Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artist Spotlight : Ioana Nemes

While I am preparing my longer posts on the socio-political-cultural developments in Romania after WW2, I thought I would present a most exciting young artist working in Bucharest, Ioana Nemes. I met Ioana for the first time in February 2010 when I was working on the exhibition Comrades of Time at Pavilion Unicredit in the capital. I was intrigued by her Monthly Evaluations project, which she presented as part of the exhibit, a seemingly autobiographical work in which the artist analyzed and monitored herself, trying to objectively examine how she handled daily problems. The image I've chosen for this entry illustrates such a piece realized for the U-TURN Quadriennal for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, 2008.

Born in 1979 in Bucharest, Nemes was a professional handball player for nine years until a knee injury cut her athlete career short. She decided to apply to art school and graduated in 2002 from the Photo-video department at the Art University of Bucharest. Her work addresses the personal, social, economic and geographical context of art production in Romania, questioning the framework and its principles. In Monthly Evaluations, an ongoing project since 2005, the artist uses color, text as well as a system of five parameters: physical (F), emotional (E), intellectual (I), financial (F) and chance (D). By focusing on how she herself produces art, Nemes has developed a tool through which systems (such as institutions or societies) can be analyzed over time. In the chaotic period of transition between communism and capitalism, modernism and postmodernism, the artist engenders a critical perspective that lays the foundation to a space enabling art production in Romanian society - a country fraught with conservatism when it comes to contemporary art and culture.

My interpretation of her work only scratches the surface of Nemes's range, so I invite you to discover more of her projects here. And if you're passing through Bucharest in September, you can see her exhibit Expensive Fiasco/ Cheap Success at the Center for Visual Introspection.

How would you devise an objective system to analyze yourself through which you could discover larger trends in your own society? Is such a system wholly objective or does it even matter to the outcome?

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