Ion Grigorescu

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Our “Cold Front from the Balkans” exhibition focuses on different generations of artists and art groups from the Balkan region. Throughout the exhibition, we keep sharing detailed information about the artworks. Take a look at Ion Grigorescu’s words on his artworks “Dialogue with President Ceausescu” and “Post-Mortem Dialogue with Ceausescu”.

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“The courage to carry Ceausescu’s face, even when people demonstrate with his enlarged portrait, is almost an obligatory courage. One may say it is not the people who are carrying Ceausescu, but Ceausescu is carrying them. Is Ceausescu “in the people” as they declare at the Communist Party Congress? Do they really believe what they say? The Romans, the senators, used to wear small effigies of the emperor—who was honouring whom? How about taking him in the real dimension, the way I want to and not the way they want, with all due respect? Respect drives me away from him, turns him into a nobody; they will notice it, this is lack of respect, mockery, in their opinion. I take the risk, I feel it is forbidden: I take his name and face straightaway. Thus I make sure I’m not him; to me it’s a drama, to them a comedy. This makes me unsure about the genre.”

“What comes over me, what makes me take off my mask and give myself away? The gestures were too alike already. Without the mask, it looks like I’m not me, but his son, Nicu. I comfort myself thinking that’s like how peasants from the same village resemble one another. In fact, I’m not worried because I’m not in the habit of looking into the mirror, that is at myself, and I never size myself up—I don’t have the image others have of me. I don’t look, I hide—only from myself, though. My image is always conveyed in an encoded form and not in its entirety. But what if somebody wore my face, let’s say, Ceausescu? What if he appeared on TV with my face?”

Cold Front From the Balkans” exhibition can be visited until 7 May at Pera Museum!

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