Venice Biennale 2019

Veteran Romanian artists to represent their country at Venice Biennale

Three artists who endured communist era will show new versions of installations

Belu-Simion Fainaru’s You Have Always to Start Anew, 2012, Dan Mihaltianu’s Canal Grande (Corridor), Bucharest, 1984, and Miklos Onucsan's The White Camouflage (detail), 1998-2009 Courtesy of the artists

Three artists whose careers first took shape in the 1980s have been chosen to represent Romania at this year’s Venice Biennale. Curated by the art historian and theorist Cristian Nae, the group's exhibition—Unfinished Conversations on the Weight of Absence—will present new versions of individual installations by Belu Simion Fainaru, Dan Mihaltianu and Miklos Onucsan.

Selected in January by a mixed panel of Romanian and international judges that was convened by the country’s Ministry of Culture, the exhibition will be produced by the Cluj- and Berlin-based Galeria Plan B, which represents Fainaru and Onucsan. It will be the third time that Plan B’s founder, Mihai Pop, has been involved in his country’s official Biennale presentation, with the influential gallerist acting as curator in 2015 and commissioner in 2007.

Nae tells The Art Newspaper: “One of the main reasons for presenting the work of these three artists relates to their multinational trajectories: Onucsan lived and worked in Romania, but he is of Hungarian origin; Fainaru emigrated during communism and established himself in Belgium and Israel; and Mihaltianu still lives between Bergen, Bucharest and Berlin. I think that this cultural dynamic is both telling for understanding the limitations these artists endured during the 80s, as well as the way that the international careers they managed to construct later shaped their thinking.”

Nae added that Plan B’s experience would be essential in successfully producing the show and that, while costs would be partly covered by the Ministry of Culture, the exhibition will be co-financed by additional partners who will be announced in due course.

The presentation of the installations in the Romanian pavilion, located in the Giardini, will be complimented by further work shown at the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research, in Venice’s Cannaregio district.