Revolutionary Gear, the History of Art Retold Through the Black Square

Running Time: September 17th – October 6th, 2015
Opening: September 17, 7 p.m.
Curated by Xandra Popescu and Larisa Crunțeanu
Artistst: Veda Popovici

One hundred years ago Kazimir Malevich painted the Black Square, one of the most iconic works in art history, and through it, denounced centuries of aesthetic formalism, art for art’s sake, and the subordination of art to the taste of the ruling classes. Since then, the black square has become a sign of erudition and class distinction, at odds with the revolutionary vision of its author. If we would be to retrace an art history loyal to the original idea of the black square, who could tell such a story and how would it look?

The History of Art Retraced Through the Black Square instructs its viewers to reconsider moments in art history as contexts of political antagonisms.

The artist’s body of theoretical work is massive, supporting the claims made in the work itself. It is certainly no accident that over the course of the instructional video, Popovici at various times looks like contemporary depictions (and misguided conflations) of terrorism – and indeed, she suggests that the ‘threat’ of the work is its most potent component. The attachment of new meaning to Black Square is itself, perhaps, a kind of revolution. The re-historicisation is repeated in the artist’s borrowing from her own oeuvre – the triangles from last year’s LGBT workshop, the monumental nature of their presentation from Migrant’s Monument (2014), the attack on the supposed neutrality of law and the figure concealed in black derives from Story of the Fall #3 (2014). More than previously in Popovici’s works, perhaps, Revolutionary Gear has a reflexive quality, flirting with introversion, recycling concerns as if re-examining past decisions. (Richard Pettifer in ARTA Magazine, 2015)

This project is part of the Public Speaking programme initiated by Xandra Popescu and Larisa Crunțeanu and co-curated by Dana Andrei. The programme is made possible with the support of ARCUB, through the financing programme “You Are Bucharest” and the following partners: Alexandru Dan Photography, Andreea Goia Photography, Asociația pentru Promovarea Artelor Contemporane, Bucharest Czech Center, DAAD Promos, Ivan Gallery, ODD, UAP, Wasteland Twinning.

Concept and performance: Veda Popovici
On site production: Larisa Crunțeanu and Dana Andrei
Image: Alexandru Dan
Sound: Witch Microphone
Voice: Mihaela Drăgan