...

I didn't know about Guzman's statue. I'll check it out

Anonymous said...

Marcela Vera sais:
It´s not a statue, it´s a memorial (in Las Condes)and the bad thing it´s that I like it, haha...(I mean aesthetically, of course)

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Bogdan said...

Heh, art and decisional transparency, reminds me of Rachel Whiteread's Untitled Monument (2001) - or at least what I thought of it (wrote something about it here).

Anyway, we have a new example of the perpetuity of communist mentality (and political discourse) in public art, namely Trajan's statue.

Bikram Singh Majithia said...

I didn't know about this statue.

TameAMorning said...

I just wanted to know if you know anything about these names for Romania historically: Morcala, Ghanala, Mernala, Renela, Laka, Bala, Ghena, Ghenala, Ginser, The Gitsers, Miss Lock, Senser Inter, Ola , Molak, Enela, Onala, Lava, Merlina, Sennela, Inkener, Morkala, Ursala, Sernala, Merka, Versse, Genersen. They're from something called Romania Underground Lockers. I can't find any more information about it. If not thanks anyway.