Geta Brătescu

4 – 6 Oct 2019


„Aesop does not leave me, but, in surprising leaps, stirs my mind. I have great difficulty in dealing with myself. I cannot prevent myself from translating Aesop’s world into images, but also into words, into music, and especially into dance. This desperation – profitable, up to a point – endangers my work in the matter which is mine. Aesop’s world refuses the limits, the barriers between genres; it is a complete world, totally free, confused with nature, nature itself.”

“Aesop slipped inside the studio; a leap, then another. He tumbles, advances, stumbles, straightens up, runs, stops, sprawls, crawls, gets up, stretches, stomps, rises, quivers, vanishes — (drawing, corporeal progress through space).

“Objects distant in time, including events, on which distance confers a scenic space, return firstly along the wavelength of the visual. I don’t remember a person’s words without hearing her voice, and I don’t hear it until I see her face and then her entire stature. Memory is apparition; an epiphany, like art. Memory and imagination work together in such great intimacy that they some- times merge. Sometimes it marks its points of intense connection with a sign. Aesop is such a marker. Ultimately I don’t even know how much of what I see through Aesop is literary (image), memory, memory or pure invention.

“I think that Aesop is around even before he is named; I divine him in the empty Sundays of childhood. I would look out of the window; the street would widen. The courthouse on the other side would be pushed farther and farther away. During the week the courthouse would be in its proper place; the judges judged there, and to me they were not judges, but friends of my father’s; one was tall with a big wooden nose, another had a blister. Then the Sundays started to grow. Or perhaps Aesop was inside the boy who knew how to extract spiders from their clay nests. He pulled them out with a pellet of bread and spittle at the end of a piece of string and then swung them through the air, singing to them.”

Esop unfolds, animates and at the same time destabilizes Geta Brătescu’s studio, a physical as well as a mental space, which the artist explores in different mediums, in drawing, tapestry, film, photography, installation, action, collage. Her first movies „Les Mains. Pentru ochi, mâna trupului meu îmi reconstituie portretul”, 1977, and „The Studio (L’Atelier)”, 1978, are produced in collaboration with Ion Grigorescu, after a predetermined scenario conceived by Geta Brătescu:

“In 1978 I have done together with Ion Grigorescu (camera) a second film (b/w, 8 mm), The Studio. This time I reduced the script to very few indications (directions) on a large piece of paper. The Studio has three parts: The Sleep, when the sleeping artist is filmed as an object through the studio’s objects. The Awake, when the artist draws on two vertical plans at 45 degrees a vertical square and a horizontal square on the size of the artist’s body. in this marked space, tries, in vain, to follow the diagonal, plays few simple moves with wooden plates and a felt spiral. The Game, when the artist is in the middle of the objects of the studio and composes with them a little game. Pulls the sliver of the shirt above the head becoming a puppet himself.”

Geta Brătescu (b. 1926, Ploiești – d. 2018, Bucharest) has been a central figure of the Romanian contemporary art since the 60’s. An artist with a long and prolific career, Geta Brătescu has developed a complex work that includes drawing, collage, engraving, tapestry, object, photography, experimental film, video and performance. She studied simultaneously at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy and at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest and worked as artistic director for the magazine “20th Century”, now called “21st Century”.

Geta Brătescu participated in the most important international exhibitions of contemporary art, like Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017), La Biennale di Venezia (2013); La Triennale, Paris, Palais de Tokyo (2012); the 12 edition of the Istanbul Biennial (2011), etc. Her recent personal exhibitions include Hauser & Wirth London (2019), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2018), Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles (2018) and New York (2017), Camden Arts Center, London and MSK Ghent (2018), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2016), Tate Liverpool (2015), Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2014). In 2017 Geta Brătescu represented Romania at the Venice Biennale with the project “Apparitions” – the first personal exhibition of a female artist in the Romanian Pavilion.


A cultural project co-financed by The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The project does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The Administration of the National Cultural Fund is not responsible for the content of the project or the manner in which the results of the project may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the funding recipient.

Project supported by Cluj-Napoca City Hall and Local Council.

An exhibition made possible with the help of Ivan Gallery