Understanding “Plague Column” required knowing something about the sculptures stored in the warehouse of the National Museum of Art in Cluj (the Romanian city where Ciprian Mureşan studied and still lives), particularly the ones acquired at the height of socialist realism. There, in a place of both conservation and hiding, one can detect the oscillations of the country’s taste and cultural politics. In 2012, the artist used twenty-five sculptures, each resting on two plywood bases, as weights for drying and flattening his own prints; for later iterations of the project, he substituted plaster casts of the originals, and now, composite sculptures made from fragments of leftover negatives of the casts. Like empty chrysalises, these lay resting in a corner of the artist’s studio until he decided to recycle them to create the resin sculptures Plague Column #1 and #2 (all works 2016).
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