Ciprian Muresan at CONVENT

Artist: Ciprian Muresan

Exhibition title: #1.3 Ways to Tie Your Shoes

Venue: CONVENT, Ghent, Belgium

Date: January 21 – April 9, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and CONVENT, Ghent

Ways to Tie Your Shoes is the last part of the three-part exhibition, where several works are confronted with the installation Bucharest City Model (fragment) by the Romanian artist Ciprian Mureşan (°1977, Dej). In the two previous group shows several aspects of the installation were exposed via works of national and international artists. In the first part, Palimpsest (23.9 – 23.10.2016), the participating artists were Joachim Bandau, Pavel Büchler & Oscar Hugal and in the second exhibition, Remains or Reproductions (10.11 – 18.12.2016), the model was combined with works by Kader Attia, Mekhitar Garabedian and a film by Jon Rafman. Ways to Tie Your Shoes elaborates on the varied artistic practice of Ciprian Mureşan.

Bucharest City Model is an architectural cardboard model of a part of the Romanian capital, on a scale of 1:330. By placing the installation at the entrance of the exhibition space, the visitor is forced to walk on the scale model – and to destroy it – in order to see the other works in the exhibition. The choice for Bucharest does not only relate to the demolishing of numerous buildings in the city during the communist regime, but also refers to current issues regarding random urban development and the destruction of historic, architectural and cultural heritage. The critique Ciprian Mureşan expresses through this work is universal and moreover puts forward a burning issue, which could set eyes upon current events like the recent demolition of historical sites in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Palmyra.

Untitled (2013-2014) is an impressive sculpture made of 32.000 identical posters, stacked upon each other. Because of the height of this monolith, one cannot see the image on the upper poster. According to the artist a possible solution would be to place the sculpture in the open air so that the wind can scatter the posters one by one to reveal the image. By taking the poster from its original context (historically the poster was hanged in the street to notify the people about legislative changes or measures) and by placing it as an anonymous monument in the exhibition space, the image loses its communicative power.

The videos, which are successively shown at the end of the corridor, are part of a series of older works made by the artist in collaboration with children. The protagonist in these three films is Vlad Mureşan, the son of the artist. In Choose (2005) the boy mixes Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the same glass to drink it afterwards. Like the child, the viewer doesn’t notice a difference between both drinks; the distinction only appears in the way the product is profiled. With this simple gesture, the artist refers to the period shortly after the Romanian Revolution when many state industries in the Eastern bloc countries have been denationalized and the promise of prosperity culminates in the current consumer society.

The title of the exhibition Ways to Tie Your Shoes is based on the film Untitled (Laces) (2006), where Vlad laborious ties his shoes by himself for the first time. On the basis of the naïve childish innocence, Ciprian Mureşan here also refers to the difficulties that one may encounter while adjusting to a new environment after a change of regime. In the last movie, Untitled (Vlad) (2006), the artist asks his son which sins he had confessed that morning, as it’s mandatory for school children in Romania to confess regularly. The answer of Vlad is not a list of his sins, but a summary of the story of creation as he was taught during his religion classes in school.

Especially for this exhibition, Mureşan created the work Untitled (2016), consisting of a wooden school desk of which the tabletop was replaced by a sheet of brass. The plate is engraved with various scenes from the early 15th Century masterpiece The Worship of the Lamb by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck. The engraving is part of Mureşan’s Palimpsestdrawing series, for which he copied all pictures from an artist monography. By applying multiple layers on top of each other, the drawings become indistinguishable and only fragments and details remain clearly visible. For this approach, Mureşan was inspired by the Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader (°1942, Winschoten – †1975, Atlantic Ocean), who drew on the same piece of paper for four years by constantly erasing the previous image.

During his artistic education in Romania before and after the Revolution in 1989, Muresan developed a fascination for copying art-historical scenes, which becomes visible in the work Untitled (2016). Along the years of his study, the young artist was bound to obsessively copy a restricted set of images from Western culture. As such, the principle of reproduction became more important for Mureşan than the original artwork.

Ways to Tie Your Shoes is the first solo exhibition of Ciprian Mureşan in Belgium. The artist lives and works in Cluj. His work was included in group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou (Paris), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Royal Academy of Arts (London), The Renaissance Society (Chicago) and New Museum (New York). He also represented his country on the 53th Venice Biennale in 2009, in the group exhibition Seductiveness of the Interval.

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2013-2014, Print on paper, approx. 32.000 posters, 250 x 90 x 60 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2013-2014, Print on paper, approx. 32.000 posters, 250 x 90 x 60 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled (Vlad), 2006, video, 8’49”

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2016, Wood, brass, messing, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2016, Wood, brass, messing, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2016, Wood, brass, messing, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Untitled, 2016, Wood, brass, messing, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

Ciprian Muresan, Bucharest City Model (fragment), 2016-2017, 1:330, cardboard, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Plan B, Cluj/Berlin

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