Critics’ Picks

Ioana Nemes, Untitled (Friday 9.09.2005), 2005, epoxide, paint, lacquer, 39 x 27 1/2 x 4”. From the series “Time Exposure,” 2005–2008.

Bucharest

Ioana Nemes

Salonul de proiecte
23-25 Ion Brezoianu St. Universul Printing House, Building B, 1st floor
June 21 - August 4

Appearing just two years after Ioana Nemes’s sudden death in New York at age thirty-two, this exhibition focuses on the Romanian artist’s longest and most personal project, the series “The Monthly Evaluations,” 2003–11. This trenchant work offers an extensive archive that departs from Nemes’s quotidian life, which she refracted through her own system of rules and parameters. On view are wall paintings, framed digital prints, collages, a diorama, and, most notably, sculptures—including several rectangular epoxied pieces. WE CHOSE TO JUMP INTO THE CHASM is printed on the blue monument dedicated to FRIDAY 9.09.2005, from Nemes’s “Time Exposure” series of 2005–2008—hermetic and geometric monuments dedicated to personal time. Formally, these works all employ the same emotionless approach; semantically, the sentence rendered on each work is a poetic reflection upon reality as such.

One of the works aims to break through space with its Futurist dynamism: Times Colliding (Monthly Evaluations: 6.09.2006, 22.09.2007, 12.04.2011), 2011. In this abstract sculpture, three “days” and their (again poetic) messages physically interfere with each other. One could consider the work a textual performance as well as a key to Nemes’s art as a whole—a liberated run through modernism and postmodernism, order and discontinuity.

Walking through Nemes’s different ways of conceptualizing time here, one is confronted with a playful and restless negotiation between positions. In “The Wall Project,” an audio interview from 2004, Nemes plays both the role of a journalist interviewing her and herself, rendering statements and confessions. Yet there is no personal drama reconstructed in this exhibition, but an almost ironic exposure of our daily dramas. “To defend myself from manipulation, I manipulate,” Nemes declared. One could consider her practice allied with that of a venerable Romanian Conceptual artist, Geta Brătescu. Describing a vision she had with mud, Brătescu once wrote: “to cast yourself, to solidify, to throw yourself and then look at yourself from a distance.” This is what Ioana Nemes did, and she moreover crystallized our time(s) by examining her own subjectivity.