Geta Brătescu Apparitions

Romanian Participation at the 57th
International Art Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia

Talk: Catherine de Zegher – Geta Brătescu: A Studio of One’s Own

Romanian Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale
Sunday, June 18th, 4.00 p.m.

In connection with the exhibition Geta Brătescu – Apparitions, renowned curator and art historian Catherine de Zegher will discuss the practice of Geta Brătescu by connecting it to the work of other women artists. According to Catherine de Zegher, ”Geta Brătescu formulated an independent voice and addressed the in-between space of life and art, the public and private, the feminine and corporeal, the abstract and the real, the subject and the object. Through repoliticising the female body, the ceaseless play of unravelling hidden traps of language, and challenging the triumphant gaze, Brătescu has participated throughout the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century, in the internationally progressive development of art as a reflexive and social practice. Not only is art, in this, a part of social production: it is itself productive or generative. In this view, art is not static and fetishized but above all dynamic: constitutive rather than constituted. If in order to become a fully social being the individual must become a fully competent user of language, and if language constructs both individualities, or subjects, and also the social relation between them, the necessity for symbolizing and naming the feminine becomes clear. Still, and maybe now more than ever, feminine activism and analysis must lead the way and provide empowering visions for the future.”

The talk will be followed by a discussion with the exhibition curator, Magda Radu.

Catherine de Zegher is the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Gent (Belgium) and Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium of Science and the Arts. In 2013, she curated the 5th Moscow Biennale (Russia) and the Australian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. From 2010-2012, she was the Artistic Director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia. She was a Guest Curator at the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona, and in the Department of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she organized the large-scale exhibition On Line. Drawing through the Twentieth Century (2010-2011). From 2007-2009, de Zegher was the Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where she was part of the transformation team overseeing the re-installation of the renovated museum building by Frank Gehry. Previous to this position, she was for many years the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Drawing Center in New York (1999-2006). Before she took up her work in North America, she was the co-founder and Director of the Kanaal Art Foundation in Kortrijk, Belgium (1988-1998).

Catherine de Zegher is the curator of many acclaimed exhibitions, such as America: Bride of the Sun. 500 Years of Latin America and the Low Countries (1992) at the Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, and Inside the Visible. An Elliptical Traverse of Twentieth-Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine (1994-1996) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In the last decades, she has received several Best Show awards from AICA and AAMC. Many of her projects and books promote the feminine principle.

Author and editor of numerous books, de Zegher published the October Book Women Artists at the Millennium with Carol Armstrong (MIT Press). As a resident at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation, and as a recipient of the Arts Writers Grant of Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation in 2007, she wrote On Line. Drawing through the Twentieth Century (1910-2010). In 2012, she edited and wrote all our relations for the 18th Biennale of Sydney, and in 2013, More Light for the 5th Moscow Biennale. Most recently, in 2014, de Zegher published Women’s Work Is Never Done, an anthology of her collected essays on the work of contemporary women artists. This fall de Zegher will present Geta Brătescu: A Room of One’s Own at the Museum of Fine Arts in Gent, an exhibition dedicated to her work in collaboration with the Camden Arts Centre in London.