Ciprian Mureșan: Communism Never Happened

You taught at the Art and Design University Cluj-Napoca and also, in 2014, at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig. Having taught at both universities, could you tell us some major differences in what concerns the curriculum and also the attitude towards contemporary art? 

I was a graduate assistant between the years 2000 – 2003 at UAD, therefore I can’t really compare. I hope things have evolved since then. The problem in Romania is not necessarily the education, in small details, but the way in which society sees contemporary art in general. We don’t have any institutions, scholarships, residences, so on and so forth and we don’t have any modern art museums. Almost everything out there is produced through private efforts. Wherever there are important people in the state institutions, their hands are tied. This is such a big cliché that I feel like not answering this question. Yes, unfortunately Germany is better off ☺ what else could I say?! The students are able to apply to important scholarships; each small town has two small institutions which promote contemporary art. We can’t always rely or save our skin with small successes like “Cluj school” or “Baia-Mare school”. 

You have studied sculpture in Cluj. Now you draw and you do video installations. Clearly, art is interdisciplinary, so what’s the point of studying within a single department (sculpture, graphics, painting) for three years? 

I have studied during the time when school lasted five years. It was indeed, at some point, difficult and even boring. Certainly, this sort of division is stupid. For example, in 

Braunschweig they use professors classes; and there, it is mandatory to study two classes in one year, not just one. But I don’t know for sure how things are in Romania; the situation must have changed a bit since 2003. 

Ciprian, during 2005-2010 the communist theme – from “Communism Never Happened” installation (2006), the video artwork “Untitled (Ceaușescu)”, together with Adrian Ghenie (2008) and going through the video artwork “Untitled (Soldiers)” (2009) to crayon drawings made on Lenin paper, the series of drawings called “Pioneer” (2010) etc. – was one of your recurrent interests; did you soothe this need of reinterpreting the communist past? 

It didn’t soothe, but I did. ☺ I believe this theme permeates all my works either directly or not so directly; even my last works, the drawings and the work with the museums` collections are all touching this theme. It is like an undercurrent.


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